LDWA 100 – Q & As with Adam Dawson

This page is all part of my effort to walk the 2021 LDWA 100.

This is part of my little series in asking those who have completed the 100 just how they did it, and whether it’s an entirely good idea. This is from Adam Dawson, known by many for his huge contribution to the LDWA’s web-site, who has a view on 100s that is more akin to mine than some other people who have answered questions. This is that I will only be doing one as they sound very difficult indeed. There are some people who tell me something like “you’ll love it, you’ll be doing it every year”. I bet I won’t….

Anyway, I digress, so back to Adam and his kind offer to answer my questions.

Q. When was your first 100?

Hadrian Hundred, 2019

Q. What training did you do before your first 100?

I recce’d the route over 5 days, a couple of months earlier. Then I tried to go on LDWA social walks a few weekends before the event. I also found running uphill was very good for developing stamina and the ability to “dig deep” in the tricky sections of the 100 itself

Q. When you finished your first 100, did you think you’d do another?

No, and I still think that. I don’t think that the human body is really designed to walk that far, and I don’t think it’s good for you to do it repeatedly. I have marshalled at the end of a couple of hundreds, and to be honest I was a bit shocked by the condition of some of those staggering over the finishing line.

Q. What would you pick at a checkpoint, two sausage rolls, one chicken bake or one steak bake?

Probably the steak bake if those were the only three choices. But ideally I’d like spaghetti and flapjack in the earlier checkpoints, and jelly and custard at the later ones (because it’s easier to eat and I found I was feeling nauseous towards the end)

Q. Do you carry an item of food or drink that helps you get round? I’m going with jelly babies…..

TBH, SIS energy gels keep me going between CP’s. I alternate between the regular ones, and the caffeinated ones

Q. How important are the marshals to you at checkpoints on longer challenge events?

Totally. 110%!

Q. Are there moments that you’ve nearly retired from a walk only to then finish? How do you get that mental strength?

No – I’ve never nearly retired from a challenge walk, though there have been occasions on LDPs after hours and hours of freezing rain when I’ve had work hard to find the strength to carry on. Especially when you know you only have a cold wet tent and damp sleeping bag to welcome you at the end. Usually I have to carry on as I’m in a remote spot with no escape, so dropping out really isn’t an option.

Q. Have you hallucinated towards the end of a walk?

No – but on the last stage of the Hadrian Hundred I noticed that I could hear snoring somewhere nearby. I realised that there wasn’t anyone around, and that actually it was me. I had fallen asleep while walking.

Q. Are you more reliant on the route description or the GPX file?

Almost exclusively the GPX. I read the RD for general background info about the route and to get the exact Grid Refs of the checkpoints, but that’s about all

Q. If the Wales 100 goes ahead in 2021, will it rain?

Yes

Q. What are your top tips for footcare on the 100?

Keep your feet dry. I wear a combination of sealskinz socks and goretex boots, which usually works well. Wet feet = blisters

Q. Have you been scared of a sheep / cow / snake / pig / seagull or similar on a challenge walk?

Not personally on a challenge walk. Though I remember on the Founders a few years ago we had to do a hasty route diversion after a farmer introduced a herd of frisky bullocks into a field right in the middle of the route, the day before the event. I have been mobbed by cows a couple of times on LDPs and it can be a bit of an alarming experience. Nowadays, I always try and plan an escape route when crossing a field of cows. Farmyard dogs can be a bit scary, too

Q. Is entering the 100 a good idea? Asking for a friend…..

Yes. You will feel a lifelong sense of satisfaction at having done it.

Q. To those people who are thinking about taking part in their first challenge event, maybe just 18 miles, what advice would you give them?

Don’t give up. Just think how good you will feel when you have finished. Also, you will never have to do it again!