GUCR 2022 DNF but a valuable and useful technology test, so I don't feel too bad about it. Psychologically that is, physically I'm f***ed.

I wasn't going to do this race, after the disappointing race back in January I cancelled all plans and ideas for the year.


in the month or so before I was feeling pretty good and fit*, and I'd got a place, and a hotel room booked, it seemed silly to not at least make a start? After a chat to Alex and Wendy Whearity I felt a lot more positive about taking part, and at the start I saw so many friends and familiar faces it was definitely worth it.

(* relatively speaking - I'm getting tendonitis in my ankle treated but that *was* behaving, and I seemed to have recovered enough from last year's shoulder surgery to start swimming again after a couple of years break. so heh - if I fell in the canal I'd be able to swim ok.)

Like a Duracell bunny

The tracker worked beautifully, still having 74% battery remaining when the human part of the project had dropped to zero after 24 hours of running. It will be good to work out actual full runtime, the charge won't be linear so it's not going to be 4 days but certainly more than a couple, and currently the code doesn't try particularly hard to save power (it's constantly reading all the sensors, ANT and Bluetooth, storing GPS every 10 seconds and uploading every minute)

The trace to view is superb with no missing data, jumps or breaks, I'd even added a "current pace" detail a couple of days beforehand which was spot on and useful to show.

Water water

The "real world" use of the fluid monitor highlighted a rather fundamental and stupid design flaw. 🤦
It had worked with an accuracy within 1% of measured amounts in the kitchen test scenarios and  it seemed just fine with a short test walk.

This is/was the existing setup:

So... during running even though no water is being drawn up the tube, the volume of water in the bag "slushes" causing the fluid in the vertical pipe to oscillate up and down, the sensor only detects "out" flow so, as you run the numbers gently tick up and up. doh.

Anyway, that should be a simple fix, I'll mount the monitor horizontally, install a non-return value and perhaps move it higher up. oh well. beta version.

I also installed a larger battery in the water monitor just to make sure it lasted, but a thorough run-down test  would be useful to work out the actual requirements since the unit is a little larger than I'd like.

Heads up

The next new feature for this run was using a watch as a "heads up display" for the tracker, this was really cool on the day, (apart from the inaccurate fluid data) I could see the time, my distance, pace, heartrate and blood sugar level.
Potentially I could get it doing other stuff also, it could display the body temperature (although I didn't go long enough for that to be particularly interesting) but might be a handy way to display the course direction or warn if I'm going off route.

Data fest

The glucose monitoring was fascinating and a useful addition to spot when I hadn't been eating enough. To be fair generally I knew when I wasn't taking enough, e.g. when I was feeling sick and couldn't stomach taking anything, but it was handy to see and a useful reminder that I needed to deal with it. Watching the numbers climb after taking on a gel or pringles was also interesting to see what gave the biggest impact and how quickly. The data also makes it clear I needed to have taken on more before the start, perhaps also the day before.

Glancing at my wrist it was handy to spot the warnings and make a conscious effort to eat, will be good to take more notes in future to see how quickly different carbs are taken on and how long they last. The Maurten were interesting showing a good sudden hit (and decline) with the full effect taking an hour.

The heart rate data is pretty much as to be expected showing a nice steady level while running along, pretty low and "choppy" through all the walking/slow phase, but also with a crazy peak when I was in considerable pain and trying to keep going near the end, and I checked the stored data, that is valid.

The "moving pace" graph doesn't really do justice here but you can see the nice steady start then the graceful decline.

and The Running?

Enough data. What happened? How was it? Where did it all go wrong?

Well as mentioned, I wasn't really in the shape to do this to start with, training hadn't been sufficient and I had a bit of an injury, but the weather was good and I fancied a run. I was also really looking forward to seeing people and geeking out with the technology I had.

I intended to start off very steady and keep it that way. To manage this I was one of the last off the line and I intentionally pottered along (the slow 20m/m average for the first five minutes show above)

I took a few pictures, tweeted occasionally and was settled in for the long haul.

Quiet the night before, to be filled with a colourful rabble on the day.

After midday and I've got considerable pain in my shoulder, after the surgery last year it had been progressing well and I'd started light training and some swimming without trouble. However, the combination of swinging it  when running along with the weight of a backpack pressing down has triggered something and it's tear inducingly painful
I figure out a way to shuffle my bag around to hold my arm still while I run and get into a manageable routine.

Salomon running sling.

As the heat increased through the afternoon, there was only one thing to do... the mandatory Calippo!

Callipo with the colour coordinated "race nails".

Crewing duties were being carried out faultlessly by Cara and Hugo throughout the day, after a long solo starting stretch we were meeting up every 5 miles or so, which was just about right.

Top crewing - and mistaken as a checkpoint by runners a few times! 😀

Then as the afternoon wore on, through the heat, I started to feel the pain from my heel tendonitis getting steadily worse. As in - worse to unbearable, but I was still determined to keep going and had every intention of walking all the way if necessary.
It was a joy to be joined by my fresh faced "buddy runner" (aka the long suffering Cara) at mile 85 and at 1am, I assume I was fresh-faced, cheerful and upbeat all the way too!

But by now it was getting increasingly difficult to keep moving at all, and it was now at a point where just walking was taking a massive effort. Just standing still or leaning against a fence or wall was considerably more appealing, but each time I got a stern reprimand.

By 95 miles it was time to decide when we met Hugo again, we had a quick chat about whether I wanted to roll over the 100 mark before stopping, but I think my exact words were:
"I expect I just about could but what's the fucking point, it's just a fucking number"
(there may have been additional swearing) 
Since it was clear I certainly wouldn't be getting to the finish, there seemed little point it furthering the suffering without a decent/sane reason, so it was time to phone in the DNF. 

Had I know the comments would be logged and recorded on the GUCR page I'd have come up with something significantly more interesting than "legs gone", but there you go.

Running sucks.

Does anyone want any (extremely heavily used, worn and repaired) running kit? I've got a load I don't need  anymore now.


A few random pictures from along the way. For the most part it was a really nice long run with lots of lovely scenery and friendly faces.



Two tunnels.

I'm glad I didn't Google this at the time, the details are heartbreaking.


  1. Sounds like a proper suffer fest. Hope your injuries settle down and you get your running mojo back at some point.


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