LDWA 100 – Q & As with Alan Warrington

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

This is part of my series of asking some experienced 100ers about their past walks and I am honoured to feature today the LDWA 100s co-ordinator, Alan Warrington. Another calm, cool and collected member of the NEC, I’m impressed how many times he mentions Greggs at meetings, he is a true inspiration to me. You can follow Alan at https://twitter.com/100scoordinator.

Alan had some excitement last year with his health and few at this year’s LDWA AGM will forget the appearance of jump leads…… Alan has started six 100 events, completing four of them, and will be helping out on many future events. I must admit, Alan’s answer on the GPX question is impressive, the idea of reading a route description in the dark fills me with dread.

Q. When was your first 100?

First attempt in 1979 Dartmoor Hundred. It rained. Second attempt and first completion – Games Hundred in 2012. It really rained!!

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

No. (Ignoring the fact that both my feet had swollen and looked like they belonged to a Hobbit for about a week after the event). I genuinely had such a laugh and great time throughout the event I felt that there was no need to enter anymore. How could I ever beat the whole experience?

Needless to say I got talked into another and another. A bit like you and Greggs Chicken bakes just can’t give them up.

Q. As the 100s co-ordinator, what are your top tips for those taking part in the 100 event for the first time? And if it’s just as much a mental challenge as a physical challenge, how should entrants approach the event?

Maintain a positive attitude throughout that you want to do the event, are definitely going to finish and walk at your own pace. Accept that you will get tired and are likely to go through incredible highs and lows, might even go astray. You may even get the odd ache or pain, even the odd blister.

Most of all don’t think of the total distance. Relax it’s just a lot of short walks between a large number of checkpoints. Don’t blast around you have up to 48 hours to complete, although manage your time wisely at the checkpoints. Many misjudge and are then under lots of pressure to get around before checkpoint closure. Savour the sights, sounds and smells, oh and don’t forget to read the route description!

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

Steak bake. (Although I have become addicted to Cornish Pasties on these long events and have learned that it’s wise to eat little and often).

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

Critical. These events just would not occur if it wasn’t for the time and energy of these volunteers who provide incredible physical and mental support. I’ve seen many participants want to call it a day. After some refreshments a little rest and some words of encouragement they go on, many to successfully finish. I always thank the volunteers at every checkpoint as a matter of courtesy.

Q. Is there any area of the country where you’d personally like to see a 100 event take place?

Anywhere the association has never been before, irrespective of the terrain. We haven’t been to East Anglia yet!

Q. There has been feedback from some entrants of the 100 next year that they’d like chicken bakes at checkpoints. Something for the future that can be considered?

Definitely something for the catering team. However, the chicken population may have other ideas!

Q. Many people (well, one which is primarily me) wonder why there have to be such big mountains on the 100 to climb up?

Even the smallest mole hill looks like the North face of the Eiger or K2 towards the end of a Hundred. The good news is you often have to go down the other side!

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

Yes only the once during the Games Hundred. Crossing Chobham Common early on the second night during a torrential downpour. Did I tell you it rained A LOT? A long stretch of about one mile which didn’t require much navigation so brain relaxed. Leapt out of my skin as this Giant Spider appeared on the side of the path. I laughed so much when I saw it was just a huge tree trunk with massive roots coming out the side.

Q. Will it rain in Wales on the 2021 100?

Can you ask me one on nuclear physics please? I think Wales has run out of rain after the amount that fell during the Valley’s Hundred in 2014 but don’t quote me on that!

Q. When walking events, do you rely more on the route description or the GPX file?

Absolutely route description every time. Keeps the mind active and is always primary source of information. I’ve completed many events without even looking at GPX.

I managed one event which was a figure of eight. Laughed my head off when I received a call from 3 entrants who had started the second loop only to realise half way around they were walking in the wrong direction. That’s what happens if you don’t read the route description. Doh!!

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

No, although the seagulls along the Moray coastline during the Laich O’Moray 50 were huge!

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 to get them started?

Take your time and enjoy it.