Tag Archives: running

Outdoorista – Inspiring Outdoor Women

In 2016 the Women in Adventure project surveyed hundreds of outdoor women… as a result I recently launched a new website, Outdoorista!

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The Women in Adventure project surveyed hundreds of outdoor women about their sources of inspiration, important issues, and any barriers to participation that they might have experienced during their outdoor adventures. Outdoorista is based on their feedback, it includes the content outdoor women said they would like to see…

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Outdoorista – Inspiring outdoor women Continue reading

Fastpack Tour du Mont Blanc – 180km, 11,000m ascent, 5.5 days

The Ultra Tour du Mont Blanc (UTMB) is one of the world’s best known ultras, and one I dream of entering. For now a 100 mile race is beyond me, but I still wanted a taste of the UTMB…

So instead of racing, with my running buddy Bo, we fastpacked the Tour du Mont Blanc trail, setting off from Chamonix where we watched the start and some of the finishers of this year’s UTMB.
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A promise of the mountains from Chamonix centre at the UTMB start line

Day 1 – Chamonix – Les Houches – Les Contamines (France)
A day of two halves – spectacular views of glaciers from the Brevent (2526m), followed by an exhausting and seemingly never ending descent into Les Houches (1007m). 

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Peak Skyrace ultra, UK Skyrunning – 48km, 2000m ascent, 7 August 2016

The Peak Skyrace is relatively short for the ultra distance, but since it is a Skyrace, don’t expect an easy day out. Over 48km there’s 2000m of ascent, and with most of the route on good runnable trails the time limit of 8hrs keeps you moving.

Starting from the race HQ in Buxton, the excellent route is typical of the Peak District. The first section seemed to go by in a flash, taking in a little bit of everything including woodland, the fell of Axe Edge moor, and some perfect rocky trails.

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Approaching the Roaches

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Adventure in your hands – Discover these independent magazines

Independent magazines can grab you by the imagination and lead you deep into your chosen world. I especially enjoy the authentic voices of contributors, and their photographs and illustrations can’t always be fully appreciated on a small screen.

Comprised of a series of relatively short pieces, these publications fit perfectly into a busy life. Make a coffee, sit down, and read… Continue reading

Anna Paxton Sheffield blog

V3k Ultra, Vegan Welsh 3000s UK Skyrunning race – 58km, 4000m ascent, 18 June 2016

The ‘Welsh 3000s’ is a well known challenge – to visit all 15 summits over 3000 feet in Snowdonia, North Wales, in one day. The Vegan Welsh 3000s takes that challenge and adds extra distance and ascent to create one of the most challenging ultra distance race routes in the UK. Continue reading

Fastpacking trip – running Manchester to Sheffield: 40 miles, 2 days, 1650m ascent

Fastpacking is a combination of backpacking and running. It offers an ideal blend of long distance running, freedom to camp, and the logistical challenge of carrying exactly what you need but no more.

It can open up opportunities for adventurous exploration in remote places, but it’s important to know in advance that all the gear and systems work. With my running buddy Bo, we decided on a test run from Stockport in Greater Manchester back to our homes in Sheffield. Continue reading

Thomas Theyer Fell Race – Thomas Theyer Foundation, Peak District 10.5k April 2016

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The rolling green hills and white limestone outcrops of the White Peak produced an undulating route for the first Thomas Theyer Fell Race. With sustained uphill stretches on tiny country roads, and long descents over pitted green fields and well-worn limestone trails, it made for fast feet. Continue reading

Litton Christmas Cracker Fell Race – December 2015 (12.2k – Category B Medium)

This is only the second year of the Litton Christmas Cracker, but Tideswell Running Club has created a race with all the ingredients of a classic Continue reading

Grindleford fell race, Peak District – 18 June 2015

Grindleford is a small village in the Peak District. It has traditional stone cottages, gardens full of colourful summer flowers, and a cricket club with an immaculate green pitch bordered on one side by the River Derwent. Once a year by special permission, fell runners sprint, splash, or stumble through the river after a 4.5 mile dash up wooded hill and down rocky dale to arrive back where they started, outside the clubhouse. Continue reading

Grindleford Gallop 7 March 2015, 21 mile trail race, Peak District

This is the furthest that I have ever run, but not the furthest I hope to run! If you do want to increase your distance and try a longer race, the Gallop is a perfect choice. It’s a 21 mile trail race that starts and ends at Grindleford, passing through Eyam, Great Longstone, the Monsal Trail, Chatsworth, Baslow, and along Curbar and Froggatt Edges. On the morning of the race I was excited, after a winter of training and dreaming I couldn’t wait to get stuck in and see what the next 21 miles would bring.

Bo, Elise, Anna, relaxing at the end of the Gallop

Bo, Elise, Anna, relaxing at the end of the Gallop

I loved the atmosphere – I am more familiar with 10k races where people are concentrating, there is a sound of pounding feet and hard breathing and it’s over in a flash. This race was much different, although we were working hard everyone seemed more relaxed and I felt that we were in it together rather than competing against each other. You can enter as a runner or a walker and walkers start when they like, meaning that there are other people along the route as you run and there’s no pressure to race as hard as you can – just go at your own pace and enjoy.

As I start to run longer races, I worry that I’ll go the wrong way or get lost. It might not always be possible to recce a route in advance, but in training we covered the Gallop in four sessions. It helped to build my confidence and meant that I could really take the time to look around and enjoy being out in the Peak District. I can’t recommend the race route enough, if you don’t want to run it in one go it’s still worth breaking it up and running the different sections. There is a magic moment when you approach checkpoint three (Longstone Edge) over the crest of a hill, and a whole new side of the valley opens up in your view. My heart always melts when I run through herds of deer past Chatsworth House, and being a climber, Curbar and Froggatt edges feel like coming home. If you don’t recce in advance though, don’t worry, there will be other people around, and there are signs at vital turning points.

Since I had never run so far I didn’t feel any pressure to be fast. I wanted to find out whether I really could do it and enjoy it. I didn’t have any idea how long it would take, although I had a target time of 3 hours 30 mins in mind I just wanted to complete the distance and aim for under 4 hours. I was nervous about running too hard in case I exhausted myself and couldn’t carry on, and because of that I never ran hard enough to be uncomfortable. Time seemed to go so quickly, the six checkpoints almost flashed by, and I finished in 3:37. I’m pleased with the time, but motivated because I know there is room to go faster.

On reflection, I still have a lot to learn. I believe the distance was a little too far for me at this point and I need to keep increasing my distance slowly in training to avoid any long term injuries. I need to practice more uphill (always more uphill!), and I need to work on my confidence, both in navigation and in running a bit harder. I like to eat eat plenty while I’m running and need to find suitable non-solid food. I also need to take the recovery more seriously, respecting the impact of running long distances on my body by eating right and taking the right rest.

Although the race was over in a few hours, the whole experience was the result of months of training. Although each person runs it on their own effort, we all support each other and will each other on. At the end of the race I was so proud of us for making it, and so happy to share it with Bo (uber training partner), Elise, Steve, and Ben. All the effort was worth it, the distance really wasn’t anything to fear. I tried to imagine that I was having a little break, and then would be running another 15 miles… the thought didn’t horrify me, in fact I’m looking forward to being able to increase my distance, run further and see more…

Ben, Elise, Anna, Bo, Steve celebrating at the finish of the Gallop... the start of training for the next race...

Ben, Elise, Anna, Bo, Steve celebrating at the finish of the Gallop… the start of training for the next race…