George Popov, 21, a student, will be taking part the Cateran Yomp, a 54-mile run/hike in the Perthshire Hills in Scotland. The event takes place over the weekend of 9th and 10th June. Participants complete the circular route that runs north from Blairgowrie to the southern edge of the Cairngorms in teams of three to six. The distance must be completed within 24 hours.
He will be entering as part of a team of three and will approach it mainly as a run rather than a hike. He will be raising money for ABF The Soldiers’ Charity, the organisers of the event.
First a bit of Form
Although I have taken exercise all my life, I have only been a runner only for the last couple of years. However I spent half my childhood running around the mountains in Bulgaria, so I am accustomed to the hills. Recently I have done a lot of hiking and running around York.
Why the Cateran Yomp? Why now?
I was going to do a similar event in Bulgaria, but then I became aware of the Cateran Yomp though a sponsored Facebook post. It looked like fun, so I clicked to show interest. It helps that I have just finished my exams. I think it will be a good challenge and I am looking forward to that.
I have entered the Cateran Yomp as an individual - as much as I tried to bully my friends into accompanying me, I couldn’t find anyone who was prepared to do it - so I have been allocated to a team of people on the basis of our estimated times.
Training and Preparation
It is the first time I have entered an event as long as this, so I have been training hard, five or six days a week. I’ve been doing different types of runs, including some tempo runs (10 miles, fast) and longer runs with intervals. And I have done some 15-20 milers at a slower pace, increasing the distance from week to week, until the last few days, when I have tapered off the training
It’s important to be prepared as the event will be very hard on the feet, so I have also done quite a bit of research. I have changed my diet a bit, so I now eat more carbs. Also I quit smoking two months ago.
How long do you expect it to take?
I know that I’ll never run the whole distance, so I am expecting to run and walk. I estimate something between 11 ½ and 13 ½ hours.
What will be the most challenging aspect of the event?
I’d say being able to pace myself, as this is the longest event I have done, so to push myself without getting an injury. Injury is a slight anxiety.
What does achievement look like?
I have said that I will try to finish within 13 ½ hours, but to be honest I just want to finish it in one piece. I am not expecting anything spectacular and I don’t really know how it will pan out, but I’d be chuffed with anything less than 14 hours.