Archive for the ‘the meaning of life’ Category

A new direction

March 10, 2012

The Gaveller is taking the idea of the Green Man to a wider audience in a fortnight’s time with a walk arranged in conjunction with the Aro Ling Buddhist art and meditation centre. Could be one to take your partner on?

Earthen Spirituality Walk

with Chris Bloor

11am Saturday 24th March

from the Aro Ling Art and Meditation Centre

 127 Gloucester Road,Bristol

The walk will serve as an introduction to the theme

Is Green Buddhism theNaturalState?

which will be presented in a talk by Aro Lamas, Shé-zér Khandro and Namgyal Dorje, at 2pm at Aro Ling


acclaimed environmentalist

Sky McCain

who will be answering questions and signing copies of his new book, “Planet as self”

‘An incisive and most helpful guide for developing an Earth-centred spirituality that is integral and holistic, collaborative rather than competitive, enabling us to become partners and co-creators of Gaia.’

Ursula King, Prof Emerita of Theology andReligiousStudiesUniversityof Bristol

The walk (up to 6 miles) explores Sky McCain’s idea of Earthen Spirituality, which teaches us that we have ‘no need to “go” anywhere to be with the powerful and sustaining spirit of the Earth’ through green spaces accessible from the Gloucester Road. The walk will be timed to get back to the Aro Ling centre in time for the talk. The exact length of the walk will depend on the abilities of participants, who will need appropriate footwear and clothing, and money for refreshments and the bus fair down the Gloucester Road if time gets short.


Inaugural Green Man Ultra

March 4, 2012

The first Green Man Ultra was organised by Steve Worrallo and Ken Shivyer of Ultra Running, starting from Redwood Lodge Country Club. It was to have started from Cotham Rugby Club, but that fell through so these large premises not far down Beggar Bush Lane seemed a good substitute. However, it added quite a distance to the course, and the hall we were allotted seemed too large and draughty by the time the less quick people got back. I was yearning for a log fire and a foaming pint by the time I left in the evening.

At 8am, I set off in a pair of “barefoot” Merrills to keep the competitors company until  Pensford.

This version of the route left out the Green Man’s Head, but I noticed that the views over Bristol were particularly attractive from this angle.

From Colliter’s Brook, the instructions supplied by Ultra Running diverged from the map they had supplied and from the route of the Community Forest Path so people were milling about when I got there. People had found the CFP route away from the path mentioned in the instructions so I encouraged those who had found the CFP to persevere in that direction.

As I was not racing, I was able to pause before each stile of kissing gate to enjoy the view back towards the Suspension Bridge. In Dundry, the map and instructions again diverged. I was with Phillip Howells, who was determined to follow the “official” route, so we went along the escarpment to enjoy the tremendous views across Bristol. I think it is the best view in within 50 miles. Maria Davis said that she would bottle it in her mind to keep her going when things got tougher later on. There was a group of lads from “Community Pay-back” clearing up the rubbish that has disfigured this spot for some time, and I noticed that Adrian Walcott from North Somerset PROW team had installed some kissing gates to improve this section as well.

Across Broad Oak Hill (a well used B-road rather than a lane) the map and instructions again diverged. I followed the map taking a merry band with me. The attraction of this part of the route is the valley of the stream that rises at Maidenhead and runs into the Chew opposite Stanton Drew stone circle. It must have been a sacred stream from time immemorial. As we followed it down from North Wick I noticed how this valley is dominated by the bulk of the Maes Knoll hill fort behind Model Farm.

Beyond Norton Hawkfield, the path has been diverted and seats installed to make the best of the views downwards towards Whistley Wood and Hammerhill Wood, which conceal the junction of the Maidenhead Stream and the Norton Malreward Brook. On the other side Maes Knoll rises above Norton Court.

The first checkpoint was over the brook in Norton Malreward Village Hall, so I made use of the toilets instead of the usual hedge! At this stage I felt I could have carried on for ever, but by the time we had crossed the grass airstrip, I was very glad that I had arranged for Libby to pick me up in Pensford as my knees were beginning to play up, especially after the descent of the stony track down Guy’s Hill to the B3130. My Merrills offered little protection to the stones, but it was actually my calves that were complaining the most as they encouraged me onto the forefoot (which is why I had bought them in the first place.)

I got back to Redwood Lodge with Libby in time to see Darryl Carter take nearly 12 minutes off the record held by Martins Indge and Beale – finishing in 7 hours 8 mins. Martin Indge was hoping to get inside 7 hours, but fell behind when he made a navigational error somewhere between Warmley and Shortwood. Local man Bill Graham scooped the Veteran’s prize, finishing in just over 8 hours and Liz Wiggins took the women’s record in 8 hours 21 mins thanks to sticking with Alex Foster, who knew the course backwards having completed it in December.

Matthew Gilliard was the first to come in accompanied by a dog, having been inspired by Jim Plunkett Cole and Alfie who had run around in about 11 hours in 2009. Matthew was pleased to have taken an hour and a quarter off Jim and Alfie’s time.

It was nice to see old friends Bryan Stadden, Judith Chubb-Whittle and Woodwose I, Chris Smart turning in respectable performances, together with some new faces from Southville running club.

But the most heart warming response was from Sarah Sweeting and Rob Dickson, who had been exporing the course for the past five months and knew it thoroughly. They declared it the best race they had ever done.

My day of redemption in the mud and ice by Neil Banwell

February 13, 2012

My story starts many months ago when my friend told me about The Greenman Challenge. I attempted it in June last year with Mark Beveridge and pulled out at the half way point with ITB problems. So in August, I retried and completed but with nowhere near enough Reccie runs I made a terrible mess of it and eventually got in with Gavellers help in 12hrs 45m, Now anyone who knows me well will tell you that I was never going to be happy with that time.

I was extremely proud to be in the order but at the time being the slowest running Woodwose tortured me on a daily basis, so I set my mind to getting it right, Over the last 6 weeks, I would get up every Sunday at 06.00 and make my way to various points of Bristol to do out and back runs on the sections of greenman, I was enjoying doing this because most sections take in beautiful scenery and are very peaceful (both things I love).

In mid January, I looked at my calendar and looked at what races I had planned for the coming months and with WSM tough ten challenge being on the 19th Feb and Bath Half being early in March I was quite limited to my dates; but it was important to me to get it done before Ultra running’s Greenman Ultra took place so I chose the 12th. This is it no going back, I was aiming for a 9hrs but knew I would be happy with 10 so it was all in place.

The night before I didn’t sleep well and my chest was tight, which is a normal reaction before an important event; but never the less I went to bed early and as a result I woke at 4 am and decided to get up and spent the next hour on the living room floor doing various yoga poses and stretch-offs trying to ensure I was as supple as you can be at that time of the morning. So porridge eaten and coffee drunk, I jumped in the car and made the 25 minute drive to The White Horse at Hambrook to get this show on the road.

It was still pitch black so with head torch on I started the stop watch and the Garmin and set off to fulfil my destiny(this is how I saw it anyway). I got to Patchway in good time and only stopped to update my location on the Blackberry. By now the sun was coming up and I was at Spanorium Hill and knew there was  a reason I did the route this way, because I ran the whole hill with no bother. Then I made it to Blaise again only updating the BB and made my way up along Kings Weston ridge still feeling good and raring to go.

In my reccies I saw Blaise to Greenman as a challenge, if it had been the last section because it is nearly all climbing, but again I ran the whole section without drama until I reached the Downs. As the normal merry go round of Sunday morning runners went about their business, I started to feel very tired and my legs were very tight and, being so early in the course, I felt a little disappointed in myself and wondered if I had trained hard enough. I ate a Snickers bar on the move and carried on and, soon after North Road, I was at Greenman and I stopped with him for a minute or two; because I knew what was coming in the next section and asked for his help, as it was going to get very tough very soon.

As I made my way down through Ashton Court I was actually welling up with tears and feeling very emotional, I don’t know why, but the last time this happened was the first time I ran marathon distance so who knows. I got to the A38 and crossed and gritted my teeth and started the horrible climb. Because the hill was soaked with run off, and not knowing if it wanted to freeze or run, made judging where to step very difficult, and when I crossed Dundry Lane, the rocky path was horrendous as the stream had frozen making it very difficult to climb; but of course I made it to the church on time still happy with my progress.

The next section is normally my pleasure and favourite, but today it nearly broke me, going over the airstrip was awful, and I stopped at the top of the big rocky descent and took some Ibuprofen for my legs.

As I made my way through the bottom fields by the river with the viaduct in view I thought my race was almost over as both my calves were burning up and my tendons felt like they would snap at any moment, and I took a seat on the bench and gave my legs an impromptu massage and ate some of my magic patties (Peanut butter and mashed banana sandwiches with the crusts cut off and cut into mouth size quarters for ease of eating on the move). I could feel the tablets and the massage starting to work and carried on still happy with my progress.

The next section went well and even the Woollard Bull was in another field, so I didn’t have to worry about him, and, before I knew it, I was at the Lock keeper and knew it was going well so gave myself a minute to text Gaveller and update Facebook and take a couple more tablets. My hydration was going well and I judged I would have enough to get me home, as we all know that the minute you lose the option to hydrate it’s all over. I had a 2ltr Camelbak and a Hydro belt with three 170ml bottles on it, one of which had sweet black coffee in it for those ”darker” moments, when a kick up the bum is needed and this I feel was one of my secret weapons on the day.

I made my way along the Dramway Path still moving well but I knew there was pain on its way in the form of Warmley Forest Park and Shortwood Hill, both notoriously wet and muddy, but I surprised myself by keeping an OK pace through them, even though it was near impossible to grip at all through Warmley. I must also take the chance to warn people that as you pass through the horse fields at the bottom of Shortwood there is an electric fence crossing the CFP and the only way to negotiate it is to hurdle it!!! On my reccie through there, I actually got a shock in my undercarriage. I made it to the top of Shortwood and texted Gaveller and he replied “It’s pretty much all downhill from the top” I knew this; but I was 39-40 miles in and tired but I looked at my Garmin and it was maybe 4 miles to destination, I was pumped and went around the quarry and past the fishing lakes picking up masses of mud on my shoes as I went; but then it was back on the road into Kendleshire Golf Club and I knew I was getting very close. Those who know this golf club know there is a little half way café on it and, as I ran past it, I saw the coke machine and coffee machine and wished so much that I had some loose change on me for a can of coke but not this time.

I walked up Park Road and dropped down onto the Frome Valley Footpath, which was so muddy I thought it was a conspiracy against me so close to the end; but as always I dug in and kept moving. I looked at my watch .35 to destination and I looked in the distance and saw Gaveller with camera in hand as I approached him I called out” I can’t stop Chris, I have to get to the car,” which was officially my finish point. In a surreal end to the day I could hear Gaveller running behind me to see me in and I saw my car and that was that.

I turned off the watches and stopped, opened the boot of the car and mixed a recovery shake and chatted with Chris and his wife for ten minutes. I explained my bad points, my nutrition and my amazing shoes and of course I negotiated an update Honourable order of Woodwoses certificate.

Chris commented on how well I looked considering what I had just done, and I can say now that I wouldn’t have wanted to, but I am sure I could have carried on running had it been needed.

In the past year I have come to love the CFP and more so the honourable order of Woodwose and I will share this one piece of advice to anyone that wants to attempt the challenge….. Train hard, research the route until you know it inside out and get your nutrition right, and like I did yesterday, you can also complete all 45 miles without support, and maybe, just maybe, you’ll want to do it again. One last thing, I have looked, and I am sure Gaveller will confirm, but I think I am now the 12th 0r 13th fastest Woodwose, not bad considering I was the slowest six months ago!

Hail all!

Neil Banwell

A Dire Warning from Neil Bryant

December 2, 2011

Hail Gaveller


I read about the CFP a couple of years ago and instantly felt the need to run it all. Time passed and my weekends were filled with races and other challenges. It wasn’t till I saw that there was to be a race on it that the idea was re-ignited. I checked my diary, but was sad to see that I already had a race on that same weekend. That was it I had to run it before the race!

A week later, with as good as zero planning, I was running in the dark up thedeer parkinAshton Courttowards the Green Man which to me was the only place to start. I met the Gaveller and was then off on my way. I believe that I had the speed for getting close to the record, but was quite aware that I really didn’t know the course so was expecting to get lost. An adventure was what I was after!

My first problem came quick when I was still in darkness. Shortly after passing through the two rocks, I entered into the field and before I knew it I had lost the trail and was in a marshland! I crawled under some barbed-wire and soon was back on track. As I approached the church at Dundry I was rewarded with a beautiful sunrise. The going was really muddy but lots of fun, and my progress was pretty good. The section beside the river was really nice and was helping me to decide that this would definitely be a new favourite long training run.

I passed through Keynsham before dropping onto the familiar river footpath, through the field next to the old Cadburys factory, then past the Willsbridge Mill. All completely stunning! Once I got onto the Dramway things got a little confused. After I passed overLondon RoadI lost the signs and confidence that I was travelling on the right path. When I hit a road, I felt pretty sure that I was in the wrong place.I travelled up the road to where I thought I should be and carried on and on running in confused circles, till I returned to the same point discovering that it was in fact the correct place (though I’m still not sure that I had got there in the correct way). I continued for a fair bit further without error, till I approached Lyde Green. I passed under the M4 on a road (it should have been a trail) then continued to get rather confused again! My girlfriend Louise rang me to tell me that she was close on her bicycle. After much running around she discovered me next to the Kendleshire Golf Course. She fed me a still warm pasty before saying goodbye as I entered the golf course back on track. It wasn’t till I was at the 44km point that confusion returned in a vengeance. I crossed over the M4 which I knew was wrong as I should have gone under it, then I followed along a footpath before passing back under the M4. Very lost again! I headed in the direction that seemed to be right and spotted a CFP sign! Back on track again, but not for long! Soon I was walking and trying to work out where I should be going with no joy. The really frustrating thing about this was that I knew where I was but didn’t know where the trail was! The importance of preparation!

After much bumbling around aimlessly Louise found me again and got me back on track in Bradley Stoke. I then was fortunate to have Louise’s company till I got into Aztec West where we had to split again. All went really well as I arrived in Easter Compton as it was getting pretty dark and came out a lane onto the road and there was Lou again! I kept moving back into the dark and switched my torch on. Everything was going well and even though I had made an incredible amount of errors, I was really enjoying myself and was feeling pretty strong. I climbed up Spaniorum hill with a steady run then down the fields the other side. It was really wet but my feet were ok. I had a little pause in Henbury, as I was a little unsure then was on my way again. When I entered the Blaise estate, it was pitch black and I had read about some people having troubles here. Oh dear! I couldn’t find the steps up and ended out on the road, then back in the woods on some exceptionally wet and sloppy trail. Lost but I knew I was going in the right direction! I ended up at some shops. Turned back and went back where I had just come from and soon found where I should have come out of the woods. I headed into the golf course, and from here to the end I had no problems! Amazing, I was really enjoying it.

As I got to theDownsI called the Gaveller and he said he’d meet me at the Green Man. As I was passing over the suspension bridge, Lou caught me up and we arrived at the Green Man together where the Gaveller was there to greet us.

So to conclude my adventure I’d just like to say that if you are considering taking on the fantastic challenge that is the Green Man, I would strongly urge you to not be as foolish as me and actually put some time into doing some recce work, get the correct maps and study them well beforehand. I will now recce the parts of the route that confused me, before trying it again and getting around without getting insanely lost.

Rin’dzin’s feat

September 6, 2011

Rin'dzin's feet after her feat

Thanks to HUGE support on the day from pacers and helpers, I completed the Green Man ahead of schedule and have earned the delightful title of Woodwose no. 49 (that means I’m the 49th person to have completed the 45 mile circuit.)  

As it happens, I covered 49 miles too (48.6, to be precise) as, on the fourth leg, I mislaid my iPhone and backtracked to find it.  Chris, who was running with me, located it in the hands of a friendly fisherman.  It seems I’m the first person to have run the challenge barefoot (in vibrams), so we are going to try to get some publicity for Aro Ling through that. 

I am extremely touched by your generous support, financial and otherwise, and quite overwhelmed by the positive and encouraging response on behalf of Aro Ling.  For those who sponsored me per mile, I don’t expect you to go beyond the 45 miles of the circuit! 

Feet and legs: sore, but no injuries.  A few blisters. 
Weather: perfectly cool and damp, but not wet or slippery for most of the morning.  Uncomfortably hot in the afternoon. 

I’ve attached a picture, for your amusement. 

Stats, for the Geeks among you:

11 hours 25 mins, start to finish 
Minus the iPhone backtrack: 10 hours 45 mins
Moving average 4.9mph
Total ascent 3174ft


My kind sponsors: all of you, thank you very much indeed. 

For guidance in practice, form, remaining present and staying injury free:
Naljorpa Chhi’mèd Kunzang
Lisa Clarke, Alexander Technique teacher
Matt James, Structural Integration massage, Aro Ling

Chris and Libby Bloor and their grandchildren were present the whole day.  Chris ran with me for 5 legs, Libby & kids provided pitstop entertainment and home-grown tomato sandwiches.  Chris plied me with the best pint of orange squash I’ve ever tasted in my life. 

Lawrence, who drove 5 hours from Hull, ran 17 miles, didn’t have time for a shower and drove home 5 hours to North Wales for an early rise the next morning.  

Sunday morning early riser, videographer and post-run masseur: Lekyi
Jill, a marvellous post-run leg massage
Frankie, copious amounts of chocolate, chai, chappattis and love. 

and Métsal, for support all afternoon at the pitstops, car runs and lifts, and the sausage sandwich

and for all your texts and emails of encouragement.  They really did make a difference.   

With much love and gratitude, 


Rindzin’s schedule

August 30, 2011

Here is the timetable for Rindzin’s barefoot attempt on Sunday. I think she could afford to set a slightly quicker pace if there is any one out there who would like to help her? 

I will be joining at Keynsham and her brother will take over at the White Horse in Hambrook.

Sunrise, 6.31
Start (just after 6.30am)
Leg 1, Clifton suspension bridge to Dundry, 5m
07:50, Leg 2, Dundry to Pensford, 5.5m
9.15, Leg 3 Pensford to Keynsham, 5.5m
10.50, Leg 4 Keynsham to Shortwood Hill, 5.5m
12.30, Leg 5 Shortwood Hill to White Horse, 5.75m
14.15, Leg 6 White Horse to Patchway Community College, 5m
15.30, Leg 7 Patchway to Blaise Castle, 6m
17:00, Leg 8 Blaise to suspension bridge, 6m

I am Neil ……I am Woodwose!

August 8, 2011

Woodwose, What is a Woodwose? Well If you ask 99.9% of people in the world I imagine you would get a blank expression thrown back at you, as until earlier this year, I, like most people, had no idea.

A friend of mine knew of my love of ultra distance running and sent me a link to The Green Man challenge and I was intrigued. But I had only just completed theMalvern Hillsultra-Marathon and needed a little recovery. But still I was interested.

I started following Gaveller’s Weblog to see who was taking the challenge and it got to the stage where I was checking it more often than my own Facebook pag., This was bordering obsession and I had to do it; but I had not checked any of the sections so  gave myself little chance of completing it because of navigation and besides I had an I.T. band problems that I just couldn’t shake so it would be foolhardy to even try……

So I messaged Chris Bloor asking if he knew of any aspiring Woodwoses about to take the Challenge?

Mark Beveridge was this man and we made an attempt on June 18th. In short, Mark completed and I pulled out at the half-way stage with the I.T band problem raging away.

 6 weeks later I feel fitter and stronger and ready to go, unsupported as always just carrying enough supplies for the job at hand. I only had one condition…RAIN, if it was raining I would give it a miss as every time I go ultra distance It pours and it makes my life miserable.

As I arrived at Green Man at 05.45 on Saturday morning it was Raining and as I stood there sheltering under the big tree. My audience of largered deerall stared at me as if to say “Are you going to let some rain stop you achieving your dream?” I thought of the 48 that went before me and looked at my watch it said 05.59 moment of truth, do I? Don’t I?

I am stubborn and pressed the start button on my Garmin and off I went. Things look different this time, bushes have grown, grass has grown, 2 trees down on the climb to Dundry church and I was slow for the stage.

Dropping down out of Dundry I was reminded of how privileged we Wodwoses  areas I gazed out overBristolin its entirety. Long way to go.

Reached Pensford with no Drama and made some time back. I didn’t stop at Dundry or Pensford as I know my limits and this distance is well within my range so I plugged on through to Keynsham. For some reason I got a little confused in the park and put a little more  time and energy into it than I needed to.

I got to the Dramway in good shape but as I went along the cycle path I felt the I.T band tighten up so I applied some hot ibuprofen gel on and carried on.

As I reached Siston Common things got sticky, and I admit that one wrong navigational decision and I ended up 3 miles off track, now I am not in the habit of backtracking so I trusted my nose and eventually found the track again but it had cost me lots of time.

From Shortwood Hill it was all new to me as that was where I pulled out on my first attempt.

This seemed to spur me on without prior knowledge I seemed to navigate far better and stayed problem free for a while…….Until Bradley Stoke, need I say I went completely of track here until I re-found the path at 3 Brooks and Savages Wood.

These small errors had cost me any chance of putting in a respectable time as I had already added 5 miles to the track, but by this time becoming a Woodwose was far more important than being fast, this was much deeper than speed over ground this was about Beating the challenge.

As I crossed the M5 at Aztec West I got a call from Chris and he said he was going t meet me and run me in the remaining 11 miles or so.

He met me in a field somewhere…anywhere…nowhere. It didn’t matter, all it meant was I didn’t need to look at directions and maps anymore.

We jogged on as far as Spaniorum Hill and Chris said maybe I should choose the pace for this. Good choice Chris.

We still jogged and by this time I was showing 45 miles and I should have finished by now. 11 hrs 20 minutes. That would of done me, but we still had to complete Blaize to Green Man, “How far ?” I asked Chris “10k “ he replied.

To far for my legs on this day and I had to walk the last section, we broke into the occasional shuffle but nothing of any meaning. As I overlooked The Bridge I felt a new wave of energy but isn’t that always the way. I can’t run anymore today, the 12 hrs have been and gone and all I want is to keep a promise I made to The Green Man 12 hrs and 44 minutes earlier.

I arrived at the same spot I had overlooked all those hours ago and it was still raining, the Deer had gone but I had changed, I had achieved a dream and became a Woodwose. If I’m right number 49.

I am in a group of people that numbers only 49 in the world.

This is special and I am happy to have taken one day out of my life to join this club.

I am proud of all my racing medals and on a good day I can run a 1.43 half marathon, I have 4 titanium screws in my back, 3 in my shoulder and always run with my heart.

Poem for the day – two – August 7th

August 8, 2011

Life’s honouring-deeds we start and do not do –

I know, I know that these are counted too.

The flowers that do not come to flower

but drop to earth and lose their power,

the rivers that run dry in desert, never to renew

I know, I know that these are counted too.


Today’s intentions that are not seen through,

I know, I know that these are not untrue.

All my deeds so long delayed

all the tunes I have not played

sound out on your bina’s strings, all performed by you.

I know, I know that these are counted too.

Rabindranath Tagore 1861 -1941

translated by Joe Winter

I, on the other hand, am not so sure!

Woodwose XLV – in retrospect

August 7, 2011

It’s over. 11hr59’37. 23 under – plenty, in the end [**]. Jordan’s number. Gate’s still locked. No Chris. Text him – record the time

And it began 12 hours ago, in the rain with Chris Bloor and Neil Banwell, Green Man visible through the locked deer park gate, at Ashton Court

Finished a few minutes ago. Feel ok, a bit thirsty. Lovely evening …||… Finished 20min ago. Back at car. Raging thirst. Trying to ignore it. Can’t wait much longer for Chris  …||…  Finished 30min ago. Chris has snacks, but I don’t feel like swallowing, and spit them out. Is he interested in today’s events, or just trying to gauge my
state? – doesn’t matter. Can tell I’m slurring, and stomach keeps cramping. Will get worse staying here – need to get home

Or did it begin in February, with a conversation during Moti’s Green Man attempt?

Been home an hour or so. Had a cup of tea, shower and pizza, and feeling fine. Think I’ll stay in though

Actually, I meant to do the Green Man Challenge in 2010, but instead had to address the possibility of permanent running retirement. And I’d been asking Moti about it for a couple of years before that, to apparent disinterest, since Chris’s talk/run at their “Off-Road Day”. Moti and its staff were a key reason I began running though, opening in Bristol as I was reading Karnazes’ book, and for a long time I’d labelled the Green Man Challenge as both a physical and group event

It’s afternoon and the sun’s out. Only aware of distance and time in a very general sense. Neil’s gone [***], and the navigation’s feeling more natural, so I’m mostly ‘in the moment’, with the surroundings and some passing thoughts. The city’s noise enfolds me, changing with location and time of day. Why do so many runners block this out?

“Forest of Avon” still seems largely an oxymoron, but a great statement of intent. Oddly, the sense of ‘treeness’ and greenery has actually felt stronger where it’s more unexpected, following a narrow green corridor, entwined with the built environment, and I’ve enjoyed those sections. Today’s early (rural) stages I did with Moti in February : more attractive now, though long grass and nettles/brambles made it harder work, but their ‘familiarity’ (despite wrong turns) made them less interesting than others

When you see a bridge over a familiar motorway – a 4/6-lane slice of an orthogonal world – do you wonder who uses it, and what’s beyond each end? I just crossed one of those over M5, (after smacking my shin on a “cycle trap” – won’t forget what that is, nor “kg”). I’m in that world and I’m reminded for the nth time today of Will Self’s psychogeography pieces (which I didn’t really ‘get’) and hazy fragments of a radio programme about “A Walk Around the M25” [Iain Sinclair]. This is more what the Challenge has become about for me over the past year: discovery, identity, and a greater sense of the place I choose to live, not bound by predictable routes and views …though it is still coloured by others’ bias, with their choice of significant landmarks (in instructions and maps). Today is about the journey, not the destination (time) …which is apposite, given its circularity

Very aware of the cutoff now. Missing instructions – but got to Blaise.
Time tight – but think surprises are over. Terrain unfamiliar – tracklog a
simple shape. “Middle path” downhill too far left? Tracklog different?
Trust the instructions. No forks to work me right. Up&down the side slope,
versus fallen trees and brambles. Always can’t-quite-force-my-way-through
thick hedge at the top. Wasting time. Tumbling, sliding, mud all up my
back. Had to get out, quickly, anywhere. And here I am. Back on pavement
and in sight of the proper exit. Ready for a last effort

It’s not about a goal that’s worth the pain – it’s reaching a level of pain that makes the goal worthy” — Rich Roll

Nearly finished. Having to push hard [**], today’s fastest miles, HR over 160. Can’t stop taking walk breaks though – central governor or MTFU? Heh – channelled some G, there. You’ve got yourself back in a position to do this – failure is simply your choice. This cutoff does matter. The goal will be worthy. It’s uphill. Need a little cushion –
may have to dodge traffic at the top. Wonder if Chris is there

Finished yesterday. Knees are a bit tender down steep hills, but nothing like the soreness I get after a marathon at full pace, nor even a half.
The bike GPS I carried yesterday won’t divulge even the part that I got it working for, so at the moment my only record is the overall time and splits for the first 12 miles. A bit disappointing …but also fitting, in a good way

Finished just over a week ago. First post-Challenge run was this evening and sense of pace was a bit distorted. Still have remnants of the cold, but need to start main training bloc now. Then off-road training this winter, for next year’s X-Man, so maybe help some friends take on the Green Man

I don’t think it’s over

[** : Re-reading the rules, after writing this, I see various
definitions have changed. I actually had an extra 12 hours, or a few
hours to sunset. But it may not have been classified as a run]

[*** : Half way, with an injury. Great effort]

ABC Warrior

June 26, 2011

Six Avatars of ABC Warrior at the Green Man

It has been decided that members of a baton relay team that completes the Green Man Challenge should be regarded as Woodwights assisting a Virtual Woodwose for the purposes of entries in the Forestal Book. In this case the Virtual Woodwose has been given the name ABC Warrior, because all the members of the team are members of the Avon Business Club. The original ABC Warriors are robots designed to withstand Atomic, Bacteriological and Chemical weapons in 2000AD, the comic. The members of the team can also be seen of Avatars, or earthly representations of the Virtual Woodwose.