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Cape Wrath Ultra training - a must read ~Conall Platts

  • Sure, get fit, do miles and back to back miles, but DEFINITELY get training on CWU terrain. Tussocks. Bogs. Rocky Mountain passes. River crossings. Get those quads and ankles terrain ready

  • There’s a lot of steep hill climbing. Build your climbing strength and your confidence. I did hours and hours on a treadmill at max elevation at my max possible walking speed. I was so grateful for having put those hours in

  • The converse is also true; build downhill strength, speed and confidence. I lost so much time dithering down hills. Not helped by shattered ankles from not having done 1 (despite Kerry’s advice)!

  • You’d be hard pushed to complete CWU without poles. Aside from figuring out all the faff of assembling & storing (which CWU will give you plenty of opportunity to practice!), get comfortable using poles. They are invaluable

  • Self management won’t win you CWU but it’ll prevent you failing for no good reason. Figure out a routine which works for you and stick to it. It’ll probably be some variant on eat, wash, sort feet (taping and elevation), stretch, pack bag for next day, eat, sleep

  • Kit. This was definitely a concern of mine before. 1 bag. Strictly measured bag weight. Strict rules on mandatory items. The tip here is ‘follow the rules - they check and enforce them to the letter’ I took 2x more food than I needed. 1 didn’t need a second pair of the same shoes, variety would have been better, spares poles would have been smart, crocks were great camp shoes as you can wash in them, a portable drying line is a handy thing to have, there the option to charge in the main eating tent, but its no bad idea to have your own charging brick,

  • Running pack. Again, they check random items from the mandatory list EVERY day. And to be fair I totally endorse them insisting on those items. My bag was fit to bursting point once everything was stuffed in. I didn’t do my homework/prep on this. I’d have definitely gone a size bigger if I’d known. Check, do dry runs.

  • I stopped eating meat a while back but I know that for many, CWU only serving Vegan food was stressful. I heard those folk say that they wish they’d done more to prepare themselves for that (i.e. go meat free well in advance)

  • Taping. There are great instructional clip on toe/foot taping on YouTube. Watch and learn!

  • Pre-race foot care. One thing I didn’t know then but know now. Feet soles like leather = bad. The top runners were regularly moisturising their feet. Apparently blisters sandwiched between hard soles and soft foot are not uncommon, are almost impossible to treat and will quickly take you out of the race. Moisturise!

  • I think my final observation is perhaps the most subjective and perhaps the most politically incorrect…. I’ll say it plainly but stop reading here if there is a risk of offence….

  • Don’t be a dick. Very obviously the folk who called time for reasons other than injury had the wrong reasons for doing it, had ego’s screaming at them, were not settled souls. It doesn’t mean that the folk who completed it were the finished article. I just mean that there’s no room for posture, pomp, ego, b.s..


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