Monday, 22 October 2012

The Brutal by Derek Boothby

Another of our intrepid Brutal athletes has submitted his Race Report for us to share - read on and enjoy!

First of all I need to thank Katy, Morgan and Charlotte who have had to put up

with me disappearing for hours on end to train for this race and also the week

before when my nerves were becoming a bit on edge with the realisation of

what I had set myself up for.


Thanks also has to go to Chris for the training plan which got me to the start

line and round to the finish, plus the support all day and on the final leg up

and down Snowdon. Tom was a great help in being a kit man and sorting out

digs for the night before and Ian for turning up and joining me on the last lake

lap and trekking up Snowdon with me and Chris at the end.


The day started out clear and cold (frost on ground) and in the dark at 5am

as I loaded up the bike with food (too much it later turned out) before heading

into the heated tent to set up transition bags. The two hours before race

start disappeared very quickly and it wasn’t long before I was stepping into

the mist covered lake at 7am (just getting light) which was at 13 – 14°C and

given the low air temperature did not feel too cold.
The first lap of the swim was spent hopping from pod to pod of middle distance swimmers to try
and conserve energy for the second lap which I knew would be swum pretty much

in isolation due to the lower numbers of competitors in the full and double

(insane) races. Due to mirrored glasses I could not see too well on the first

lap as the light levels were still quite low and just followed the feet of the

swimmers in front. I exited the first lap feeling good and warm and begun the

second lap. Due to the lower numbers of swimmers the lake was now like a

mill pond due to the lack of wind, as I turned the top buoy to head for the swim

exit the sun had come up quite a way (glad now for the mirrored glasses!) and

was silhouetting the mountains at the end of the valley and made for the most

amazing sight every time I lifted my head to sight. I exited the swim feeling

pretty good and headed off down the field (still with frost on!) to the nice,

warm tent to get changed for the bike leg. In the tent marshals were handing

out warm drinks whilst you dried off, so a few minutes later now dry and in

bike gear and with a cup of tea inside me it was off to start the bike leg, with

Sam doing an excellent job on the bike exit stopping traffic.


The first lap on the bike was still quite cold as due to shade in the valleys and

from trees, etc but the spectacular scenery took my mind off the hills and cold.

The long climb up to Pen-y-Pas was not as bad as I had thought, just a case

of getting in the correct gear and keeping a steady pace all the way to the top

before the descent into Llanberis. The first two descents were disrupted by

traffic, the third was ok except for the traffic light in Nant Peris being red, but

the last descent was brilliant, no moving traffic, traffic light on green and being

able to sweep around bends with out fear of hitting something was great and

meant that I reached transition with my legs having had a nice rest on the way

down. Overall I was pleased with the bike, but did have to adjust my nutrition

as the gels started to affect my stomach and give me a headache, so I had to

lay off them for a while and rely on my other forms of nutrition – a sausage roll

and flapjacks.


The run started off with three 5 mile-ish laps of Llyn Padarn, which included a

climb after about 2 miles, which I had decided before the race I was going to

walk up to rest the legs for Snowdon. This strategy worked pretty well as the

legs felt strong and with the aid station being just after the top of the hill gave

chance for a short rest for some cake and water. Ian joined me for the last lap,

which seemed to go quicker than the previous two.


After the lake laps it was then back into transition to pick up Chris and

mountain kit and head up to Snowdon. Ian also went to grab his mountain kit

and joined us for the last leg. This again was always going to be walked and

we kept a good pace, stopping for a minute to speak to Matty Roberts from

Eryri. At the last bridge under the railway it was getting a bit chilly so extra

layers were donned for the last push. The view from the summit was amazing

with Llanberis lit up below and a steady stream of headlamps lighting up the

path below.


After punching my wristband at the summit (whilst Ian wound up some fellow

competitors) it was time for a brief check-in with the medics at Bwlch Glas,

and off down the hill I went.

Even though I had now reached the point that finishing was priority I wanted

to put some distance between me and the runners behind so began running

the less technical areas of the path as my legs felt surprisingly good. After

Halfway House on the way down however my racing instincts got the better

of me when I saw two other runners just ahead and set off after them, with

Chris reminding me not to take any risks as I was catching them, which we did

and carried on to put distance between us when I could. We finally got off the

mountain path and onto the final bit of tarmac into Llanberis when we heard

the gate behind us open with another runner and his support bearing down

on us. At this point the pace really picked up as we rattled down the steep

tarmac, blocking the way for those behind us, I was finally caught just as it

flattened out, but managed to kick again and go past them, before Ian pulled

alongside to pick up the pace, followed by Chris who just told us to keep going

until we heard behind us “I’m not keeping up with that F*****G pace!” which

pretty much meant the pressure was off and it was onto the main road by the

train station and then across to the finish and slump into a chair whilst I was

fed cake.


All in all it was an amazing race, which was helped by the glorious weather

and having a fantastic support crew, especially for the unexpected sprint finish

at the end!



Monday, 8 October 2012

The Brutal - A Race Report

The weekend of 22nd September saw a group of intrepid athletes take on our latest challenge - The Brutal. The name of the challenge gives a hint as to the nature of the challenge; a long distance triathlon set in the heart of Llanberis in North Wales. Here follows one of our challenger's race Report!

Dave Parker - Double Ironman

The alarm sounds, it’s 5.30 and freezing! That’s ok; I’ve planned for it, extra thick suit with vest, surf hat and thick gloves. Don’t worry about it making me slow, I only want to avoid the cut off. Down to the water, quick chat with some other competitors, cuddle from the boss and we’re off!


What a beautiful place to swim, mist rolling on the water and mountains for backdrop. Start as I mean to go on, nice and steady, control the breathing and concentrate on the stroke. There’s a group going my speed, green hats, doing the full, find some feet to follow and settle in. First lap seems to fly by, out of the water for a quick drink of tea but don’t want to lose my pals so straight back to work. We’re starting to spread out now so just do my own thing on the return leg, might as well get used to it. Out again for tea, what a great Idea, why don’t they have it at all races? There’s nobody anywhere near now but that’s OK I’m still on target, only two and a half miles to go. Feel like royalty on last laps, two lovely canoeists for company and not a ripple on the water, sun getting warm and I’m doing the Double!


Glad that’s done, the cut off was always going to be close for me but I’m ten minutes up on schedule as I go into transition. I couldn’t get a seat in the bloody tent at 6.30 now it’s deserted. Take my time getting ready, full cycling kit as planned, with a nice thick jacket for the first lap so I can warm up. Pockets full of flapjack, a pasty to eat on the way and off we go, 11am and I’m 10 minutes up. 225 miles and 16500 feet of climbing to go, that’s OK, I’ve planned for it. No tri bars, just twiddle along, enjoy the scenery and eat. First lap just ease into the rhythm, see how the legs feel after my long taper and prepare for the day ahead.

First lap feels ridiculously easy, but I’ve got a plan and I’m going to stick to it, so into the transition lay-by for my Bacon and Egg butty and a mug of tea! Two laps straight through now, same tempo, have given myself 2.15 per lap during daylight and I’m cruising. Get some great company on each lap from Jeff and then Richard who are interested in what’s going on and happy to go at my slow pace for a chat. Have to call in at ground control before 4th lap to fill up with flapjack and grab a sausage roll, happy to see my support  team has shown up (my kids and their partners), just one more lap before tea.


Halfway there, 7.20pm, eating a lovely curry while my bike gets its lights put on. Dark is closing in and the temperature is dropping quickly, that’s OK I’ve planned for it. On with all my winter clothes and off with all four of my support in the car, leaving the boss for a well earned rest, after she’s washed up. The plan was for them to alternate cars with two in each so they got a rest, but they’re having so much fun that they all spend the whole night with me! After a bit of practice we fall into a routine of them waiting 15 minutes, passing me to pull in at earliest point giving a silent cheer as I go past and repeat. I have given myself 2.30 during the night and it flows by without a problem, plus after midnight I start to catch and pass people, I have no Idea what position I’m in. Finish bike at 0540, twenty minutes up on schedule and fresh as a daisy, practicing riding through the night has really paid off.


Grab some cereal and coffee then off for the run, this is where I find out if the training has worked. Get two laps done before we have to go up Snowdon and it’s not as bad as I expected, actually making up time, meanwhile my poor lad has to get up after only a couple of hours to go with me. I walk the whole way up as planned, eating as many pasties, chocolate bars and flapjack as I can manage. Then walk and jog down, meeting a few mates on way who have come between nights to support, it gives me a real boost.


Bacon and eggs for breakfast, a very steady lap with my pal to get my legs back, then it’s in with the earphones and down to work. Start to pound out the distance, have a break at the feed station with the best two helpers in the world ever, still don’t know their names, and feel the miles pass. Don’t know what has happened but have moved up to second and I’m flying! Force out a fast seventh lap just because I want to, then a cruise to the finish trying to thank as many people as possible. Can’t believe I’ve done it!! Just over 36 hours and nearly 5 in front of schedule, nearly all made up on the run. Not bad for an old lad. Thanks Claire, Brian and all at Brutal. The rest of you know who you are.

If this has wetted your appetite to take on a challenge far greater than you have ever done visit here for details of our 2013 events!!
Midnight Mountain Marathon - 29th June 2013
The Pig Ultra Duathlon, Llanfighangel-y-Pennant, Gwynedd - 14th July 2013
Smugglers Run, 24 hour Endurance Race, Swanage, Dorset - 31st August 2013
The Brutal Extreme Triathlon, Llanberis, Snowdon - 21st September 2013

Monday, 1 October 2012

London to Paris Poem

One of the Clients on our London to Paris Charity Challenge in aid of Child Bereavement wrote this poem for us. We felt it worth sharing!

Early in 2012

Lou & Paul began to delve 

To friends who like a challenge

A cycle ride from London to Paris

Was scheduled for September 14th

Training got going in early March

A heavy night before you were left rather parched!

Wednesday night we trained 20 miles

Back to the pub with plenty of smiles

Road bikes & Lycra were purchased in mass

The task ahead we'll have a sore 


Crystal place was our starting point

Eager to start forget the joints

The charity Child Bereavement is such a worthy cause

Fran unfortunately wrapped her knee in gauze 

After 60 miles we reached Newhaven, some of the girls wished they had shaven.

When we reached the ferry it was heavy going

All were tired it sure was showing

We got to bed at half past four

B4 u knew it, it was time to do more!

2nd day,  a 50 mile cruise

My god we felt the bruise....

We ate more food & time for sleep 

Bloody fire alarm what a beep

Early start before the dawn

So cold we longed to be warm

We pedalled on throughout the day

Our destination was just past 

St Germais

One mile to go

2 by 2

We past Eiffel tower what a view

Into the last straight with all a sore Haris

We had finally made it from London to Paris