In 2012 I had the pleasure of reporting from The North Face Ultra Trail du Mont Blanc following The North Face athlete Jez Bragg around the course as he attempted to repeat his 2010 win. (Link to blog). In 2013 I'll be back but to attempt the CCC, a shorter version of the main event featuring a 100km route from Courmayer to Chamonix via Champex with 5950m of ascent

Thursday, 15 August 2013

Thoughts on the CCC - Oli Blomfield

I'm not the only first timer lining up for the CCC this year. There's a few familiar faces from the Lake District also beginning their international careers! Oli Blomfield (@oliblom) is a relative newcomer to Ultras but is showing a huge amount of natural talent coupled with lots of hard work. Since this interview he completed the Lakeland 100 in a quick time of 27:13, an impressively fast time for his debut at this distance on arguably the toughest 100 on the circuit.  

Why do you run ultras?
I am enjoying the extra challenge they afford. With the training & racing I find that I am learning allot more about myself on many levels. Plus as with fell/hill racing everyone so far has been very friendly & helpful.

Can you give us a quick overview of your running history / ultras etc?

I ran a bit through school & college, 800m & some cross country, but then opted for rowing at University. I used to run a bit when I worked on cruise ships, taking off for a run when were in port, I used to get some strange looks in St Petersburg. However I would get knee & ankle pain so I stopped in my early thirties. I practiced Ashtanga Yoga for a couple of years whilst living in Helsinki which seemed to sort my knees & ankles and after running a half marathon trail run on an Outward Bound Course in New Zealand at the age of 35, I started running regularly. I moved back to the UK ran the Edinburgh 10k and then shortly after moved to Fort William where I joined Lochaber AC and was introduced to Hill Running. I thought they were winding the English boy up when they were telling me about The Ben race, but before I knew it I had done my first hill race, a half Ben race and I was hooked. I raced in Scotland at every opportunity, but didn't venture above 20miles until a year or so, but enjoyed the longer distance. I still wanted to run a road marathon & got a London place thru the club but injury meant I had to postpone my first year & almost the second year with 5 weeks to go. I got the injury fixed & got around, slower than I hoped but it was still an enjoyable day. I soon after tried my first Ultra, (Shires & Spires) & began reading Ultra books (Dean Karnazes to start) and started reading about all the amazing challenges & runners. I targeted a Bob Graham Round & the Lakeland100 this year along with the CCC. Unfortunately my BGR has had to be postponed due to illness, but training is back on track now!

What are you're expectations for the event as a whole. What have heard about the atmosphere and the race itself?

I have heard the atmosphere is amazing, the London Marathon equivalent of Ultras. And of course the potential for stunning scenary, weather pending! Watching the helicopter film footage of Jillian running the UTMB really inspired me!

How has training being going? Can you give us a sample of your program?

I had a virus in March which forced me to postpone by BGR attempt and wiped me out for a month or so. I seem to be back on track now, maybe a week or two behind for the L100 but should be in shape for CCC as long as I keep myself together during the L100! I haven't really stuck to a program, but from the reading I have done getting in back to back long runs at the weekend seems to have been my only constant. Monday & Fridays have been rest days & in between just doing what I have found time for & what the body felt ok with.

Do you know the route at all? Are you planning to recce it before the big day or just enjoy what comes?

Not at all, other than the names of the towns & the passes! We will be out two days beforehand, so will just be enjoying whatever comes up!

Do you listen to music while you run? What's on your playlist? Have you listened to Van Gellis' UTMB anthem yet?

I have tried once or twice, but enjoy what nature has to offer as a soundtrack! Yes I know the Van Gellis anthem, very soul lifting at the start, I imagine it will get into my head, as the London marathon tune does every year.

What's the key bits of your equipment. Are you a fan of poles?

For such long races all kit needs to work for you personally. But I suppose shoes & a comfortable pack would be key if I had to say. I have started using poles this year & think they will be of great benefit, helping to protect knees & give extra balance & support.

Cushioned or natural running shoes?
With the injuries I picked up road running I looked at my running style & with this my choice of footwear, opting for a much flatter/natural shoe. However for longer ultra runs I will be opting for some extra cushion, but not big wedged road style shoes.

Any thoughts on nutrition. What are your secret ingredients?
I think nutrition plays a massive part in training & racing. I avoid processed food & hardly eat meat, so mainly fresh veges, fruits, pulses, rice, fish, wholemeal breads & pastas. I highly recommend the recipes in Scott Jurek's book "Eat & Run" especially the vege chilli & the rice parcels, the latter I have been taking out on long runs!

Do you have a target time?
No, just to finish & enjoy!

Any plans for the UTMB in the future?
Yes. I didn't have enough qualifying points this time round, so hopefully next year. I am also visiting New Zealand next year so eyeing up a couple of challenges there. And then of course the USA has some very tempting races, time & money dependent!

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