Celtman 2022 – Run Kit (Iain)

The celtman has a mandatory kit list for the run. These are the items I used. The item I would definitly recommend is poles. They made a big difference when I was tired.

Shoes

I’ve worn Hoka’s for years. I find them very comfy and great for trail and long distance events. The down side is that they are expensive and they are not the most long lasting of shoe.

I try to by mine from sportshoe.com as I can usually get a good price for last years version of the shoes rather than the lastest version. Hence for this race instead of the £135 Speadgoat 5, i was able to get a pair of Speadgoat 4 for £80.

Hoka Speadgoat 4 – https://www.sportsshoes.com/

Walking Poles

I never use walking poles for hills but I thought in this case I’d make an exception. If it even helped a tiny bit then it would be worth having.

These carbon poles are super light and fitted in my backpack. The only negative is they are tricky to put together if you don’t read the instructions first. They were fine once I went read the instructions.

Backpack

I normally use a salomon vest but in this case I decided I needed a bit more space so I could carry more stuff. This is super lightweight and very adjustable. That meant I could easily set it up so that I could run with it on.

Jacket

My only goretext jacket was big, heavy and 10 years old. It’s great for walking but not great for running. I decided to treat myself to a new jacket. One that was designed for running. This is super light, easily pack-able and water proof.

Trousers

I’ve had these trousers for 10 years. They are lightweight and keep the rain off my legs. I didn;t bother getting new ones as my old pair are still working well.

Whistle/Compass

I bought some cheap ones on Amazon.

Head Torch

I have the older version of the Petzl 900. Its comfy and the light it produces is very bright. Battery life is excellent.

Pants

When running a long distance I like to be comfortable. These are great for wearing underneath shorts.

Hat

I normally wear a cap if the weather is bad. I like to keep the rain off my face. I thought this would meet the requirement of the race. It didn’t.. They wanted a woolen or cloth type hat instead. Luckily my brother had a spare so I showed them that instead. Although on the day I wore this. But I kept the other one in my bad so I could pass the kit check.

The Sound of Football: Burnley (Andrew)

Every fortnight we cover the best and worst football songs from every club in the UK from our book ‘The Sound Of Football: Every Club, Every Song’. You can buy it here

Burnley

Nickname: The Clarets

Ground: Turf Moor

Stadium Capacity: 21,940

Song: Tom Hark

Being a Burnley fan is special because the best-supported side in England isn’t Manchester United, Liverpool or Chelsea; it’s Burnley. Burnley holds the record for the highest attendance ratio of people attending a match mapped against the town population. This is either a remarkable show of dedication or a clear lack of adequate public transport at the weekend.

Burnley was one of the 12 founder members of the Football League and is one of only three English league clubs to have been champions of all four professional league divisions, along with Wolves and Preston. More infamously, Burnley’s the reason why clubs who finish bottom of the league are relegated automatically.

In 1897 clubs took part in playoff games to decide who was promoted from the second to the first division. By the time it got to the last match of the series, both Burnley and Stoke City needed a draw to ensure they would both be promoted.

Perhaps not surprisingly, both clubs were due to play each other in the last game of the season. You will also not be surprised to hear that the match ended 0 – 0 and became known as ‘The Match Without A Shot At Goal’. Both teams were promoted, and the Football League immediately withdrew the Test Match series in favour of automatic promotion and relegation.

While the Royal Family usually keeps their sporting affiliations to themselves (however, see Arsenal and Aston Villa for the Royals suspected affiliations); one family member has admitted publicly that he’s a Burnley fan. Prince Charles declared his love of the town and club at a ceremony for the British Asian Trust:

A consortium of my charities, including the British Asian Trust, has been working in Burnley. Hence, some of you asked this evening whether I support a British football club and I said ‘yes – Burnley’. And people have responded ‘Burnley? Oh yes, because Burnley has been through some very challenging times and I’m trying to find ways of helping to regenerate and raise aspirations and self-esteem in that part of the world.”

It’s only fitting that Prince Charles supports Burnley: every time Burnley scores, you’ll hear ‘Tom Hark’ by Elias and His Zig Zag Jive Flutes. The song was partly based on a 1927 melody which sang about dancing with a girl who had danced with the Prince of Wales. And the current Prince of Wales is… Prince Charles.

Buy the Sound of Football from Amazon.

Wet, Wet, Wet (Andrew)

For someone who loves wearing a wetsuit, I do hate getting wet.

The first time I was properly soaked while running was at the Helensburgh half marathon during a day where it was impossible to tell where the sea ended and Helensburgh began. The puddles were so deep that trident submarines were using them for dive practice. It was a grim, grim day.

Yet, I ran anyway and my only thought the entire way round was to run as fast as I could so that I could get back to the car, back home and to never venture outside again. With such a thought, I ended up running my fastest ever half marathon – and my fastest ever medal collection as I didn’t stop at the finish line, I just kept going straight through, grabbed a medal, and sprinted back to the car.

The second time I was properly soaked was during the Three Peaks Challenge. We started at Ben Nevis and it was so wet that you could practically swim to the summit. It was impossible to stay dry even in thick waterproofs. By the time I got to the summit I pulled off my sodden gloves only to discover flippers instead of fingers. It was a grim, grim day.

The third and last time I was properly soaked was during the Celtman 2022 run route. I was acting as support runner for Iain TwinBikeRun and, thankfully, I had assumed that by the time I joined him, he’d be knackered and would be walking rather than running. As such, I brought my full mountain gear rather than trail running clothes. A thick waterproof jacket instead of a packable one. Gloves so thick you could pick up radioactive blocks at Chernobyl. And a pair of full length trousers rather than waterproof shorts.

This time the rain was on and off but, as we walked, the rain spells would last longer and stronger until, eventually, I was soaked through again. Another, grim, grim day.

So, the lesson I want to pass one is not the one about rain making you run faster (which it does) or always be prepared for the weather for more equipment or clothes than you think you need (and more again, you can never have enough clothes where you’re cold and wet), it’s a simple one: move to somewhere it doesn’t rain!

What’s the connection between my three tales? They all happened in Scotland. Scotland is a grim, grim place! Why not live in Dubai? The Sahara or even the middle of Death Valley? It never rains there!

Celtman 2022 – Swim Kit (Iain)

The average temperature of the water in the swim is 12-13C.

I wanted to ensure that I stayed warm, and if there were Jellyfish present that I would be protected from their sting.

Wet Suit

I’ve been using the same wet suit for about 6 years but a couple of months before the race my zip snapped. I treated myself to new wet suit on the Huub Sale. The website claims this suit is about £500 but I think I only paid around £250.

I bought it because it looks like it could be from the film Tron.

My old suit was quit thick. This feels allot thinner which makes it easier to swing my arms. its allot more comfy than my old suit and I’d recommend, if you have an old suit, that you upgrade. it does make a big difference.

Swim Cap

A full hood rather than a cap is good for keeping my head warm and it protects my neck from jellyfish. The only downside is that it makes me feel a little bit more restricted than a normal cap.

Swim Vest

A vest adds an extra layer of warmth to my core. I went for lomo as its cheap. Its not as if a more expensive version would do anything better. It did an excellent job of keeping me warm but it does add a but of exra buoyancy which can take a little bit of getting used to.

Gloves

I’ve tried lots of gloves and these are miles better than any other I’ve tried. They are warm and feel great. Swimming with gloves does take a bit of getting used to so make sure you practice with them first. They provide great protection from Jellyfish.

Socks

Similar to the gloves. I’ve tried various types of socks but these are the best. Some can feel very draggy in the water but I’ve never had an issue with these.

Swim Googles

I used the tinted version of these. They provide good protection from Jellyfish. The wide field of view means its very easy to sight and see where I’m going.

Drying Robe

Every man and his dog had the proper dry robe but I prefer the towel version. I can dry myself and warm up. The proper dry robe is very difficult to dry with.

Outdoor Swim Review: Loch Maree – June 2022 (Iain)

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Loch Mareee is famous for its islands. It has more than forty and they contain the nearest thing to natural woodland left in Britain – fragments of the original Caledonian Pine Forest.

Because of the islands its a popular spot for kayak-ers and canoeists. I was staying nearby in Kinlochwee and I fancied a swim before my breakfast so I thought I would give the Loch a try.

I found this game in the hotel. think it is true for all wild swimmers.

REVIEW

Ease of Access: I parked at the Bein Eighe car park beside the Loch. There are toilets and you can get down to the shore easily.

Water quality: Cold! Even in June it was only 13.8C. It was a tricky Loch to get into from the shore as its very shallow and rocky. The rocks were very slippy. Its OK if you have swim shoes/socks on or if you just drop to your back and float out to where its deeper.

Swim Quality: Excellent – there’s beautiful mountain views all around.

Other People: The car park can be busy. I went early in the morning but there was a number of camper vans parked there.

Would I go back: Yes. Its such a beautiful spot to swim in.

You can see Loch Maree in this video

Celtman Support (Andrew)

Conditions for Iain TwinBikeRun at Celtman were brutal. 3K swim, 120 mile bike and a marathon in 40mph headwinds and driving rain. However, I can report, with my duvet and pillow, the support car was roasty toasty.

Swim Start

Competitors need to register in Sheildaig and board the bus to the start line by 4am. There’s no access to the swim start for supporters so, once you’ve helped them set up at transition and register there’s nothing to do but keep warm and wait until they return to shore from 6am onwards. One of the local cafes was open, so there is an opportunity for some food or a hot drink, but I just used the time to try and catch up on sleep. We were up at 2:30am with a target of leaving the AirBnB at 2:45am so I’d only had a few hours sleep.

Sleep wasn’t helped by Iain TwinBikeRun booking another pre-race base with no curtains. And, just like Norseman, it was another night of trying to sleep while it was still as bright as noon outside. One day, maybe, Iain will book a room with blackout blinds..!

The swim exit is easy to find – it’s the one surrounded by supporters, braziers of fire and a drum troupe. You can’t miss it in Sheildaig. And with the drums banding away, you probably couldn’t miss in half the western Highlands.

You need your support t-shirt to access the exit and transition so remember to wear it as, with it, you can get onto the shore and help your competitor over the rocky beach and up to transition.

After you help them change, you pack up everything, pick up your car and you have a couple of hours before you can join them again. You’re not allowed to support competitors during the first 15 miles of the race. I used this time to go back to base, eat some breakfast, pick up Mrs TwinBikeRun and BabyTwinBike and ensure the car had everything for the rest of the day.

Bike Course

We met Iain TwinBikeRun around three hours after he started. We then tried to meet him roughly every 45 – 60 mins. He didn’t always stop but we wanted to give him the chance to pick up food or drink or to change into or out of his waterproof clothes.

The thing to watch out for on the bike course is that many parking spots are slightly off the road requiring you to pull in, rather than parking at the side of the road itself. It’s particularly tricky to find a spot on the road between Ullapool and Garve. So, you may want to agree in advance the spots you’ll meet.

Other than that, the support cars are well spread out and there’s plenty of room for everyone on the road. I had been concerned that the Gairloch coastal road may have seen some bottlenecking but there were no issues at all.

Run Course

Car parking at Kinlochewe is challenging. This year, parking was in a field. A muddy field. A VERY muddy field. A local farmer had to pull some cars out of the field with a tractor as they struggled to get through mud at the entrance.

Luckily, we were directed to park just outside the field so had no problems but a lot of people were struggling and panicking about how they were going to get to the transition T2A without a car to take them there.

At T2A there’s no shelter, just a portaloo. This year, that meant I had to change into all my warm clothes and waterproofs while waiting for Iain TwinBikeRun to arrive. This was okay as it was largely dry while I waited with only a few brief showers. However, if it’s a decent day then you’ll normally be arriving here around peak midge times. So, if there weather is decent, prepare face the might of a million Scottish midges as you wait.

Overall

The race is well organised and each transition is supported by knowledgeable and friendly marshalls. We always knew where we were going, what we had to do and where we needed to go next.

Celtman 2022 – Run (Iain)

I headed out of T2. I had 17km and 2 hours 45 minutes to reach T2a so that I would be allowed to complete the course using the low route. What I didn’t realize was the run starts with a 5km climb.

The last section of the run has a high and a low route. The abysmal weather meant there was no chance the high route would be open. So all competitors were on the low route.

The low route is easier than the high route but its not easy. It is a very technical path made harder if the weather is bad.

I had assumed the run from T2 to T2a was easy. It wasn’t. It was muddy with a lot of off road sections through heather. I thought I would cruise round but I had to work quite hard to make it to transition in time. A few people behind me were walking as they thought they had time but none of them made it to transition before the cut off.

The weather at T2a was bleak. It was wet and windy. I was supposed to have a medical check here but that seemed to comprise of someone asking if I had my bag with me. I said yes. They said ok, you are free to go then.

I changed into a full rambler outfit of waterproofs and a pole to help me walk.

There was no time pressure to complete the race so we walked all of it until the end. It was a long slog and at times the weather was horrific but I never felt tired.

Towards the end of the walk I opened a can of Pepsi that I’d been carrying for nearly 30km. What a treat!

My aim was to do the run in less than six hours. I wasn’t too far out.

At the finish line, one of the volunteers said “Congratulations. Now hand over your GPS unit or you’ll be fined £25!”

They need to work on their end of race speech. It’s no “Iain, you are an Ironman!”

PS – if you look at the first picture of me on the run you will see I have a blue cap on. I don’t have it on at the end. That’s the third blue cap I’ve lost whilst running! If you find it in Torridon then give it a good home but don’t wear it when its windy or you won’t see it again.

Outdoor Swim Review: Carron Valley Revisted – July 2022 (Iain)

Previous reviews here and here

It doesn’t feel like summer has really got started properly. May and June have been a lot less sunnier than recent years. What happened to Global Warming? The weather has been poor every since the climate convention in Glasgow. I blame Greta Thunberg 🙂

Thankfully the water has been warming up and it is now nice enough to swim without a wetsuit. The water isn’t peaty like last year which meant I didn’t come out looking like the creature from the black lagoon.

Check out the video to see what a swim in Carron Valley Reservoir is like.

Ease of Access: https://goo.gl/maps/vkcjfRm5cx6dYWt7A Park at the gate next to the loch. Its 10m to the waterside. 

Water quality: Warm and shallow at the edge of the loch but it can noticeably drop in temperature the further out you get. 

Swim Quality: Excellent. Lots of things to sight against. Water is choppy but that makes it more fun!

Other People: A couple of folk out walking and the odd car/cyclist going by. 

Would I go back: Yes. It’s my default swim location. 

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