2013 UK Ultra Runner of the Year Robbie Britton will push his body into unchartered territory tomorrow (Saturday) when he tackles his first skyrunning race. In his latest blog, Robbie looks ahead to the beast that is the Transvulcania Ultramarathon.
It’s race time!
Tomorrow will see many of the greatest ultra runners in the world line up next to the lighthouse in Fuencaliente, La Palma, and prepare to tackle the mighty Transvulcania Ultramarathon.
At 73km and with 4415m of elevation gain, it is a true beast of a race. One I definitely cant wait to get stuck into!
To say I’m excited and fired-up would be on of the biggest understatements ever made. For the past few months I’ve been like a kid on Christmas Eve, whose birthday is on Christmas Day and has just eaten a massive bag of chocolate covered coffee beans. Yes, that excited.
6am is the start time. I will be there, and, like everyone else, have a large bullseye on the back of my vest! We are all targets for rivals, no matter where we are in the field!
It will be my first skyrunning event and the steepest race I’ve ever taken on. Despite that, I feel really good. Over the last six months I have put in as much hard work as possible, be that at home in the UK, racing (and winning) in Turkey or here in the Canary Islands, where I have spent a couple of months living in a hut and getting to know the course.
This time 12 months ago I was lining up at the start of the World 24-hour Running Championships on a flat, asphalt course around a quiet town in Holland.
Fast-forward a year and 2014 has been all about me pushing myself far outside my comfort zone and, as a result, growing as a runner. It is working. I’m twice the ultra runner I was 12 months ago, but tomorrow I’m definitely playing with the big boys!
Whatever happens at this weekend the experience will make me a stronger runner and, having made the decision to wear my super-lightweight inov-8 x-talon 190 shoes to help with grip on the ascents, I am looking forward to the point when my body screams of fatigue and the real battle begins.
Whilst physically I still have a way to go to reach my peak, mentally I feel very strong. If you know the pain and suffering of a 24-hour race and you can keep pushing on, if you’ve struggled over mile upon mile of the Comrades course, vomited all across the Spartathlon and survived a stag trip to Hungary completely sober then pain is only a relative thing!
Each step of this race is a step to the finish and you might as well go quickly, because suffering is just part of the fun.
Transvulcania awaits and Steve McQueen’s quote has been in my mind all week. ‘Racing is life, everything before and after is just waiting’.
Photo at the top of the blog courtesy of www.racingsnakes.com