The ONER Ultra Trail Run

How hard can it be...?

Anthony Gerundini AKA 'TC' has completed a Deca, Quin, 91 Ironman distance events, 9 Double Irons, 171 marathons inc. 53 Ultras.
And if that hasn't impressed you enough he won the Enduroman Deca, Quin and The Brutal Double twice!

Here's his advice on finishing the ONER...

This long established legendary 'must do' #bucketlist Ultra is 'only' 80 miles across the spectacular Jurassic Coast - the entire length of Dorset, but believe me, given the terrain it's more like a hundred in terms of effort. However in some ways the hilly nature makes it 'easy'. Eh?? Well unless you've got the talent and mojo and sheer energy to run the whole thing none stop (has anyone??) then you are going to have to make some compromises to be clever with how you spend that valuable finite energy, and how you try to top it up. With something this long and arduous it's definitely a case of playing the Long Game. If you're stupid then you will initially try 'running' up the hills, badly, and at huge effort, all for the short-term gain. I guarantee you will end up stuffed by half way, feeling awful, quads and calves screaming, energy levels irredeemably depleted, and facing a slow painful trudge dropping places to the finish. Assuming you don't DNF!

One thing I've learned on Ultra Distance triathlon and running over a certain time or distance, or if it's particularly hilly, is that a Run Walk strategy definitely pays off with a faster overall finish. It's much more pleasurable too, since the early walk breaks have the effect that you just don't fade as much nearer the finish, and can sustain a pleasant pace for longer. You are much less likely to hit rock bottom, which is a joyless experience, painfully throwing away twice-fold any gains you thought you'd made early on. On many a double ironman on multi laps I have run my last laps as fast as my first, in fact consistent right through, on a Run Walk strategy, and still posting the fastest run split of anyone simply by running 'Clever', despite not being the fastest runner on paper at say a Marathon distance. To illustrate this, I recall one time about five laps from the end I thought I'd try and speed up and extend the amount of running vs walking. Big mistake! I was a paltry 15 secs a lap quicker per 10 min lap, but tellingly, I was flagging as the small extra effort felt really hard, and I couldn't sustain it at all. Just going into a slightly unsustainable red zone for 2 laps illustrated just how foolish it was to think I could 'push'. The moral is: On a long race if you Push, the race will Push back twice as hard later on.

So the hill's on The ONER are THE guilt-free opportunity to rest and recover, get some fuel and water in, faff with your corset, get your HR and temperature down etc etc, and generally set yourself up for the flat and downhill sections. This is where it's economical to cruise faster and invest some energy and run stronger, and for longer. You will be begging for the next Hill so you can take a break. When I say Walk I actually mean PowerWalk. Fast. Swing your arms. You can powerwalk up a hill at ~75-85% of the speed of trying to 'run' up it very badly, but you are getting loads of recovery to your run muscles and general well being. This hilly course naturally lends itself to avoiding the mistake that is too easy to make on a flat course of running too far early on with no break which just results in running yourself into the ground, eventually reduced to a plod if you're lucky.

This course is so tough that I recommend that you powerwalk up anything resembling an uphill, or if the going is technical e.g. too muddy or rocky. Do this right from the start. It's an investment and you'll need to have confidence in your strategy as you watch others (the Fools!) zoom off early on.

Another tip is to run 'lazy'. By this I mean economically. Little knee lift, frankly the minimum effort needed to cruise at an easy pace. Any downhills you absolutely float down with zero energy used, just coasting. Do this and you'll be amazed that you can run literally all day. Never be tempted to go into any red zone, just steady steady be it on feel or HR.

So what to eat when your power walking up the hills? Things that work for me are snack size Mars bars, or if you can't stomach that, Milky Ways or cake bars (Boost) are a nice balance of something sweet and full of energy, but are also solid enough to feel like 'real food', while still being light enough to digest easily. Energy gels are discredited as not being 'real food' but these have their place if used in moderation, provided you don't make the mistake of washing them down with energy drink too, which will overload your stomach with sweetness.

Drink? I recommend electrolyte tablets like Nuun or Zero etc. Easy to carry and makes your water isotonic (slightly salty) AND tasty, handy for those like me who don't feel the urge to drink much. Or carry a few sachets of Energy powder like GlycoSource from Science Fitness, and mix one or half in to your bottle when you top up with water at Checkpoints.

Navigation - if you keep your wits about you, it's not too bad. Keep the sea to your right! and you shouldn't go far wrong but it can be surprisingly deceptive, I recall going off piste before Kimmeridge as I didn't drop down off the high main path correctly, VERY ANNOYING! Recceing the route in 3 or 4 sections has got to be a great excuse for spending time in this superb area anyway. Use the bus ;-)

The race starts off nice and late at the relaxed time of noon on Saturday, which is great as you can get a decent nights sleep in, handy when you are going to be running through the night. Or gives you the option to travel in on the morning if necessary reducing accom costs.

Can you finish?

The ONER Race Report

By 2014 finisher - Mark Miller

After only a year and a half of starting ultra running, Mark Miller took on the ONER and finished 11th in 21:32

>Read Mark's write-up here...

The ONER 16 week training plan

>Download here...
Training Zone Definitions explained HERE

The ULTRAmarathon Running Store are supporting the ONER and supplying the winner's prizes

You will also receive a 15% discount code when you enter.

The ONER film

This was made in April 2013 and shows just what it takes to complete the mother of all ultra trail runs!