April Newsletter

Welcome to the April newsletter.  We didn’t send this out on April 1st, in case we were not taken seriously.  I mean, who would believe a newsletter dedicated to people who run all day, run all night, run national trails in just one day, or participate in Herculean legends?

We’ve split up this newsletter into the different races to make it easier for you all to pick out what’s relevant to you.  Featured in this newsletter are:

  • The Duke of York (freebie event next Sunday, 14th April) – volunteer runners wanted!
  • Dusk til Dawn Sunlight (May)
  • The 12 Labours of Hercules (July)
  • The Gristone Grind (September)
  • Dusk til Dawn (October)

Oh, one last thing….from May 2014 the UK will be getting a new, iconic 100 miler (50 mile option). The course has been set.  The event will be unveiled and opened for international registrations from May 2013.  You’ll have a year to prepare yourselves for another epic.


Richard @ Beyond Marathon 


The Duke of York

He had 10 thousand men, he marched them up to the top of the hill and he marched them down again.  However, on April 14th we have only 11 women/men and will march them gently up 4 or 5 hills before marching them down again, and feeding them.

We have 11 places available for a zero-cost event! Places will be handed out on a first come first served basis.  The event HQ is Losehill Hall in Castleton.  You will register at 8am, you will be issued with an electronic chip, and the little event will start at 8:30am, after a short briefing.

The purpose of the event is to give you a free run on parts of the Peak District courses used in our events, while allowing us to play-test our new sportident electronic chip timing system and software.  We have recently invested heavily in Sportident, and it will be used on some of our events later in 2013 and on all of our events from 2014 onwards.

The event is 18.5 miles long and features 1217m of ascent and descent.  Participants will need to bring an OL1 Dark Peak Map (GPS welcome too).  There are 4 electronic chip control locations. Participants will run out and tag a control, then return to HQ, before going out for the next one.  Participants can choose any route they like.  All of the Controls are easy to find on public paths.  The most direct routes are shown on the map on news post on the Dusk til Dawn website, event News.

So the event will be free of charge, and we will setup a single feeding station at the HQ to feed and water you during and after the event.  If you want to enter, just email us.

It’s a useful 18.5 mile training event, and will introduce you to the local terrain and hills, if you don’t already know them. 

Dusk til Dawn Sunlight

It’s only 7 weeks away and the Grim Sweeper is honing the edge of his scythe.  Currently there are almost 30 of you who are going to be running away from the him on May 18th.  By then  the UK will have thawed out, we are (fairly) sure.  We have updated the online map pack, on the Route page of the Sunlight website.  It includes a one page PDF map, and files for Google Earth, Memory Map, GPX and Garmin devices.  If you encounter any issues with the files then do let us know.

Registration will take place in the conference/briefing room at Losehill Hall.  This will act as event HQ, and where you will also get fed after the event.  We have not yet decided whether to have CP2 or CP3 as the drop bag location.  CP3 is fully indoors, but 30 miles in.  CP2 is 20 miles in but in an outhouse.  Our preference would be to use CP3 but some of you may wish to get some supplies at mile 20.  What are your thoughts on this? Let us know.

The route is very slightly different to 2012.  Of course it is in reverse and in daylight, but there is a change before Sunlight’s CP3.  At Taxal Church you will use a public footpath heading West, heading up to join a road and then public footpath and then head South.  We are in the process of obtaining permission to cross a short section of private land as you head South to rejoin the 2012 route at Windgather Rocks.  The navigation and ground is easier than the 2012 route for this section.

As with 2012 we will make a decision on the day as to if include the Hay and Peter Dales before CP4, or use the road route.  The ground in the dales can turn into a quagmire, so unless it’s easy and fast to traverse we won’t send you through.  There self clip locations shown on the map.  You will be given a route card at registration.  This card will be punched by us at CPs, and you must punch it yourself at each of the self-clip locations.  The self clip locations will be recognisable by most of you as Orienteering Controls.  30cm x 30cm white and orange “kites”.  These will have the traditional orange punches attached to them.  You should punch the card in the next blank box on your route card, ascending in number order.  If you present your route card at the finish with one or more missed punches, then your finish time will be recorded, but with “missed checkpoint” next to it.  So pay attention as you run, and be sure to look out for the self-clips.  They will be in obvious locations, and not hidden in bushes! If you are using your own Sportident card, or want to optionally hire one (£3 – but we only have 12 to rent out in total), for full electronic split timing then the SI stations will be right next to the manual punches and at manned CPs.  Next year it’s anticipated all events will be 100% chip timed.

Entries with accommodation are still available for the October event (only race + accommodation slots left).  If you finish both DtD events then you have claim a very cool and exclusive Dusk til Dawn Double finish medal.

Finally, expect the event handbook to wing it’s way to your inbox in a few weeks time.  Good luck in your final training and preparation.  In those last few weeks swap those long runs for some speedwork. Overall, just train smart and don’t get injured, like I am (see October info!)

12 Labours of Hercules

July isn’t really all that far away, and registrations are filling well.  We’re currently at 40, and we’re likely to cap it at 75.  We’ve been busy working on the finer event details.  On our recent travels, we’ve sourced the winners ‘trophies’ which are actually small Greek pottery and marble vases.  See the recent posts on the event Facebook Page. A little better than the usual gold plastic runner statues right?  The race memento for everyone will also be a little more unusual.  We are still finalising elements of it, so we can’t say too much, but it’s not a medal.

If you are not local to the area, hopefully by now  you may have arranged some accommodation in or around Castleton.  Losehill Hall itself has very limited accommodation left on both the Friday and Saturday, but plenty left on the Sunday night.  If you are thinking of getting a room there, then book now.  There is a very small (6 berths) basic campsite very nearby to the YHA property, but it has no washing facilities.  There is a better campsite in nearby Pindale, and one a little further away in Edale. Those of you who have entered in a team may well want to start to think about who may do which labour, and who is going to be allowed to get some rest or sleep.   We have the large Losehill Hall conference room and adjoining rec-room booked from early Saturday through Sunday afternoon. The race is 24 hours from 10am remember.  From the conference room you will register and then it will act as the Olympus HQ, and main feeding station with the rolling buffet.  It will be the location where as a pair/team you will tag each other and swap the electronic timing card between yourselves.  Pair and Team members who are not out doing a labour are of course welcome to stay, plan and socialise in the HQ.  There is a massive projector screen, so we may well be able to provide some entertainment too.  During the night hours, some team members will doubtless want to seek the comfort of their beds before returning for their “running shift” sometime later!  It’s up to you as a team how you split the labours.  Maybe you all want to do the last one together for a symbolic finish, or maybe not,  it’s entirely up to you.  For solo competitors though you are welcome to take a break anytime at HQ or manned checkpoints, but we realise that you will probably be rarely seen as you complete your solitary feat.

Finally, after negotiation with the owners, we can now reveal the location of the infamous Cavern checkpoint.  If you hadn’t guessed already, then “Hades” will be “The Devil’s Arse” show-cavern in Castleton.  The Devil’s Arse you say?  Indeed, that is in fact the nickname for ‘Peak Cavern’ which has the largest cave mouth of any cave in the UK.  It leads to Titan, a 141m deep natural cave shaft, again the deepest known in the UK; a shaft which potholers only discovered a few years ago.  The cave system is also home to the subterranean River Styx (seriously!), and has over 14 miles of explored passageways (with more left to explore).  However, don’t worry, we are not sending you potholing,  We are not that cruel and I think our insurance company might take issue.  You will pass through the huge cave mouth and entrance cavern, then travel along a dimly lit passage (head torch recommended), and down some rough cut steps, in total about 2 or 3 minutes deeper into the cave where you must then locate the Hades checkpoint.  However that is not all, you must also take ‘something’ from the cave and bring it to the HQ.  We will reveal what, another time.  If you or your family want to explore the cave before, later in the weekend, or at a later date then we have arranged a discount with the owners that we will pass on to you soon. 

The Gristone Grind

Taking place on September 8th, this is the latest addition to the Beyond Marathon ultras.  Hopefully you’ve signed up looking for a good value, solid, well-signed 35 mile ultra, without all the bells and whistles.  As usual this race will feature a high degree of attention to detail and thorough organisation that Beyond Marathon are known for.  Places were only put on sale yesterday, and already there are only 38 left.  As this is a linear race, we will be providing coach transport to the start, allowing you to leave your vehicle at the HQ.  The number of people we can transport restricts the race entry limit, so we expect demand will outstrip supply for this event quite soon.   The Gritstone Trail takes in some of the best views in Cheshire, and though there are a few hills to tackle along the way, the navigation is fairly easy as the whole trail is waymarked.  You will be allowed to use your sportident card for free if you already own one, you can rent one for £3 or you can use a manual self clip and forgo the timing splits; you can choose.  There are 3 planned CPs along the route roughly every 8-9 miles.  If the day is particularly hot (we can only hope) then we may drop interim water points in, but knowing the British weather this probably won’t be necessary.  We will send you more details over the coming months on this event, which we think is going to become a firm favourite due to it’s no nonsense simplicity; the Gritstone Trail, in a day.  We’re curious to see what the new course record is going to be; any guesses? 

Dusk til Dawn (October)

Still a long time away, but it creeps up on you (like the Grim Sweeper).   It’s great to have so many of you back and great to welcome so many new people. The successful race format will remain unchanged, but with a few tweaks from the feedback we got last year.  The route is slightly different to 2012.  After Windgather Rocks we are in the process of obtaining permission to cross a short section of private land .  You head North across a private field, and then head East to join the footpath that emerges next to Taxal Church.  This is a slightly faster route, easier underfoot, especially at night.  Please remember that permission will only been obtained for the event.  If you want to recce the short section, then please ask permission at the nearby Black Hillgate farm. CP3 is also going to be sheltered, hooray- I hear you say!

The other change for 2013 is the medals.  I’m sure you’ve read all about them on the website; there are a few colours.  Getting your hands on a bronze is tough enough, as finishing a 50 mile night race in a little more than 14 hours is a task in itself.  Getting a silver, black or grey medal will require an increasingly superhuman effort.  Regardless, you will be congratulated if you make CP1 or finish the race.  The entry limit is 120 there will be 120 medals produced.  We want to see you all on the finish line, on your knees if needs be.

We have a few names down with interest to do recces.  It’s likely that Wendy, or another member of the team will lead the recces this year.  You may remember Richard lead most recces last year but has a suspected pelvic stress fracture.  Don’t worry, it only hurts when he walks, runs or sits down (or goes shopping -according to Wendy).   The lesson here is don’t you injure yourselves.  Train smart, and don’t run junk-miles.  We will keep you posted on recce dates soon. Drop us a line if you want adding to the list.

There is still time to register for the daylight version of the race (Dusk til Dawn: Sunlight) in May, and stake your claim for the exclusive Double Finish medal, if you have not done so already. You will get to see the course in the ‘warm’ light of day albeit running in the opposite direction.  We’ve also listened to your feedback on the artwork and final medal designs and they are in production as we speak.  The dyes have been cast!

About the Author: richard

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