Man vs Mountain 2019

Prologue

The final event is fast approaching. In about 48 hours, it should all be over. I’d like to say “for good” but it depends how much common sense gets dropped at the top of Snowdon in Pascal’s quest for the third segment of his medal.

The gear is being dusted off. The bags are being packed. The nerves are jangling – mine and his.

As ever, please post your comments (encouraging ones are good and get relayed on to Pascal when he calls me for updates, but any comment is part of the overall Man vs Stupid entertainment).

The night before

Pascal and Sim have arrived and registered and, on behalf of our local lifeboat patrol (GULP), have ensured that the Menai Strait is safe.

Pascal is currently feeling incredibly nervous. Too nervous for beer. (Too nervous for beer?!) He’s resorted to orange juice to wash down his carbs.

The forecast for tomorrow is chilly, especially at the summit of Snowdon. Predictions are anywhere from 6C down to -1C with the windchill. Sim says that on Facebook, runners are bailing fast. Pascal’s plan is to wear every bit of clothing that he’s packed, at least until he warms up.

His ankle hasn’t recovered from the last run, or the one before that, or the one before that, or (believe it or not) the one before that that where the injury happened. He has, however, seen an expert podiatrist (Thank you, Vicky!!) and done some pretty intense “resting” (quite a technical routine but he mastered it eventually). His ankle is taped up and he’s as physically ready as he can be. But it’s probably going to hurt. Quite a lot.

He remembered when he arrived that he should have shaved his ankle at home so taking the tape off will hurt quite a lot too.

In case you, like me, are reading this and thinking “Why? What’s the point of enduring pain hour after hour again?”. This is what it’s all about.

Yup. Getting the final segment of the trinity medal. He just needs to complete one more run and then he’ll have all the bits to make a big “M”.

Seriously.

I’m hoping to do a run next month. It’s only 10k but it’s in the relatively hilly Chilterns. The distance is fine but I need to train for the hills (I don’t like hills so have full respect for anyone daft enough to run up and down a mountain in one go) but my main reason for doing it is the finisher prize of a “gottle of geer”.

They say opposites attract and this may be the proof.

Pascal and Sim are staying in a lovely cottage (yes – I’ve made the obvious gag already) which would be perfect were it not for the unpleasant smell. Sim forgot to dry his waterproof jacket after MvL. It’s got black mouldy bits on it and it reeks. He should have done what he did after MvC when their kit got muddled and we ended up washing his race kit. His cunning plan worked perfectly then. (I might start calling him Baldrick.)

They start at 8am from near Caernarfon Castle. You can follow their progress on the tracker. I’ll be watching out for Liz Prentis too and cheering her on remotely. In our last episode, this lovely lady crossed the finish with Pascal and is running again tomorrow. I really hope she completes too.

The link for live tracking is here

Please post your comments to keep his spirits up.

1 hour to go

Our two sleep-deprived athletes have made it to the start line.

It doesn’t look too exciting at the moment but the weather forecast is for 30mph winds at the top of the mountain so it’s definitely going to be exciting later on. Normally RatRace do a kit check at registration but they’ve done extra checks at the start this morning so are clearly serious about making sure everyone is well-prepared.

Both Pascal and Sim had restless nights and have been awake since the small hours with heads full of nightmarish scenarios. Not the ideal preparation for taking on today’s challenge but completely understandable, I think. They look in fine shape at the start and I can’t even see Sim’s mouldy bits!

250 runners are poised and ready to go in the first wave. Happily Pascal has found the lovely Liz. I’m sure they’ll bump into each other again as the race unfolds.

They’ve started (so they’ll finish?)

This is their route today – 22 miles of beautiful Welsh scenery. All the obstacles seem to be waiting to pounce near the finish. They include a parkour wall and a quarry jump (into water), both of which sound like they have ankle-compatibility issues.

The black marker in the bottom right is the summit of Snowdon and RatRace’s trademark “vertical kilometre” is after the summit. What?!

They’ve officially left the start area and are being carried along by the stream “very tough” looking runners heading on a half marathon distance to the top. I tend to think the 9 miles after that to get you down again are pretty important too. Here they go!

9am – 1 hour in

Pascal’s been running for an hour and is about 4 miles in. He said he’s “running where it’s flat, walking up hills and running down gentle descents”.

After mapping his route, I can see that he’s definitely on one of the more gentle bits. I think the hardest part physically will be his descent from the summit but having two poles should help (does that make him bipedal and bi-pole-r?).

3 hours in

Pascal is enjoying the scenery and has only gone over once so far so the tape must be working its magic.

That’s Snowdon in the distance and the little puff of cloud in the middle distance is the steam train. I think that train might be Pascal’s back-up plan if he can’t face the descent.

Earlier he sent me one of his infamous “I can see the finish” pictures. I can’t see it. Can you? Please make your guesses based on this Spot The Ball version of his photo. (I really hope it’s not in row 4!)

Snowdon’s summit is now 1C, without windchill. He’s really really looking forward to a stop at the Snowdon Cafe. I hope they’re braced for 1000 shivery runners with massive calorie deficits!

I’ve just realised that he’s over halfway!! πŸ‘πŸ»

4 hours in

Half an hour ago, Pascal was “bonking badly” so stopped to guzzle homemade peanut-butter-heavy flapjacks (thanks for the tip, Nadia!) and dried fruit. Hopefully it’s enough to get him the last mile to the top. There’s just the small matter of getting down again without Chuggington support.

On the last event, Pascal saw a lady go out of the race at mile 8 after a bad fall. Her name is Lisa and she is running again today. She has the same injury as Pascal but is running because she is determined to raise funds for Anthony Nolan to help save the lives of people with blood cancer. When I find her fundraising page, I will post it here.

Here’s another “finish line pic”. Does anyone believe him?

Sim has finally peaked. Pascal (and Liz) are still slogging uphill.

Pascal’s mantra for this race is “Maximum effort”: a quote from his favourite ever superhero, Dead Pool.

5 hours in – Twin Peaks!

Pascal and Sim have both peaked. Sim is at least half an hour ahead of Pascal. The view is fantastic. Here’s a panorama that Pascal has sent from the summit.

At least the cloud has cleared for them. I’ve been to Snowdon a few times and only once had a view. Every other time, it’s felt like I’m standing next to the smoke machine in a night club.

6.5 hours in – rapid exit

When Pascal went over earlier, he somehow hurt his groin and has decided that, since it still hurts, he’s going to head straight for the finish and call it quits, skipping the obstacles. He sounds pretty gutted but he’s made it up a real mountain at relatively high speed which I think is all anyone can ask for as a Saturday morning achievement. Bravo!

He’s also sent me his final “finish line pic”. Anyone? Anyone? Bueller?

7 hours – The Finish

Sim took the long route (22+ miles) and Pascal took the shorter route (18+ miles) but they’ve both made it to the finish and collected their medals. RatRace are very generous and seem to recognise maximum effort ahead of perfect results every time. Love it!!

This jubilant photo was taken in the medical tent and now Pascal is heading to hospital to have his injury “checked out”, on the medics advice.

He started the race with enough injuries to fell an ox but ran anyway due to his innate stubbornness. (I think I credit both his parents for that gene!) Frankly, I’m amazed he wasn’t a MedEvac earlier in the day. I’m sure he’s shed another tonne of common sense en route but I hope that’s the last crazy stunt for 2019.

Liz is still running though. Go Liz!

More Pascal-shaped updates here when I get them.

Later that day

Pascal has spent many hours in A&E and finally discharged himself to find the food, sleep and shower that his body had been craving since crossing the finish line around 2pm.

Hopefully, a lot of rest is all he needs and, as mentioned at the start, he’s pretty much mastered that skill now.

Now to persuade him that doing another RatRace in November is not what his body needs, especially when it’s overnight and involves lots of cold, wet, muddy water…

4 Replies to “Man vs Mountain 2019”

  1. You should not be too hot today as the weather is forecast to be cool and a bit wet. I hope it is comfortable for you chaps…. πŸ˜ƒπŸ˜Ÿ

  2. Good luck. I am so proud of you and I so admire your courage. But I am equally scared and can’t bear to think of you in such an ordeal.
    I love you very very much. Good luck, ‘A man’s gotta do what a man’s gotta do’ as your father liked to say. The scenery will be nice.
    xxxxxxxxx

  3. You’re both Crazy bonkers mad 😜
    Persevere through the hard bits, enjoy the great bits and stay safe.

    Good luck both of you!!!! πŸ’ͺ🏼☘️🀞🏼

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