LDWA 100 – Q & As with Rob Newell

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

My latest series of posts is asking some more professional walkers who have actually completed the walk about how they have got on. And today’s beautifully crafted questions have been answered by Rob Newell, from Norfolk & Suffolk group, who has completed two 100 events and has a Twitter account at https://twitter.com/RobMarlinsUK. A fan of David Morgan, I’ve always thought that Rob has a huge advantage with his height and this is why he can complete events faster than me. But, as he himself says, it’s not about the time and it’s not a race. Although secretly, if I’m near to the end of an event I try and rush myself past anyone I possibly can who is ahead in the hope of moving a few places up the results table…..

Anyway, I digress. Back to Rob.

Q. When was your first 100?

The Cinque Ports 100 in 2018

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

Yes, definitely. The experience of the Cinque Ports 100 was so amazing I knew I had to do more.

Q. You once nearly retired on a 100, but carried on to finish. How did you get the mental strength to carry on?

On the Hadrian Hvndred I got a chill going over the top of Cross Fell in some of the most atrocious stormy weather I have ever walked in. The conditions over the next climb at High Cup Nick just compounded the problem. I came off the mountain shivering and walking very, very slowly. Morale hit rock bottom and I knew it was all over. I approached the checkpoint, a draughty barn and was welcomed by Graham Smith and the Kent LDWA. He asked me how I was and I said not good, but rather than take my tally card he comforted me in the fact I had loads of time. But as soon as I sat down I couldn’t stop shivering, the feeling that I had failed took over and I burst into tears. I was wrapped in blankets and a hot water bottle but after several cups of hot soup and tea later I felt better and was encouraged to keep going.

Mentally I overcame the remaining distance by determination to finish and by splitting the remaining distance in my head. I had 7 miles to think about to the next checkpoint, not the 30 miles I had left. This is essential at the start of the 100, don’t think about the distance or it will become overwhelming. Instead split it up between checkpoints and the notable areas on the challenge, it’s not as daunting

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

Ideally would alternate between each checkpoint but if I had to choose one it would be the Chicken Bake

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

The marshals are vital, welcoming you in, checking that you are ok and making sure you have enough food and water before setting off again. Later on in the events they really care for the bewildered walkers as they stumble into the checkpoint, getting drink and food for you and offering some friendly encouragement

Q. Do you recommend others consider using walking poles?

I personally like poles on longer events as they take pressure off my legs and knees plus helps me straighten my back. I think this along with the right hydration helps prevent strain on the legs. I use Pacer Poles as the get me into a rhythm. However they can be annoying as they are unwieldy when trying to read the route description! So I now only use on long events.

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

Yes, a Roman chariot but with 4 people with Georgian style wigs at the end of the Cinque Ports (it was actually a bush) and there were people standing by the trees in the woods near Hexham racecourse on the Hadrian Hvndred who were actually not there. I said hello to a few of them!

Q. Other than your area of Norfolk & Suffolk, where would you most like to walk a 100 event in the UK?

Scottish Highlands or the Isle of Wight

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

GPX file, however I do try to follow the description and then use GPX as a back up

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

On the Wye Valley 50 during the night I looked down a valley to see thousands of little lights shining back at me, I then realised they were sheep! Also on The Harvest Hobble in Lincolnshire a farmer opened a gate to let a herd of cows out as I walked past, about 50 cows then followed me for half a mile.

Q. What’s the snack of choice that you take with you on the 100?

Fredos!

Q. Do you think you’ll keep on doing the LDWA 100 every year?

Yes!

Q. Is your 100 certificate proudly displayed on the wall at home?

Yes!

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?

Do a few warm up walks slowly building up the distance, experiment with socks and footwear to find the most comfortable solution for your feet. On the day keep hydrated and don’t worry about the speed of others, it’s not a race.