Finishing an 80km Ultra Run In The Oslo Ecotrail
As part of my goals for 2017, I have signed up to complete an ultra run for my physical challenges goal. The race is called the Oslo Ecotrail, and will be in Oslo, Norway. There are various distances that you can sign up to, starting from a 10km, right up to an 80km route, the one which I will be undertaking.
Sure, I may have only completed two 5km races, and one half marathon previously, so some may think I’m a bit mad for diving into an 80km ultra run given my lack of experience, but I feel this challenge is going to be more mentally demanding than physical. Of course it’s going to be tough going on my body but I think that I have the mental strength to persevere through the hours of running monotony… and I’m kind of interested to see how my body reacts 🙂
Training, equipment and food
I have done a few “long distance” test runs in the last few weeks to see how I got on, the longest being 21km and I was fine, maybe a little hungry afterwards 🙂 I purchased a small 8 litre running backpack and a 2 litre platypus water bladder with a bite valve for easy access.
For the food, I tried the gels but I am simply not a fan, they taste awful and I didn’t notice any sugar boost, so I will stick to jelly babies for when I need some quick energy, but I do need to research other more substantial foods as I will be running for upwards of 14 hours.
So what is the Oslo Ecotrail?
The Oslo Ecotrail is a trail race through Oslo’s countryside, with the route being mostly made up of unpaved paths. The route is a single 80km leg with a total of 1900 metres of elevation. The race is to be completed with semi self-sufficiency, with service areas along the way. Each runner must make sure to have sufficient water and food to reach the next service area. The total cut off time is 14 hours and no outside assistance is allowed.
Well, I finished the event, all 80 kilometres worth. I was one second over the cut-off time, but the guy at the finishing line allowed me to accept my medal.
Am I happy I undertook the Oslo Ecotrail event? hell yes! Would I do it again? nope. I just didn’t enjoy it as much as I thought I would. The reason being I thought the trail would be mostly gravel, a few inclines and that’s about it. What I found out was the course was advanced (in my opinion). It was quite technical and I found myself traversing a shit load of boulders, mini swamps, cliffs, rocks etc. Now this is more my fault as I didn’t exactly research the route beforehand; whenever I’m just getting back into my flow of running on solid ground, It wouldn’t last long as there more “obstacles” to pass by. I just wasn’t prepared for this level of trail.
The main thing I enjoyed was taking in the Oslo scenery. I was running through beautiful picturesque mountains, snow covered ones at certain stages too, countless pristine lakes and rivers. The place was exactly what I thought it would be like. At some points, I just sat down and took in the views while eating my food. I would love to come back and hike/camp the next time.
Food and water
Food and water were actually on point for the most part. I had my 2ltr water bladder paired with my 8ltr Karimor backpack. I was eating every 45 minutes or so. The main food I was consuming was this tasty malt loaf, but I had some energy balls, a ham/cheese sandwich, jelly babies (better than any overpriced running gel), bananas and chocolate. The stations had water, sports drinks, soup, waffles, bananas and chocolate too. Maybe next time I would have the food closer to hand as I had to keep taking off my backpack to access my food. I would also try to eat in 20 – 30 minute intervals and with smaller portions.
The course had markers throughout and were fine for the most part, but at some junctions they were non existent. For example, at one stage I came upon a road from the forest and didn’t know if I had to turn left or right as there were no markers anywhere. I think there should be extra markers here following the correct path to avoid mistakes.
So that’s it. I feel immensely satisfied completing this ultra run, but yeah I think thats my ultra running career over with. Now to recover and give my legs some well needed rest.