The big race – Privas 72 hour – 5 to 8 August

There is now only two weeks left until I start my longest race to date – a 72 hour race in Privas, France.

Privas 72 hour race course72 hours of walking around a 1,025 meter circuit in temperatures that will be in the mid to high 30’s during the day.

The goal:

To complete as many laps as I can between 4pm on Wednesday 5th of August and 4pm on Saturday 8th of August – three days later.

To quantity that; I hope to complete something between 320 and 400 laps which is 328 to 410km which is 204 to 255 miles which is ‘a bloody long way’!

The surface is flat with varied terrain – some athletics track, some tarmac, and some unsealed surface.

I completed 145 miles (233km) on river trail terrain (mostly unsealed and often uneven surface) in 43 hours during the Grand Union Canal Race at the end of May.  That was without any sleep.  If I assume that I have 6 hours sleep in total during the Privas race and average the same pace as the GUCR for the other 66 hours then I should be able to achieve 222 miles (357km).  And given that the surface for the Privas race will be smoother, and therefore faster, then I don’t see why I can’t achieve at least that distance.

My right ankle:

The big question is:  Will my right ankle hold up to walking for three days?

I have struggled with a minor ankle injury since the GUCR and as a result I have done very little training – one walk of almost 30 miles and nothing else longer than 2 hours since May.  But I don’t see the lack of training as a problem.  If anything, it means that I will go in to the race well rested.

My race plan:

Because of my concerns about the ankle I have decided that my race plan will involve walking for as long as possible before I have my first sleep.  The race starts at 4pm on Wednesday (4th of August) and therefore most of the first 16 hours will be in relatively cool conditions.  If I can then walk another full 24 hours through the Thursday and into Friday morning before I need to sleep, then that will be my first goal.  If I can keep going through until early afternoon on the Friday – around 44 hours, then that will be even better as I will be sleeping during the hottest part of the day.

And if I can do that and cover in excess of 150 miles (240km) before I sleep, then I only need to complete another 50 miles (to get to 200 miles) during the following 24 hours after I wake up and that isn’t too difficult – is it?

My biggest concern is that my ankle will be OK while I am walking but will immediately swell up when I stop and may prevent me from starting again after my first sleep – hence my thoughts about walking for as long as I can before I stop.  Obviously I will ice it when I stop, and will be taking anti-inflammatory tablets during the race – as and when required.

New Zealand Records:

During the race I have some interim goals too:  The New Zealand records for the most distance walked in 48 hours and fastest time over 200 miles are both achievable as well as the NZ record for 72 hours.  I thought the NZ record for 200km might also be a possibility until recently when I was advised that the record time stated on the NZ Centurions website was incorrect and the record is about 3 hours faster than I expect to take to complete the first 200km.  But that record can wait until another day.

Make-A-Wish Foundation UK:

Make-A-Wish-LogoAnd then there is my fundraising for Make-A-Wish Foundation UK.  I have never been tempted to use my athletic activities for fundraising in the past because I haven’t felt comfortable asking people to sponsor me to do something that I have done previously – i.e. run a marathon.  But this is different.  This will be the hardest race I have ever competed in and the knowledge that I am doing it to raise money for a worthwhile cause may help me when I need it during the tough periods that I will face during the race.

So if you haven’t already, please visit my Just Giving page and make a donation.  Any amount in any currency will be greatly appreciated.

JustGiving page

Follow the race live:

The race itself will have live updates as well as video streaming which you can see here:

And as I did during the Grand Union Canal Race, I will post updates on the Richard Walks London facebook page from time to time during the race.


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