My main aim for this race was to finish. I had never raced a multi-day event so really wasn’t sure what to expect or how to approach it.

The Ring O Fire is a 135 mile ultra marathon following the coastal path around the island of Anglesey off the Welsh coast. The event is held over 3 days with the start on the first day being at 1pm and the start on the other 2 days being at 6am. The distances for the individual stages were 35 (55 km), 66 (105 km) and 33 (53 km) miles with the cut offs 11 hours for day 1, 22 hours for day 2 and 11.5 hours for day 3.

The cut offs for me were not going be an issue but I had general targets for the 3 days.

–          Day 1: Finish in more than 6 hours, so a slow approach for me for the first 35 miles.

–          Day 2: Finish before it gets dark so that I don’t need to use a head torch. That would be a maximum run time of 14:30 hours.

–          Day 3: start and finish!

I achieved all of the above but would have liked to have been a bit quicker on Day 2 as I finished Day 2 in 14:40 hrs.

The race organisers provide overnight accommodation in a leisure centre hall at the end of day 1 and in a village hall at the end of day 2. I am a light sleeper and felt that these overnight stays would just keep me awake all night with runners arriving throughout the night. Fiona and I decided to camp near Newborough which is not far from Aberffraw where the 2nd day ended. This did mean a long drive after day one and back to the start of day 2 but a short one at the end of day 2. Overall this worked quite well and I could have my own space. I didn’t sleep too well on the first night but slept pretty well on the 2nd night.

In the 10 days before the event we had a camping holiday in Snowdonia with some hill walking, some cycling, a trip on a steam train and some sightseeing. An absolutely fantastic holiday with great weather and the race felt miles away. This made me very relaxed going into the race. I only really started my actual race prep the day before and freaked out a bit as I suddenly felt unprepared as the food picture shows 😉

Food Chaos!

I have in recent races much more used real foods but having been on holiday hadn’t yet bought the stuff I might want. I do like the Cliff Bar stuff except for their gels so they were to be a reasonable part of my race diet but I did then get some smoked sausage, cheese and pork pies to go with that.

I slept extremely well the night before the race which I was really surprised about, both because it was the night before the race, and I hadn’t really slept all that well during the holiday up until then although it had got better after we bought me a new sleeping bag. A few days before the race the organisers posted on Facebook that the Duke of Cambridge, Prince William would be the official starter of the race. To be honest I initially thought it was an April fool’s joke and the organisers got their Augusts and Aprils mixed up.

It wasn’t a joke though and race day morning was maybe a bit busier than usual. If nothing else what the Royal visit definitely did was put a very small event which has just over 100 competitors and is only in its second year of running into the national press and onto the map. The race was suddenly on the BBC and Sky News. A great coup by the organisers for the race and for the ultra marathon sport even if most of the media focused on the Royals as Kate came along too.

The Royal Send Off

From a competitor point of view it meant standing around at the start a bit longer than planned and getting a bit colder than planned until the Prince and Kate arrived and then until it was time to ring the starting bell. We had got there pretty early after picking up Aaron B. from the station.

Pre race I did manage to meet up with Dave Troman who had also done the West Highland Way Race and catch up with the full TriTalk crew consisting of Aaron, Maca, Grom, Repo, Smitters and ICE.

Anyway enough preamble, let’s get onto the race.

Route Map

Day 1: Holyhead Breakwater Park to Amlwch Leisure Centre – 35 miles – 55km – 6:19 hrs

As mentioned above my aim for day 1 was to start off quite easy with a target time of over 6 hours knowing that I have a 4:40 hrs and a 4:20 hrs 33 miler to my name. The early part of the course takes you through Holyhead and then through the Alaw Estuary. Last year you still had to wade through the Estuary. The coastal path had been improved and now goes further into the estuary and over a beautiful new footbridge. This was one of two reasons why the course increased from 131 to 135 miles over the 2 years.

Just after the Causeway leading away from Holy Island and before the Estuary Maca (John McB) caught up with me and we ran together for a bit chatting. Thom P. (Vicky Holland’s other half) joined us for a bit too. I’d be running on and off with Maca for the rest of the day. We crossed the finish together that day too. After day 1 though he was too strong for me. It may have helped that he had done most of the course last year.

Holy Island and the Estuary were reasonably flat. The coast line started gradually getting rockier as we made our way North. It was also getting increasingly more remote. My legs weren’t feeling all that great early on. This may have been due to the standing around in the rather cold conditions at the start. The start was most likely one of the coldest moments of the whole race as it was overcast and misty with a fairly stiff breeze. By the time we left the Alaw estuary though the mist had cleared and the sun was out – it was going to be a beautiful run north, at times a bit too warm but nothing to complain about. We were about to head into some absolutely stunning and remote scenery.

I was doing my usual walk every 30 min and eat something at that point for nutrition. This tied in nicely with the first checkpoint at Alaw Bridge which I reached in 90 min (15.4 km). The second checkpoint was at Church Bay (10.8 km after Alaw) so a shorter stint but getting more technical with more stiles and gates and more cliff tops. This section took me about 2:10 hrs so fitted in quite nicely again with my feeding strategy. Strangely I can’t remember much of the section itself except that I had gone ahead of Maca.

Leaving CP2

He caught up with me soon after CP2 though just as I was about to head in the wrong direction and although we were both not quite sure what was right we got it in the end losing a couple of min on the group ahead of us. The next section was familiar to Maca and it was very useful running with him as he guided me through all of this without me needing my map at all. We seemed to be going pretty well as we gradually caught up with the guys in front again.

We had just rounded the north western corner of Anglesey which is the remotest part of the island with great cliff top view out to sea, some small islands off the coast and some great rock formations. The sun was starting to change into an evening colour with the temperature dropping to make it all just perfect. Only about 30 min later we were spat out of this fantastic rural landscape and faced with rounding the very industrial looking Wylffa power station. I got slightly detached from the group but kept them in view because I had read somewhere that it is easy to miss checkpoint 3 at the power station. The eastern side of the power station is flanked by a forest and the coastal path runs through this which seemed a bit weird having run over cliff tops for most of the day. Half way through there was a marshal and a camera man so I was expecting the checkpoint to be round the next corner. Instead we got a nasty flight of steps and a nasty descent and a few more turns and finally the view of the checkpoint – phew. As with the previous 2 checkpoints I grabbed a couple of savoury snacks, had a cup of coke and headed off with the group I had been following. From here on the coastline was just as stunning but the path was hard going with lots of flights of steps up to the cliff tops and back down again – running happened occasionally in between.

Day 1 coast line.

This played into my hands in terms of achieving an above 6 hour finish. Based on the earlier pace it would have been quite likely to have finished under 6 hours. Gradually the coast line got a bit more urban and we got a sense that we were nearing the end of day 1. At this point we were running in a group of around 5 of us trying to find our way off the path so that we could follow the Ring O Fire signs that took us to the Amlwch Leisure Centre and the day’s finish. After nearly flawless navigation all day this seemed like a bit of a botched job but we got there. I crossed the line with Maca in 6:19 hours feeling more knackered than I had hoped for but with a time that I had planned for.

Finishing Day 1 with Maca.

I had finished in roughly 20th place but as this was a stage race nobody was really hanging around at the finish which felt a bit surreal. The earlier arrivals had gone to sort out their bed for the night or just for a lie down.

I got into some warmer clothes, had a protein drink and Fiona drove me down to Bull Bay which we had run through 30 min earlier. There I stood in the cold sea water for approximately 10 min to aid recovery and annoyed the later runners as they saw me standing with my run shorts and number still pinned on (smitters actually stopped for a chat and ICE came running past looking strong).

Chilling after Day 1.

We had dinner in a pizza place in Amlwch before heading back to the campsite. At the restaurant I met a couple of Austrians who were doing the race and found out there were a total of six of them. So I would have the opportunity to chat in German for a bit as I got to run with Wolfgang for some of Day 2.

When we got back to the tent just after 10pm I quickly sorted out the kit for day 2 and Fiona sorted out support kit for day 2, put it all in the car and headed off to bed, alarm set for 4:20 am. Fiona would meet me at 4 spots in the 2nd half of day two with some food, a change of shoes and an optional change of t-shirt. She did get out on the bike herself a bit but not as much as she would have liked.

Day 2: Amlwch Leisure Centre to Aberffraw Village Hall – 66 miles – 105 km – 14:38 hrs

Up at 4:20, got dressed and we were in the car back to Amlwch by 4:45am sipping coffee and eating breakfast on the way. Got there in good time and the legs didn’t feel too bad for the restart, a bit stiff but nothing that I didn’t feel wouldn’t loosen up soon enough.

I met Dave at the start and we ran together for a fair chunk of the first half of day 2. Sometimes I’d be a bit further ahead and sometimes he would. Day 2 would take us from Amlwch round the North Eastern point, down the Eastern coastline to the most Eastern point at Penmon Point and then onto the built up areas of Beaumaris and Menai Bridge. From here the route got notably flatter and we started to turn north at Sea Zoo (across the straight from Carnaerfon) rounding Newborough Forest before getting to Aberffraw for the night.

Leaving one of the bay villages early on on day 2 with Dave Troman.

After leaving Amlwch we were straight back out onto stunning coast line and within the first 30 min were greeted with a stunning sun rise, my highlight of the race! Sadly I didn’t stop for a picture. I have in the past been critical of people taking pictures while racing but am actually annoyed with myself not to have flicked the phone out occasionally to take some pictures of the stunning views. Luckily there have been some people out on the course doing this.

I felt good through the first part of day 2 with the route being similar to the 2nd half of day one but in many parts more runnable. We’d run over cliff tops again, through small bays, little villages and caravan parks being greeted and cheered on by locals heading out to get the morning paper or taking their dogs for a walk. People seemed to know about the event either because it had suddenly hit the news or because of this being an island and people just know about what goes on locally. I really enjoyed that.

Maca came flying past me early on and left me for dust. Seemed too fast for me. Dave and I had settled in with a bit of a group who seemed to be working well together and in no time we made it to checkpoint one where I got rid of my long wind proof as the sun was starting to warm up the day.

The route to checkpoint two had similar scenery and I was still feeling strong keeping mostly to my eating plan. Checkpoint one had been nearly 19k from the day’s start and I got there in 2:18 hrs, checkpoint 2 was a further 10k away and I got there in 3:48 hrs after leaving Amlwch. My stomach had been a bit iffy during the morning hours and I was glad that there was a toilet block at the Red Wharf Bay check point (CP2). Having breakfast less than 1 hour before race start didn’t help to sort out morning bowel movements. Usually I would have breakfast 2-3 hours before a race start but this would have been ridiculous in this case.

The terrain we were running on started to change a bit after Red Wharf Bay running along the hard packed sand of the beach in the bay and along a rather long causeway. At the end of the bay we had to follow a diversion as some of the path was threatened from a landslide. The diversion saw us walk up a very steep road. From the top of the road it all seemed like a downhill run to checkpoint three at Penmon Point.

Penmon Point Checkpoint

A few km before Penmon point a small group of runners caught up with me including Euan, who grew up in Edinburgh, and Matt. We all got into Penmon Point together, I just had a quick cup of coke and a few pretzels and was off again with Dave and Wolfgang who had been running in my vicinity since somewhere between CP1 and CP2. My pace suited him so we plodded along chatting away in German. I hope Dave didn’t mind too much. A few km down the road I peeled off the group to meet up with Fiona for a quick shoe change which was well needed and a few savoury snacks.

Headed off quickly again in pursuit of the others heading across a rather unpleasant beach before coming into Beaumaris and the half way checkpoint. Dave, Euan, Matt etc. were already there taking their time. As I had had my mini pit stop I wasn’t planning on staying on and as with Penmon Point had a quick drink and a bite to eat and pushed on. Dave and Wolfgang joined me for the walk up the hill behind Beaumaris.

In many ways I was looking forward to the second half of day 2 as I had recced that part in May with some of the other guys from Tritalk so I knew where I was going. On the other hand though that 2nd half seemed like a struggle. Looking back now I don’t think it really was, just the others that I had been running with were just a little faster. I was only 40 min slower in the 2nd half of the day than in the first. That isn’t a bad drop off considering the distance covered.

In the recce we struggled with the short field section after Beaumaris but the group of us that entered the fields this time managed to find the correct exit pretty quickly after only a couple of minutes of contemplation although it was extremely well hidden. Result!

After those fields it was a lot of tarmac until you leave Menai Bridge (roughly 7-8km) and I slowed down as I tend to do when running on tarmac in ultras. The rest of the group including Wolfgang and Dave pushed on a bit faster and that would be the last time I would see them until the end of the day. I think what I interpreted as a struggle was more a realisation that I wouldn’t be running with the guys I had run with for a big part of the last 8 hours. I was still moving pretty well.

Bit of a change of route at Menai Bridge due to the seafood festival, passed a runner soon after who was walking and really seemed to be struggling and then reached the St. Mary’s church checkpoint. The day had really warmed up, the sun was out but at the same time there was a nice breeze to take the edge off the heat so generally quite pleasant.

Menai Bridge

Quick update on the days distances and times: I got to checkpoint 3 at Penmon Point in 5:53 hrs (46km into the day), checkpoint 4 at Beaumaris in 7:01 hrs (56km in) and checkpoint 5 at St. Mary’s church in 8:31 hrs (67km in).

Soon after CP5 the route takes you inland for a bit crossing the A4080 and following a new section of the path over some farm fields. Previously runners had to run along the A road which was rather dangerous. The new section is nice but had added a further 2 miles to the course. I was following Steve and George at this point who had passed me just after Menai Bridge but towards the end of the diversion I was suddenly ahead of them again as they took a wrong path in one of the fields. I returned the favour a couple of kms later when I headed down to the beach too soon to run along what I thought was the low tide option. I learnt a lesson here in reading the map in advance, something I saw Steve doing very regularly when we ran together for a fair bit on day 3. That error frustrated me as the beach section the low tide option takes you on isn’t the best anyway and I just added extra pebbles and mud to that. I wouldn’t see Steve and George until the days finish again either.

View from CP6 – Sea Zoo

When I returned to the join of the Low Tide and High Tide options a runner approached from the HT option. This frustrated me a bit more as I felt he’d chosen the cop out route. He stayed with me for a fair chunk of the rest of day two. I believe I ran with him for a bit of day one too. We didn’t talk much as it seemed that he didn’t speak much English. I believe he was French and realised I knew where I was going.

I now only had a short field section to get into CP6 at Sea Zoo (Time: 10:17; Distance: 78km). I enjoyed that last bit and looked forward to seeing Fiona at the CP. Had a slightly longer stop here and headed off with a spring in my step. The next part is lots of nice fields and narrow paths and then the passage of the giant stepping stones. Here we came through the 2nd section that we got wrong during the recce and I was pleased to get this right too. Fiona was due to meet me again after the stepping stones and I initially got my distances wrong so texted her to say it was shorter. When I got to the meeting point she wasn’t there so I was going to push on just as she came screeching to a halt on her bike, yelling my name and startling the French guy. Don’t think he ever recovered!

Had a Mueller rice and a bit more coke and headed out onto the biggest beach of the race (it is the best part of 3-4 km), Frenchman in tow. The tide was just off its high point but the beach was fine to run on. Quite a few of the beach attendants gave us cheers and to my surprise so did our neighbours from the campsite (2 teacher husbands and their boys). After the first km on the beach though it wasn’t that exciting to run on anymore. Initially you run along the south side of Newborough forest and then along the west side with the shadows getting long in the evening sun. It then turns east and becomes a massive estuary. In the recce we spent too long on the sand in the estuary. The coastal path heads towards the forest as soon as it turns east but there is no signage to support this. I kept my eye on the foot prints in the sand. I could make out a nice mix of Hokas, Innov-8s and other brands so knew I was following the right tracks and when they headed towards the forest I knew where to go. The Frenchman had dropped back considerably. Once I reached the forest I stopped to get the sand out of my shoes and the Frenchman caught up with me one last time. The forest road was a joy to run and for the first time since Penmon Point I felt as if I was running and got to the last checkpoint (CP7) pretty swiftly then. CP7 in 13:06 hours for 97km.

Coming into CP7 – Newborough Forest

Fiona waited for me at CP7 once more and I had another Mueller Rice and the checkpoint staff had soup for me: Yum! In the recce I struggled with the next mile as it is a very flat tarmac cycle track. Having just come into CP7 with some new found mojo, I left with the same mojo and had a good run across the causeway and into the next village where one of the locals offered me some raisins and the pub owner cheered me on. Into the trails behind the village and up the final road climb of the day with the sun setting on the horizon. I did leave the last checkpoint with my head torch as it was starting to look touch and go if I would or wouldn’t need it but once I was over the brow of the hill I knew I should make it without the head torch. Once I turned off the pavement there were a few fields to cross and then the Aberffraw dunes. We had done the fields (and got lost a bit) in the recce but not the dunes. I managed to get the fields right (hurray again) but wished I had done the dunes in the recce as on the map it looks like a short 3 side of a square run followed by a couple of 100 metres to the finish at the village hall. Well the dunes seemed to last forever and I was glad when they were over. They just annoyed me.

Finished the day at 38 min past 8 in the evening (14:38 hrs of running for 106km). I was pleased with my day’s work and got some pasta which the organisers had put on. Caught up with some of the other recent arrivals and wondered where Fiona was. She got delayed as she had to brief our campsite neighbours on what I was up to. Got back to the campsite had tinned slow cooked lamb vegetable soup for dinner with precooked sausages. The day’s exertions caught up with me quickly though as I was feeling really cold so got in to bed. An earlier night than after day 1 thanks to the shorter drive.

I had more time for recovery activities after day 1 though (cold water in Bull Bay, Protein drink and big pizza dinner). Day 2 only protein drink and dinner and then bed. I had posted somewhere that day 3 was the one I was worried about. Half way through the night I had to go to the toilet and the legs didn’t feel too bad. When I got up at 4:20am, the same. “This is promising!” I thought.

Got ready, had breakfast and drove over to the day 3 start. It was going to be interesting to see who had made it in during the night and who would be ready to start the final day and what state they would be in. ICE was there, as was Grom and Repo (although I didn’t see him at the start) and all the people who had finished ahead of or around me were ready to go again too. The only people I knew that hadn’t made it to the end of day 2 were smitters and Aaron. They both retired on the first half of day two. I hope they are able to beat that course on another day. Of the original 96 starters less than 60 were going start day 3.

Day 3: Aberffraw Village Hall to Holyhead Breakwater Park – 33 miles – 53 km – 7:16 hrs

Start of Day 3

Off again at 6 am and with the allure of bacon sandwiches at the first checkpoint we set blistering pace. I couldn’t believe how good the legs felt. We had a mix of cliff top runs and beaches to run along with some fields and cows thrown in. The first checkpoint at Rosneigr was 11km in and we got there in 77 min. Wow! I had set off with Dave, Euan and Matt early on again but felt I would have to let them move on as I couldn’t really keep that up. Dave is an 18 hour WHW runner and I am currently a 22 hour WHW runners so this may have been a sensible choice.

Euan, Dave and I shared the a bacon buttie at CP1 one as we could not stomach a whole one and after emptying our shoes from the sand headed off again onto another long beach section round the outside of the airbase where Prince William is stationed. By the end of the airbase I couldn’t see Dave and Euan any more but caught up with Steve and George and we ran together all the way to CP2 and beyond. Our run into CP2 at 4 Mile Bridge to take us back onto Holy Island was another strong performance and we covered the 11km from CP1 in 1:32 hrs. So I had now covered the first 22.5km of Day 3 in 2:48 hours. This was looking good for a possible sub 7 hours finish although I did know that the sting in the tail was right at the end.

There is only a short section of fields and stiles after CP2 before hitting the tarmac road down to Roscolyn and Silver Bay. When we got lost in someone’s backyard George and I instead of helping Steve find the way out enjoyed the rather delicious brambles that were growing there. Our response to Steve when he shouted: “Have you found it (the way out)?”, was “no we are just eating brambles”. J Although when I turned round the exit gate was right in front of us … result! Thanks brambles!

Once on the tarmac, usual story, they ran away from me and I plodded my way down to Silver Bay to find the hidden book. This is placed there to stop runners cutting off a large chunk of Holy Island. When I got there I tore out a page of Harry Potter to be delivered to the next checkpoint while Lowri Morgan approached from the other side having gone the wrong way.

The gap to Steve and George was not too big as I could see them heading off at the other end of the Bay after leaving the book. As with day 2 I suddenly found myself ahead of them again as they picked an inland diversion so in the end we were together again but not for long as I stopped at the one point I had arranged to meet Fiona and had another Mueller rice. A couple asked me which way we were running round the island as they had seen runners going both ways. The answer to their mystery was: Runners going back to the book because they had missed it. Most of the rest of the day was run on wide cliff top paths with the dips and climbs not being too testing. Running into Treaddur Bay though was not a joy as it was another rather long run along a tarmac road. Last checkpoint here though and a surprise sighting of Fiona who had only really pulled up here to pass the time before heading to the finish. I reached CP3 in 4:55 min having now covered 38km. The scenery hadn’t changed much but the cliff tops were getting higher. Running along the road after Treaddur Bay I got quite a lot of shout outs from cyclists who were taking part in the Tour de Mon cycle sportive, which was very encouraging, and finally went through a small bay before leaving the road for a long time.

Near CP3

Got lots of cheers in the bay too as there was a diving competition going on. I may not have been feeling my best any more but was still continuously running and clocking up the miles. Holyhead Mountain was looming in the distance. I could see Lowri behind me but not closing and suddenly another couple of runners came into view who seemed to be closing quickly. As quickly as they appeared on the horizon they were gone never to be seen again, very confusing. Steve and George were up ahead somewhere and as I turned for Holyhead Mountain I spotted them once more.

Holyhead Mountain is the sting in the tail I mentioned earlier and I was just curious how much the route would hug the coast before heading for the highest point on the island and the highest point in the race. The was a short road climb first up to the South Stack view point from which we had to climb a series of rock steps and then ran along the ridge for a bit. It felt as if the end was really close. Although according to my Garmin that end was another 4km away. 4k might not seem a lot considering I had already covered well over 200k at this point but seeing as I just needed to get over the mountain it didn’t seem to quite add up so I was wondering what surprises this course still had in store. Well the way up wasn’t the surprise.

On the way down one of the coastal path signs pointed left and down and I thought this is a joke, the finish is over there to the right but I duly followed this sign down and it seemed to plunge towards the sea. Well it plunged as far as North Stack which was only occupied by a very annoyed dog. Once I got down to North Stack I had to climb again and my hope to finish just outside 7 hours was fading too. Came past a woman who said the finish is just round the next corner, and then after the corner a guy says to me it is just down there a few 100 metres away. Most of the descent was rocky or had rocky steps and after more than 200k I wasn’t prepared to risk a fall and end my Ring O Fire with less than 2km to go. When I rounded that last corner and could see the finish there was finally some normal path to run on and I could run into the finish. Going up Holyhead Mountain was great and gave you some awesome views, coming down was very annoying as all I wanted to do was run to the finish. But finish I did. 7:16 hours for the final day!

Last metres!

Initially I was just shattered, wanted a coffee and some normal food. Fiona was trying to offer me a protein drink but recovery didn’t seem all that important as I had no plans to run again the next morning. I caught up with some of the earlier finishers. Dave had a storming finish to finish second on the day. Euan came in roughly 30 min ahead of me and the gap to Steve and George had only been around 9 min in the end. Sadly Grom was sitting at the finish having pulled out with very sore and blistered feet at CP2 on day 3. Having got so far that is really tough time to have to retire from the race. I hope he too can come back to complete the course. Maca had another strong run and put his race demons from 2012 to bed in finishing the race in a very strong fashion.

I cheered in a few more of the finishers who came in soon after me and then had a coffee and an ice cream in the Wildlife Trust café. Unfortunately I missed the prize presentations as Fiona had gone to get the car.

Joy and thanks!

I was delighted to have finished but too exhausted to enjoy it initially. Looking back now the event was awesome. I am absolutely buzzing from it. The idea of having run round an island that has 135 miles of coast line is brilliant. I reached all my targets. In the meantime the results are out and I finished 16th from 54 finishers in a total time of 28 hours and 13 min just over 5 hours behind the winner. The weather had been perfect for the whole event with the most cloud cover on the last day but still a good day. With the dry summer that we have had there was no mud on the trail at all. I used 3 different pairs of shoes although I had planned for 4 but agree with others that a reasonably well cushioned road shoe (which I had used for the 2nd half of the race) will be more than suitable for this race course.

I have been very surprised how good my legs felt on the start of day 2 and day 3 and even more so on the non-existent day 4. When I woke up on the Monday morning my legs felt as if they could run again. This happened again on the Tuesday morning. Contrary to any other long distance race I have done I have been able to run down stairs any day since finishing the race. I may have found the type of race that really suits me: multi day stage racing! Apart from the lack of pain in my legs (just a bit of tiredness) I walked away with one large blister on my left toe which had been there since early on on day 2 and never bothered me.

A wee race souvenir.

Catching up post race with the RD!

One thing I am going to try and work on is to find a way to run better on hard packed flat surfaces in ultras. This is something that frustrates me as others seem to run away from me in those situations. This may be a bit of a change of mental attitude as I expect this to happen but I may also adapt a more normal short course (marathon) running style when hitting those surfaces. I have a couple more ultras coming up this year where I can try this out. I don’t have problems with those surfaces when actually running a road race.

I was very glad that Fiona and I had decided to drive back to Edinburgh the following day and not on the race afternoon as we were both very tired. We went to sit at the beach at Newborough sipping beer and I went to stand in the sea for a few minutes again doing something towards my recovery after all.

The other race souvenir.

I have been asked which race is harder: the West Highland Way Race or the Ring O Fire. My initial reaction was that it was the Ring O Fire but on second thought I think it is the WHW race. I have recovered notably better so far from the RoF and I also feel I actually enjoyed the RoF more although I am not sure why. I am buzzing much more after this than after the WHW. Would I do it again: Definitely, although initially I felt it was a box ticked. 2014 plans are still a bit vague. Ring O Fire also clashes with UTMB for which I now have tons of points to qualify.

Huge thanks to Fiona for flitting round the island in support. Congratulations and thank you to Bing, Q and the rest of the RoF team for a fantastic event. Finally congratulations to everyone who started the Ring O Fire. Well done to those that finished and hopefully those that couldn’t, can come back to complete the race another year.

Related Links: 

2013 Ring O Fire results.

Lots of photos on the Ring O Fire facebook page.

Repoman’s Epic race report.

Dave’s race report.

Pictures courtesy of Fiona Milligan and the Ring of Fire Facebook page. Map picture courtesy of the Ring of Fire Website.