What is the 32 in 72 Challenge?

Posted: March 15, 2013 in 32 in 72

The 32 in 72 Challenge is a sponsored extreme mountain walk to be undertaken August 2nd – August 4th 2013 in aid of the Muscular Dystrophy Campaign. I’m undertaking this solo in remembrance of my grandmother, a muscular dystrophy sufferer who died in 2011, but also as a personal challenge to test my fitness and motivation. Who am I? My name is Jonathan Stonehouse and you can find out more in the About section or visit my other blog to catch up with my other adventures.

My Aim

The aim of 32 in 72 is to complete the Welsh 3000s, English 3000s and Scottish 4000s on consecutive days. This means summiting all 15 Welsh peaks over 3,000ft, all 8 English peaks over 3,000ft and all 9 Scottish peaks over 4,000ft in 72 hours. Completing the challenge involves a walk of over 100 miles, a 70 mile bike ride and nearly 40,000ft of total ascent. Think Mount Everest and then add another 11,000ft!

My Objective

The objective is to raise no less than £2,000 to fund the Muscular Dystrophy Campaign’s terrific work.

Want to Donate?

Thank you! The preferred method is to make a donation through my JustGiving page. Donations made in this way go direct to the Muscular Dystrophy Campaign and are available for use straight away.

If you would prefer to sponsor me in the ‘old-fashioned’ way, i.e. on a per peak or per mile basis, then please email me with your name, address and the amount. Please indicate whether the amount is per mile, per peak or ‘fixed’. I will add your details to a regular sponsorship form and contact you after I have completed the event.

However you choose to support me – thank you!

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My first injury! Oddly enough – considering that 90% of all my training stresses my legs rather than my upper body – it’s a shoulder injury. It flared up about 20 miles into the marathon I ran on the 21st April, disappeared in time for a trail run 3 days later, felt a bit sore on Friday’s aborted microadventure and returned with a vengeance about halfway through Sunday’s half-marathon. It seems to be some sort of RSI caused by 26 miles of swinging my arm back and forth while carrying a 300ml drinks bottle, which obviously served as a wrist weight and put extra strain on a muscle or joint – I don’t know which.

I completed Sunday’s half-marathon (my usual trail run undertaken in heavy boots) at a ferocious pace and equalled my best ever half-marathon time of 1:42, which I obtained wearing lightweight trail shoes. Unfortunately, the extra effort seems to have exacerbated the problem and rather than recognising the signs and slowing down I foolishly ignored the pain and plowed on, with my arms pumping up and down to drive the pace. Over 48 hours (and multiple applications of ibuprofen gel) later and my shoulder is still very sore, certainly  sore enough to put me out of action for the remainder of the week at least.

Needless to say, injury is the Great Fear when a fixed deadline is looming on the horizon. On the one hand I dislike the thought of ‘wimping out’ just because something hurts a bit. By the time I’m two days into 32 in 72 I’m reasonably certain that almost everything will hurt like hell! By then the ability to push on regardless will be a benefit rather than a hazard. At the moment, however, I recognise that it’s daft to ignore warning signs and risk incurring a serious injury. As you can tell, I’m a bit ambigious (and bloke-ish) on the subject. Hopefully my shoulder will require a few days’ rest and nothing more.

As mentioned in my previous update I designated May 1st – today – as the day to begin cross-training in earnest. Running and upper body work may be out of the question but cycling is not! This means that it’s time for me to get on my bike. It also means that I have absolutely no chance whatsoever of indulging in a week free of strenuous exercise this side of the event itself…

I’m still training hard for the event and completed my first marathon on Sunday 21st April! It was in fact a marathon plus a bit extra (27.4 miles rather than the usual 26 miles 200 yards) and my time was 4 hours 17 minutes. I’m pleased with this given that the route was quite hilly. Mine was a totally unofficial marathon planned and organised by myself and undertaken to show solidarity with my training partner, who ran Sunday’s 2013 London Marathon in aid of Bliss, a charity for premature babies.

As far as regular training is concerned I run three times per week: a 16-18 mile trail run at weekends, a Tuesday or Wednesday night sprint interval session and a Thursday or Friday night 8 mile trail run.  I also do a thrice weekly upper body workout comprising as many sets of push-ups, crunches and burpees as I can pack into a 20 minute session. In-between all this I squeeze in various physically challenging microadventures to top up my training and keep me out of trouble.

Looking ahead, however, I need to focus more on the fundraising aspects of the challenge – which is something I’ve neglected thus far – and on actually getting out in the hills with map and compass under different weather conditions. With this in mind I have a very challenging 75 mile endurance walk planned for the coming weekend, which will take in all of Shropshire’s highest peaks. I also intend to celebrate my 42nd birthday on the 18th May by completing the Welsh 3000s.

One area I’ve completely overlooked to date is the cycling aspect and I’m conscious of the fact that the clock is ticking. I’ve decided to make May 1st my start point in this respect and with my current level of fitness I should be able to build up to long distance/high speed rides fairly quickly. I must confess however, that my recent cycling experience has been with mountain bikes and the thought of jumping on a road bike and dealing with road traffic again is a bit unnerving. The last time I cycled on the road some idiots in a car pulled alongside me, grabbed hold of my t-shirt and tried to pull me off my bike! They thought it was hilarious, I was rather less amused…

The Wrekin from Brown Clee Hill

The Wrekin from Brown Clee Hill

One of the problems with training for 32 in 72 is the lack of hills in Wolverhampton. Walking the actual distances I’ll be tackling (anything from 30 to 36 miles per day) isn’t a major concern. I regularly run 13-16 miles and walking twice the distance isn’t too demanding in terms of the amount of energy required, although it certainly has a cumulative effect on joints and feet. However, 32 in 72 is as much about altitude as it is distance over the ground. Add 12-13,000ft of ascent to the equation and the same 30 mile walk becomes a very different beast indeed. My body has to be able to power me up (and down) the UK’s biggest mountains for 12-16 hours at a stretch. For three consecutive days. And with the bare minimum of breaks. Like it or not, long-distance runs on the flat won’t cut the mustard.

So, from April onwards I’ll be changing my training routine to meet the demands of 32 in 72.  Monday 1st April, for example, will see me taking on a punishing 18 mile run up and down the hills of Cannock Chase. To make things more interesting I’ve stipulated a stop every mile to perform 20 stomach crunches or press-ups or burpees. Needless to say, my Italian running partner was absolutely ecstatic to hear about this requirement. Similarly, runs around and to the top of one of Shropshire’s highest hills (The Wrekin, 1376ft) will soon become a regular addition to my schedule. In between all this I’ll be undertaking practice walks to acclimatise my body to three days of unrelenting punishment. The first of these will be a blister-inducing 70-mile circuit of Shropshire’s highest hills, which you can read more about in my other blog. I’ll be dreaming up more (and more amusing) ways to punish myself as the event itself draws closer.

If anyone has any imaginative and suitably gruelling suggestions then I’m all ears!

View from The Wrekin

View from The Wrekin

Brown Clee Hill from Abdon Burf

Brown Clee Hill from Abdon Burf

Cannock Chase

Cannock Chase – Sherbrook Valley from Anson’s Bank

The 32 in 72 Challenge is a sponsored event in aid of the Muscular Dystrophy Campaign. 32 in 72 is an ambitious attempt to complete three major endurance walks in three consecutive days. These walks are known as the Welsh 3000s, English 3000s and Scottish 4000s. This is all well and good, but what exactly does it mean? This post is one of a series that dives into a little more depth and explains 32 in 72 detail, with a view to answering any What? Where? And How? questions you might have about the Challenge.

Although I refer to the Welsh and English 3000s and Scottish 4000s the actual trek itself will be undertaken in reverse, starting in Scotland on the 28th June 2013 and finishing in Wales on the 30th June 2013. This places the Welsh 3000s at the very end of the Challenge.

Key Differences

Although this leg has the largest number of peaks to summit the total amount of ascent is roughly the same as the English leg. Additionally, the total distance on foot is considerably less than either of the other two legs. Regardless, the Welsh 3000s is a daunting prospect at any time and never more so than after two days of similar punishment up north!

The 15 Peaks of the Welsh 3000s
  1. Snowdon / Yr Wyddfa (1,085m)
  2. Garnedd Ugain / Crib y Ddysgl (1,065m)
  3. Crib Goch (923m)
  4. Elidir Fawr (924m)
  5. Y Garn (947m)
  6. Glyder Fawr (1,001m)
  7. Glyder Fach (994m)
  8. Tryfan (918m)
  9. Pen yr Ole Wen (978m)
  10. Carnedd Dafydd (1,044m)
  11. Carnedd Llewelyn (1,064m)
  12. Yr Elen (962m)
  13. Foel Grach (976m)
  14. Garnedd Uchaf (926m)
  15. Foel-fras (942m)

Total distance on foot is approx. 30 miles and total ascent approx. 12,500ft.  Starting at first light I anticipate completing the Welsh 3000s in 14 hours.

Maps
Welsh 3000s 1

Welsh 3000s 1

Welsh 3000s 2

Welsh 3000s 2

Welsh 3000s 3

Welsh 3000s 3

Welsh 3000s 4

Welsh 3000s 4

The 32 in 72 Challenge is a sponsored event in aid of the Muscular Dystrophy Campaign. 32 in 72 is an ambitious attempt to complete three major endurance walks in three consecutive days. These walks are known as the Welsh 3000s, English 3000s and Scottish 4000s. This is all well and good, but what exactly does it mean? This post is one of a series that dives into a little more depth and explains 32 in 72 detail, with a view to answering any What? Where? And How? questions you might have about the Challenge.

Although I refer to the Welsh and English 3000s and Scottish 4000s the actual trek itself will be undertaken in reverse, starting in Scotland on the 28th June 2013 and finishing in Wales on the 30th June 2013. This places the English 3000s smack in the middle. Although this leg has the fewest peaks of the three legs the total amount of ascent is more than the Welsh leg and the total distance on foot is equal to the Scottish leg. So, as I travel from Scotland to the Lake District I’ll be stuffing my face to help my body refuel and recover from the bruising Scottish leg. And trying to catch a few hours’ sleep to boot!

Key Differences

Although all the English 3000s are located in the same geographical area, i.e. the Lake District, the peaks themselves are not strung together in a long chain as they are on the Welsh leg. Rather, five are to be found in the Scafell area, two on Helvellyn approximately miles away and one more (Skiddaw) a further miles away. This means that I’m faced with a long slog between Helvellyn and Skiddaw. Walking this section is likely to take as long, if not longer, than the seventy (70) mile bike ride between the Nevis and Cairngorm ranges on the Scottish leg.

The 8 Peaks of the English 3000s
  1. Sca Fell (964m/3,161ft)
  2. Scafell Pike (978m/3,203m)
  3. Symonds Knott (959m/3,146ft)
  4. Ill Crag (935m/3,068ft)
  5. Broad Crag (3,064ft)
  6. Helvellyn (950m/3,115ft)
  7. Helvellyn Lower Man (925m/3,035ft)
  8. Skiddaw (931m/3,052ft)

Total distance on foot is approx. 36 miles and total ascent approx. 12,500ft.  Starting at first light I anticipate completing the English 3000s in approx. 15 hours.

Maps
English 3000s Sca Fell 1

English 3000s Sca Fell 1

English 3000s Sca Fell 2

English 3000s Sca Fell 2

English 3000s Helvellyn

English 3000s Helvellyn

English 3000s Skiddaw

English 3000s Skiddaw

The 32 in 72 Challenge is a sponsored event in aid of the Muscular Dystrophy Campaign. 32 in 72 is an ambitious attempt to complete three major endurance walks in three consecutive days. These walks are known as the Welsh 3000s, English 3000s and Scottish 4000s. This is all well and good, but what exactly does it mean? This post is one of a series that dives into a little more depth and explains 32 in 72 detail, with a view to answering any What? Where? And How? questions you might have about the Challenge.

Although I refer to the Welsh and English 3000s and Scottish 4000s the actual trek itself will be undertaken in reverse, starting in Scotland on the 28th June 2013 and finishing in Wales on the 30th June 2013. This makes sense logistically given that I’m based in the West Midlands and ensures that the most physically demanding leg (Scotland) is completed while I’m still chock full of Irn Bru and porridge oats!

Key Differences

The are two major differences between the Scottish leg and its Welsh and English counterparts. First, the Scottish peaks I’ll be climbing are all 4,000ft or more in height, as opposed to 3,000ft in England and Wales. Second, the Scottish peaks are not located in a single geographical area. Rather, four are situated in the Nevis range and five in the Cairngorms. So, completing this leg involves summiting five peaks in the Nevis range before cycling seventy (70) miles to the Cairngorms to summit the remaining four peaks. Travelling from one range to the other by car would be too easy cheating!

 The 9 Peaks of the Scottish 4000s
 Nevis Range
  1. Ben Nevis (1,344m/4,407ft)
  2. Aonach Beag (1,234m/4,046ft)
  3. Aonach Mor (1,221m/4,003ft)
  4. Carn Mor Dearg (1,220m/4,000ft)
Caingorms
  1. Cairn Toul (1,293m/4,239ft)
  2. Sgor an Lochain Uaine (1,258m/4,125ft)
  3. Braeriach (1,296m/4,249ft)
  4. Ben Macdui (1,309m/4,292ft)
  5. Cairn Gorm (1,245m/4,082ft)

Total distance over the ground is approx. 36 miles on foot and approx. 70 miles by bike. Total ascent is approx. 14,000ft. Starting at first light I anticipate completing the Scottish 4000s in approx. 16 hours.

Maps
Map of Nevis Range

Map of Nevis Range

Scottish_4000s_02

Map of Cairngorms