Red Bull Steeple Chase 2014

16th October 2014

The Red Bull Steeple Chase

B is for BONK

U is for USELESS


The mnenomic above, although true, does give off the wrong impression about my experience at the Steeple Chase last  2 weekends ago.

I had a great day.

Red Bull Steeple Chase Front Runner 2

The calf mangling/quad frying/lung boiling climb up Mam Tor -Awesome

Photo courtesy of George Carman

I thought the route was fantastic, the support and organisation infallible and the post race food and drink pretty spectacular. However, I don't believe races such as this are sustainable, I understand the event will have brought an influx of  people to Castleton and the surrounding area, helping to boost the local economy but I don't want to think how much Red Bull invested in the race and I can only assume there was some disruption to residents and other National Park users BUT it was bloomin' great and I'm glad I got a chance to take part.

Despite running ok (ish) on the build to the race there was one aspect of my training I had maybe, no definitely neglected... miles! I'd been running moderate mileage on the fells, maybe 35-50 miles a week but I hadn't put in any long runs. To cut a long story short, I was hoping to "wing-it" somewhat, needless to say I paid the price come mile 15 (Check out my GPS tracking > here).

I drank Red Bull in the hope it might "Give me wings", it did not! 

I went into a place I've never been before, it was a little dark, I didn't have control and I couldn't process my thoughts properly - I think this is what is referred to in the cycling world as 'bonking'. All I could muster was the need to keep moving forwards and that I was a little thirsty.

I crossed the final check point in 7th place and in the last 3 miles managed to lose 14 places - a pretty spectacular effort. I  would like to say a thank you  to the individuals that past me, if I'm correct you all offered me encouragement and others asked about how I was and offered assistance in some form (How I must have looked from behind as you past me to warrant this concern I don't know!).

Red Bull Steeple Chase Front Runner

Happy or delirious?

Photo courtesy of George Carman

Anyhow, I learnt a couple of important lessons last weekend.

  • Put the miles in - don't be lazy/silly.
  • Caffeine - yep caffeine can improve performance but it can certainly hinder it. I drink a moderate amount of coffee and am fairly used to using caffeine when racing. However I am sure I unintentionally over did it on this one. I had a couple of Clif Shot Bloks (with caffeine) I use these frequently and think they're great. I also drank 50:50 water/red bull at the aid stations, in preparation I drank this for a few training runs pre race and found it palatable and didn't have any detrimental effects but the sensation I felt come mile 15 was very similar to that I get when I've consumed too much caffeine... I'm not able to think straight and have real trouble functioning. 
    • I will not consume this much caffeine in a  race/or in general ever again!
  • Runners are friendly. I honestly mean this, despite it being a race people took this time and selflessness to check I was alright and not about to drop dead on them.
  • Red Bull know how to organise a race!

Red Bull Steeple Chase Front Runner 1



It was rumoured before the event this would be the final of the Red Bull Steeple Chase runs in the Peak District. I have heard since (rumours) that this might not be the case and the race might be held every other year... a fantastic idea in my opinion, it keeps the race sought after, it reduces the negative impacts of such a race but still brings with it all the positives.

Roll on 2016! 


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