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The Hadrians Wall Shuffle - August 2014

posted 11 Nov 2014, 07:57 by Jon Beverley
Nick, Steve and Phil all ran the Hadrians wall long distance path recently.

It wasn’t the fastest run we have ever done but it was the longest (84 miles) and it took a lot of training and planning.

To start with we wanted to run East to West so that we could do the first 14 miles around the Tyne and then look forward to running into the countryside and the wall itself.

This therefore involved a late afternoon 14 miler which was quite nice, along the banks of the Tyne from Wallsend to Heddon on the wall.

The next day was a 28 miler and took in some spectacular scenery, alongside the wall and running the hilltop ridge was quite challenging but dramatic and it was mostly runable.

The second full day continued along the wall in the hills and wound its way down to Crosby on Eden which was 24.5 miles away.

The final  morning involved  running mainly on the flat and around the River Eden which meandered around Carlisle and then onto the estuary and finished at Bowness on Solway which was 18 miles away.  

We carried light bags and scoffed at the walkers with huge bags or walkers paying commercial companies to carry their bags for them.   However we were probably the smelliest tourists on the wall.

We did have one inch of toothpaste and one pair of underpants and one pair of green chinos between us.    We carried only essentials and the bags weighed approximately 2.5kg.

We opted not to run with a lot of water or food and hoped to find cafés or shops on route.  This worked to some extent but we also got hungry at times until we found somewhere for a bacon and egg sarnie!

Speed (Shuffle Rate)

Average pace was hard to measure as there were hundreds of gates and stiles on route as well as stops for route finding and reading about the Romans.

Our average pace was around 13 min miles which we called our ‘Hadrian’s shuffle’

Our fastest mile was mile 70, 9 miles into our last day where we did do a 9 minute mile in the rain.

Culture

We didn’t do much culture at all really.  Our low point was jumping over the fence at Halsteads to take a direct line through the fort rather than going around.

Halsteads is probably one of the most famous forts and we didn’t stop , just ran though the Japanese tourists and avoided paying the entrance fee!

It was hard not to  learn the following facts along the way:

At every mile along the wall are 'Milecastles'

A Roman milecastle is 1.48km

Not only is there a wall, but there is a Vallum and a military way and a ditch ! 

Hadrian's Wall was probably planned when Emperor Hadrian visited Britain in 122

The original plan was for the wall to have a broad base (2m) but later on this was changed and much of the wall is narrower (this was our favorite fact)

Diet

We kept a strict athletic diet and consulted a lot of dietitians and sports psychologists to come up with the best way to achieve our goals.

1.       Visualisation.  This was important and meant we just imagined we could do this without thinking too hard about the following days pain.

2.       Sports drinks.  This was an important aspect and we didn’t take any !   

3.       Beer.  A minimum of 3 pints a night was deemed necessary.   Nick did break this rule unfortunately and had wine as well.  Phil did cheat one night and have a shandy.

4.       Pasta.  This is an important food for carbo loading.  We didn’t have any.

5.       Chips.  We had chips with everything where possible.

6.       Tomato Ketchup.  Nick used this as  a super food.

7.       Fried breakfasts.  Steve managed to run the last day on a full fry up with black pudding, 20 mins before running.  This worked very well.

8.       Mushrooms. We all agreed they made us burp too much on the run.

Amazing fact

We had no blisters on our feet at all on route which was probably due to the fact that we are old and wrinkled with lots of dried skin.

Nick and Phil actually on the Wall

Relaxing after a 'sort of' hard days run!

Report by Steve Plackett
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