Harry and the Paddy - Part 1

THE PADDY BUCKLEY

Thanks to Harry Chadwick for this article who is a mountain leader and currently training for a Paddy Buckley Round.

You can find out more by following him on Instagram @mountainmovementuk and check out the website mountainmovementuk.co.uk

Get in touch with any questions about the Paddy Buckley or to find out a bit more about the Welsh mountains.

What is it?

The Paddy Buckley round is one the big three rounds in the UK, the Paddy is around 100km distance with 8500m ascent, taking 47 different summits over Parc Cenedlaethol Eryri (Snowdonia National Park) in North Wales with most people aiming to complete this in 24 hours.

The route is divided into five different legs, with each sections going over rough mountain terrain and technical sections through some of the more remote parts of the National Park.

Why the Paddy Buckley?

Running has always been a way to enjoy the surrounding landscape for me, after living in the city for years and finding myself taking every opportunity to get out to the mountains for walking, climbing, running, or anything else outdoors, I decided to make the move and start living in these places instead.

Through my time in running, the limit of possibility has always been curious, I read about these people doing incredible adventures and asked myself "What is stopping me from being that person?".

In comes the Paddy Buckley, the thought has been there for years, what better way to see what I could achieve through a tough, overnight, long distance run in one of the places I know and love the most.

I've had plenty of hard days out in the mountains but I've never once hit that physical or mental limit, where putting one foot in front of the other just isn't an option.

In Preparation

I am aiming to attempt the round in July, hopefully with lots of sunshine and plenty of daylight.

For preparing for a big day such as this, long days out in the mountains are some of the most valuable training you can do, with all the distance and elevation you could manage each week there is nothing quite like the reality of spending a full 24 hours in tough Welsh mountains.

Trying to get an idea of how it feels when the night starts setting in and you've already ran a marathon, of how your favourite cereal bar will taste the 10th time round, or how you will cope with ascending back out a valley for the 4th time that day. It will always feel different on the day but having an idea and experience of these long days gives you every chance to be able to cope with what the Paddy Buckley might throw at you.

The Physical

The most obvious form of preparing for a big day is the question of "can my body physically cope with running this distance?". Consistency has been the key for this, whether its month by month or week by week I am trying to keep the hours on my feet the same, if that means squeezing in that hour of running on a busy day or on the other side, not over doing it and causing an injury and potentially time off.

Putting just as much value on a good warm up and cool down, mobility and strength routines, even bed time yoga, it all adds up to be able to consistently put miles on your own feet.

The Mental

This is a tricky one, how do you wrap your head around something this challenging and different without doing it? Experience in similar train helps you prepare for some of the inevitable difficulties that will occur. 'Adversity training' - training in less than optimal conditions whether it's pouring rain or going for that run after a tiring day, it can all prepare you for how it may feel when it gets tough.

I'm a big believer in visualisation, after I get back to my door after a long run, everytime I really try to picture how it would feel setting off and doing the same again, some days it seems huge, and others it becomes that bit more attainable.

The Technical

To have the best chance at completing the round, any technical issues that can be addressed before the big day should be. This can range from recceing the route to knowing what food you will want to eat on the day, knowing what kit to take with you and who you will take with you as well.

Most people completing the round do so supported, this means to have a road support team who will help you resupply with food and drinks and maybe fresh socks, they will meet you at various road crossings over the 24hrs. Also people have pacers who accompany you for sections, helping to motivate you, keep you in the right direction, and carry some of the kit as well.

Having a team of people behind you can make the difference in a successful round or not, though it takes a lot of organising to ensure everyone is in the right place at the right time.

Knowing how long each section of the round will take and sticking to a schedule will mean that the road support team will be waiting for the end of a long section with fresh cups of coffee and good food.

Going Ahead

So next for me going ahead is nailing all the sections and timings, having been over all 47 summits now but not always as the Paddy Buckley route, going ahead it will be regular runs 2 mixed in with doing legs of the Paddy and some back-to-back big days. Any of these runs I will time each summit as I go to get an idea of how long each section will take, along with this I'll start asking a few of my running friends to accompany me to find some pacers, and convince someone to drive around Eryri for a full day bringing me food.

My most recent accomplishment was completing the Seven Snowdon Summits, a route I'd had planned for a year, to link every path up and down Yr Wyddfa (Snowdon) in a single push, this was 60km with 4000m elevation taking in the technical ridge of Crib Goch and Y Lliwedd and all the main paths in 11 hours and 30 minutes.

I will attempt a fast Welsh 3000s before the big day as well, taking in every summit in Eryri over 3000ft. Having a few smaller goals to accomplish before the main event can give a huge boost towards the possibility of completing the Paddy Buckley round.

Good luck with any aspiring runners on the Paddy Buckley.

You can find out more by following on Instagram @mountainmovementuk and check out my website www.mountainmovementuk.co.uk

Get in touch with any questions about the Paddy Buckley or to find out a bit more about the Welsh mountains.

"Whether you are a runner who wants to get into the mountains and hills and doesn't know how to make that next step or a mountain runner who is looking to improve, Mountain Movement UK is offering individual or guided group runs over incredible scenery, taking the time to look at the safety and skills to allow you to run and explore in the mountains." Harry


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