Tim Conquers The North Face 100

It’s funny, the way people like to spend their spare time. For many, a gentle walk through a local woodland or a bike ride down by the shore fits the bill quite nicely. There are, however, those who prefer instead to throw the relaxation book out the window and push themselves to the limit.

One such person is Tim Ellis, Assistant Clothes Buyer/Sports Nutrition Buyer at Cycle Surgery, one of our sister companies.

If the thought of taking on the London Marathon or a similar-sized race leaves you feeling cold, you might want to stop reading now. Tim recently returned from competing in The North Face 100 – a grueling 100km ultra trail run which winds its way through the Blue Mountains of New South Wales, Australia.

A technical race featuring thousands of rocky steps, transitional ladders and even four hours running through the dark, it was no mean feat when Tim finished 196th out of the 1001 starting athletes. But what we want to know is… Was it worth the 1-year training regime (around the North Downs of Surrey) and 15hrs, 33 minutes of race time?

“Absolutely! But the TNF100 is the hardest thing I’ve ever done,” says Tim. “There were 5 checkpoints where food and water were available and checkpoints 3-5 were manned by the competitors’ support crew, which also gave us the chance to stock up on our favourite food and drink – a great comfort.”

Clearly this was no walk in the park [sorry, but had to be said – ed.] and as you might imagine, there were strict checks along the length of the course, to ensure athletes were carrying the mandatory items (for example, the capacity to carry 2 litres of water). Our man opted for a 1.5ltr bladder (enough to keep him going between checkpoints) and 500ml bottle which was empty, to keep weight down.

Tim’s favourite item of kit for the race was the OMM Adventure Light 200 pack, which he used throughout his training as well as the race itself.

“It was perfect for this event because of its light weight and easy-access waist pockets (ideal for storing energy bars and gels). Plus it can carry a hydration bladder & 2 water bottles – an absolute must when ensuring dehydration is kept at bay”.

Of course, we’re really proud of Tim’s super-human efforts – but does his safe return signal the start of a relaxing summer? Well, what do you think?!

Tim with his well-deserved medal

“I’m taking a well-earned rest – a race like the TNF100 takes a lot out of you, both mentally and physically, so it’s important to rest up and recover for a few weeks… but then it’s straight back to the training! In September, I plan to hit the competition trails around Surrey again, this time entering the Farnham Pilgrim Marathon for the 3rd year in a row. There is also talk of myself and a few others running the 100-mile South Downs Way at some point before the summer is out, too!”

Whilst some may say he is a devil for punishment, we think Tim is a shining example of those people who extoll the virtues of an outdoor lifestyle and of what it means to really push yourself beyond your comfort zone. The message is clear – chase the satisfaction of achieving your end goal and all your hard work effort will be worth it.

You can take a look at Tim’s TNF 100 training blog here.

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