We must be mad. After Team Wareable tackled and completed (well, most of us) Race to the Stones in 2017, we are back to take on Dixons Carphone Race to the Stones 2018 on 14 July 2018 and we are partnering again with Currys PC World to put the latest wearable tech through its paces during the race.
What lies ahead of us is a 100km race that takes in some scenic sights but also some challenging terrain, making it one of the toughest running races in the UK.
That distance though gives us the perfect opportunity to push some wearable devices to the limits and see if they really are durable, robust and equipped to take on anything that can be thrown at them. That tech will be supplied by our pals at Currys, including the best outdoor watches and sports wearables that should be able to give us a helping hand.
As we found out last year, there are different ways to tackle this race. The first option is to take on the 100km in one go running or walking (or a combo of both). You can split that 100km over two days, camping out at the halfway point before resuming the Stones action. The last option is to take on the 50km and say thanks, but no thanks to the other 50km. The willing participants from the Wareable team have dropped to two and here's the story of how the training has been going along with the kit we are going to be testing out.
Oh, if you fancy doing the Stones next year, you can find out more information on the race right here.
Michael Sawh, editor
Whenever I go out running late at night, thoughts of the Stones all come flooding back. Walking up those roads, fields and narrow paths, alone with just my head torch as a source of light and those small signs guiding me to another pit stop. Being on a huge caffeine high having squeezed a ridiculous amount of energy gels into my mouth in a very short of space of time to catch up with Paul and James so we could complete the 100km race together. It was an amazing but gruelling time and I have no regrets deciding to take on the Stones all in one go.
This time I've decided I want to make a good go of the 50km, which would still be a huge achievement for me. Having had to walk a fair bit of the first 50km last year to stick with the injured Conor, I'm ready to pick up the pace and get to the halfway camp in good time to enjoy the food instead of scoffing it in 20 minutes before getting running again. I've run my fastest ever marathon this year and having finally decided to add some strength training and proper interval training into my running routine I feel like I'm in a much better state to take on the Stones this year and keep moving for longer without having to take big breaks at stations to refuel.
I'm also really looking forward to testing out a bunch of new kit. Last year I had the TomTom Adventurer to guide me to the finish. It's was a solid outdoor watch companion on the whole, but lacked the battery life to comfortably make it through the 63 miles. This time, I'm turning my attention to the Suunto Spartan Sport Wrist HR. It's a solid sports watch I've spent some time with before and is as rugged as GPS sports watches get. It's also packing a battery life of anywhere from 8-12 hours depending on how accurate you want that GPS data to be. I'm sincerely hoping that will be enough.
James Stables, co-founder
Why is this happening again? Despite being easily the most uncomfortable and exhausting 24 hours of my life, I look back on Race to the Stones with only fond memories, so when the chance of heading back arose, it was a no-brainer.
But with barely any time to prepare, there's little chance of bettering last year's 20 hour time. Yes, injuries in the team hampered us, but I simply haven't been running and hiking the required distances – and to tackle 100km again, I'd have to be confident of a much better outcome.
But there's many ways of tackling the stones, and I left last year curious about racing the first 50km. We were forced to walk so much of last year's race I don't count myself as an ultrarunner – but this year's 50km gives me the chance to remedy that. Can we run all the way? That's what we're turning up to find out.
But this mean's upping distance quickly. I've been training for half marathon distances mostly – so I have 21km in my legs… where's the other 30 going to come from? Good question.
Since last year I've added strength which hopefully will see me through intact – and was something I was dearly lacking at Stones 2017. And of course, I still have my trusty Garmin Fenix 5 to help me through – and hopefully this year we'll be upgrading from Ultratrac GPS in low-power hiking mode to full running tracking.
Between now and the race it's just about clocking up as many miles as possible – and getting back into the gym. Can we turn ourselves into ultrarunners in a couple of weeks? I wouldn't bet against us.