Something Wild (Sponsored by Vivobarefootshoes and Viewranger)
We are lucky here in South Devon. Right on our doorstep, we have this large expanse of wilderness that gives birth to rivers, soaks up carbon emissions and offers visitors the chance to reconnect with their past. It also helps people to engage with the present, in a way that seems increasingly difficult, especially in the metropolis. I know this because of the number of my Wild Running clients, who come here from London, Swansea, Glasgow and beyond, in search of something else.
But Dartmoor National Park is so much more than a tourist attraction. I see it as a kind of canvas, on which anyone can project their deeper thoughts, fears and dreams. OK so it’s not really wild in the sense of the Scottish Highlands or Alaska. But if you believe that wildness is a state-of-mind, which is inherent in all of us, then you’re probably not in the business of comparing landscapes. Neither am I. Much better to see the contrast in a seamless blur, as though looking from a train but actually being in it.
The gestation for Something Wild, probably began while running across the Alps in the 2012 Transalp race. Every evening for a week, after running a marathon over Alpine passes, the runners shared a huge communal meal, while hearing other people’s tales. It was a fantastic experience.
Last year I teamed up with Ben Tisdall, who I met out running on a Thursday night. An unlikely liaison for a purist wild runner and someone who wore a watch which talked out loud. It turned out that we had something more in common. We were, we discovered second cousins. We also formed Something Wild Events, which now includes the WildNightRun Series and the Burrator10k.
Something Wild the festival, passed its first test at The River Dart Country Park in 2015, with some stunning routes, which have been described as Category A fell running terrain, a forest school, which proved popular with the kids and a fantastic speaker’s evening.
The communality is something we wanted to replicate and this year, we will be bringing our favourite caterers The Kitchen Table to make their trademark stews, alongside our honesty bar. Breakfasts will be provided by Bamboo Coffee, while Clive’sPies in Buckfastleigh, will be providing pies for all our runners. The speaker’s evening on Friday and Saturday night from a collection of handpicked experts, who specialise in movement, endurance and wildlife, will provide an extra incentive for people who like a little cerebral stimulation as well as a physical challenge. Our Something Wild #cakechallenge aims to coax out the crazy cake makers with prizes for the best creation.
As we aim to make it a family friendly event, we’ll be offering children’s activities throughout the weekend, such as forest school, capture the flag and kid’s races.
On Friday, a member of the OSS will be leading a swim in the Dart, while our speaker’s evening will kick off at St Raphael’s Chapel at 7.30pm.
Starting alongside the ultra, the inaugural Something Wild trail marathon, with more than 3,500 ft of ascent, the trail half marathon, which also includes two crossings of the Dart and the 10km and 5k, which is the only event this route has been run as a race. After Saturday’s exertions, there will be a dinner and presentation ceremony in the cow shed café.
All in all, it’s a unique weekend, whether you have travelled with your family or just want to see the best that Dartmoor has to offer.
This year we will be extending the challenge to include a 33 mile ultra #SummitWild, an ideal entry level ultra, which includes some of the best routes on Dartmoor.
Summit Wild is by no means an easy ultra, and incorporates the marathon circuit plus one lap of Sunday’s 10K route.
The route starts and ends at the festival site at Huccaby Farm, crossing the river at Dartmeet before climbing past Yar Tor to Sherwell and continuing up towards Cator Common. Then there’s short tarmac section down to Bellever before a gravel climb up to Laughter Hole, then down to Brimpts farm and a return to the start finish (and first feed station). Next it’s back to Dartmeet and a long gradual climb to Sharp tor and along Dr Blackalls Drive to New Bridge, from where runners will enter Holne Woods and reach the second feed station as they approach Holne.
They will cross through Holne down towards Hembury Woods and return (after the 3rd Feed station at Scorriton) via Holne ridge to Combstone tor. Runners will still need their wits about them in the final furlong however, as another river crossing beckons, via the Huccaby stepping stones. They will then complete a circuit of the 10k course via Yar Tor and Babeny stepping stones coming back through Brimpts Farm.
There will be three checkpoints where runner’s split times will be recorded-at Huccaby Bridge, after the initial 10k loop, right in the centre of the festival site, at New Bridge, near Holne Woods, right on the River Dart and at Scorriton.
The cut off time for this event is 10 hours
· Fully marked and marshalled course (with reflective stakes, surveyors flags, tape, plenty of large arrow)
· Chip timing + 3 timing splits + live results online
· Feed stations every 6 miles with water, energy drinks, gels, cakes, fruit, nuts & more.
· Secure baggage drop, parking, toilets & showers
· Finishers medals
· Professional First Aid
· Prizes for top 3 male and female and first V40 & V50
· A Clive’s Pie (vegetarian or gluten free)
Visitors can add one or two night’s camping with your booking, which includes entry to our Speaker’s Eveni