Trail Blazing Peter Bell gives his BHR the ‘ultimate test’

The Marathon Man Peter Bell is back again to tell of another fantastic achievement for him and his BHR that will be 10 years old this December. Peter took on the gruelling Inca Trail Marathon in June 2016. Here is Peter’s story…

It has been just about 2 years since my last blog, which included my experiences at the Kilimanjaro trail marathon.

I have during this period experienced increased pain in my right knee which has medial cartilage loss, and additionally a grumbling right hip, which has limited training somewhat.

Meanwhile my resurfaced left hip gives me no bother at all. My plan was to hopefully get another extreme marathon completed in my quest for the Grand Slam: 7 marathons in 7 continents.

Once again I amended my training routine which concentrated on cycling many miles of hilly County Donegal roads and trails and running hill sprints of approx 8km in length. The shorter more frequent runs seemed to work better for me and I once again reached Elite standard.

Peter Bell at Machu Picchu

Peter Bell at Machu Picchu

So in January this year I decided to enter the Inca Trail marathon. I made this choice tailored to my strengths as a mountain runner in that I am a strong climber. This race has over 10,000 ft of elevation gain and loss, so was just perfect for me. The bit I did not like is that the whole route is Inca stones, very uneven and in excess of 6000 steps all uneven and many with steep risers.

Next came the climbs of which the highest was 13800ft, followed by a very steep descent, then the next summit around 13,000ft followed by a third, the rest of the course undulating to the finish line. Starting at the back of the field I started to warm up nicely and mostly picked off competitors on the ascents. As expected knee pain kicked in after 10 miles or so, but I took advice from one of the competitors, an ultra running American GP and took a total of 800mg Brufen prior and during race.

At midway point I was told at aid stations I was sitting in third place and feeling strong, the leaders 20 minutes ahead. These guys were exactly half my age! At 19 miles I was told I was gaining, but my old legs were tired of this relentless pounding and at that point experienced my only negative period of the race and stopped to take on a gel an another Brufen. Remember I do not train at these distances and expected this to happen. At 22 miles there was no stopping me and I flew to the finish line. The 2 guys in front of me had decided to come in together as they were killing themselves to beat each other and were so physically matched. I was the next man in, just 6mins behind and catching to take 2nd place in what has to be the hardest physical challenge in my 50 years running.

Peter Bell - Inca Trail Marathon Results

The Inca Trail Marathon 2016 Results showing Peter in 3rd place

Yes, for sure I was elated and so pleased with this result. Well worth my careful training schedule and lucky I finished it with no injury and my knee feeling not too bad.

Well is this not the ultimate test of a McMinn Hip Resurfacing? I believe it must be due to the race course surface. And additionally I did not experience any discomfort from either the joint or surrounding soft tissue.

So it’s time to rest up just a little my next event being the World Masters short distance uphill mountain run in Italy when I run in the Irish team late August. This Inca Trail marathon was only possible with smart training so it pays off to listen to the body.

In December it will be 10 fabulous years of my resurfaced Hip. In this time I have achieved more athletic wins and ran for the national team than I did in the 40 years prior. I will have now plenty of time to plan my next extreme event but more on that later…

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