The maps are out

Hopefully this time next week we shall be stumbling back home, up the stairs and into our beds after running through the night at Dusk ’til Dawn 50m ultramarathon AFTER having run the 50 miles.

This morning I met with two of the three people I plan on running with next weekend to plot out the route on a large map and to go through the course details.  The last person missing from our group was crazily helping pace our three club runners through the last 50m at the Winter 100m.

Winter 10050 miles of pacing, followed by 50 miles in the Peak District at the Dusk ’til Dawn race next weekend…that man is a machine!

This morning we took over the living room floor at Tracey’s house with maps.
Tom had bought some large scale maps of the area we would be running and we played the Dusk ’til Dawn briefing video on the iPad so that we could take notes and talk through each section of the course.  I didn’t think it would take too long but in actual fact we were there for more than 3 hours plotting it all out!

Maps for Dusk 'til Dawn

It has done some good though and all three of us came away feeling much more confident about the navigation aspect of the course.  We have a total time of 14hours and 3minutes to run the race.  This sounds like loads and loads of time (it actually works out at 16m 52s per mile…I can walk at that pace!) but when you see the course elevation you realise just why so much time is required…

Dusk 'til Dawn elevationAdd into that the fact that a lot of it is on technical trail (rocks, uneven ground…) and that it is run through the night, and you’ll discover there isn’t actually a huge amount of leeway when it comes to the time.  Our priority will be to get as far as CP9 (38 miles) before the cut off as this is the last checkpoint where runners will be asked to withdraw if they are moving too slowly.  From this point, we will be able to relax a little and no longer worry about pace.  Realistically I know to expect to be at the back, but at the same time I will probably have more experience than some on the trails.  Last year one guy was wearing road shoes and had never run an offroad race before!  I overtook 17 runners from the 95 that started last year from starting at the back.  It’s much nicer to be able to pick people off on a course than have them come storming past you!

Each of the four of us is bringing different skills to the race so between us, hopefully we should have a very strong team.
* I ran the first 35 or so miles of the course last year so should be able to recognise the majority of the route as well as having had experience of navigating with the e-trex 30 device.  I will be the navigation guru.
* Kev has run many ultra races over all types of terrain and is the most confident of the three of us at being able to pace it in.  He will become our pacer and also feeder, ensuring that we all eat enough and often enough.
* Tom has practiced his map reading and compass skills and is the quickest runner of the four of us.  He will become our map reader for the evening.
* And Tracey is chief organiser – she was responsible for the meetup this morning and for the four of us taking the planning a whole lot more seriously than I am sure we would otherwise have done!  She has made numerous notes about the course from the video and briefing notes sent out to us and has recently navigated on a shorter ultra run in the daylight.  She is our manager.

Mapping out the Dusk 'til Dawn course

Have you ever tried navigating a course with maps before?

14 thoughts on “The maps are out

    1. Oh no! Hope you made it back on course again?…!
      We’re super prepared so between the four of us we should (touch wood) be OK navigation wise on Saturday…

    1. I haven’t done it yet, – you can be in awe next Sunday instead…hopefully! 😛 Hehe!
      I see you are starting running again as well, which is great! :) I love adding the navigational aspect as I find it makes it so exciting when out on the course. It also helps me to forget when my legs are shouting at me for making them travel so far!

  1. The only attempt I’ve ever managed with regard to successfully navigating race courses was at the Shires and Spires 35, and even then I thank my lucky stars every time I think of it. I still have no idea how I didn’t get lost, and that was in the daylight. You’re amazing for even attempting the 50 in the pitch black, and you have an incredibly strong team by the sounds of it. I am sure it will be a roaring success. I have butterflies for you already :)

    Jess recently posted…Hello?My Profile

    1. Thanks Jess. :) There will be plenty of butterflies fluttering around this week!
      You were so strong at Shires and Spires. From memory I think you just had one turning you questioned at the time? You sounded incredibly organised as well, – removing sections of the map once you had finished navigating that area of the course so that you didn’t get confused. I am certain you would be much better at navigational courses than you think you would.

    1. It’s definitely going to be an adventure! There are plenty of shorter distance navigational events if you are looking for something similar but of a shorter distance?… :)

  2. No way- one of the things I get most nervous about is getting lost on a race as I am not confident at all at map reading. I am OK when there are road names- to work out where I am, but on the trail half I did in the summer at one point the path split, there were no arrows and no runners ahead- I waited until there was a group, luckily one person had a map of the course and worked out sort of where we were.
    Good luck with it next weekend!
    Maria @ runningcupcake recently posted…Coconut water winner!My Profile

    1. Thanks Maria. :) After last year I’m really wary of trusting other runners! Glad the ones that caught up with you knew where they were going though.

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