Page 1 of 2 :

This project blog »

Bookmarks

Other blogs by Veronique Chance

Feedback Feedback

Inappropriate material?
Ideas? Technical issues?
» Feedback to a-n

Project blogs

The Great Orbital Ultra Run

By: Veronique Chance

On Monday 5th March 2012 I will leave the Premier Inn, Thurrock West close to the M25 to begin The Great Orbital Ultra Run. Running anti-clockwise, close to the boundary, I hope to complete the circuit in 9 days. This will be relayed live to the Stephen Lawrence Gallery, University of Greenwich for an exhibition taking place from 1st -31st March 2012 (PV Thursday1st March). Next post Sunday 4th March.

click to expand/collapse 

Veronique Chance, 'Gallery View of 'The Great Orbital Ultra Run.''.

[enlarge]
Veronique Chance, 'Gallery View of 'The Great Orbital Ultra Run.''.

# 12 [25 March 2012]

Closing View: 'The Great Orbital Ultra Run' (Exhibition: Evil Sport and Ultra Run)

 Please join me for a closing view of the exhibition at the Stephen Lawrence Gallery, University of Greenwich.

Saturday 31st March 2-4pm

where you’ll be able to see an archive version of the live event.

Hope you can make it.  This will also be a fundraising event for Mind, the mental heath charity for my participation in the 2012 London Marathon, my next running venture.

If you can’t make it or even if you can you can also sponsor me at:  http://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/veroniquechance

Many thanks to those who have done so already.

Hope to see you there

 Address: Stephen Lawrence Gallery, Queen Anne Court, University of Greenwich, Old Naval College, Park Row, Greenwich, London, SE10 9LS

Buses: 129, 177, 180, 188, 199, 286, 386

Rail: Cutty Sark DLR, Greenwich and Maze Hill stations

 

 

Veronique Chance, 'The Great Orbital Ultra Run (Gallery View)'.

[enlarge]
Veronique Chance, 'The Great Orbital Ultra Run (Gallery View)'.

Veronique Chance, 'The Great Orbital Ultra Run (Detail)'.

[enlarge]
Veronique Chance, 'The Great Orbital Ultra Run (Detail)'.

Veronique Chance, 'The Great Orbital Ultra Run (Detail)'.

[enlarge]
Veronique Chance, 'The Great Orbital Ultra Run (Detail)'.

Veronique Chance, 'The Great Orbital Ultra Run (Detail)'.

[enlarge]
Veronique Chance, 'The Great Orbital Ultra Run (Detail)'.

Veronique Chance, 'The Great Orbital Ultra Run (Etching)'.

[enlarge]
Veronique Chance, 'The Great Orbital Ultra Run (Etching)'.

# 11 [20 March 2012]

Posting this a week after I completed the run. It's been a strange old time with mixed feelings and emotions: exhaustion, part relief that it's over, amazement that I managed it, and a feeling that there's something missing. After having this strict routine and specific purpose to everyday in getting from A to B by whatever means, a kind of emptiness has set in and I feel that something is missing. It feels odd to be back and although I was away for just 10 days in all, this odd existence of staying in different motels every night has left its mark on me. For the first 3 nights I didn't sleep, partly from over-tiredness and partly from my limbs aching when lying still. It was difficult to find a comfortable position without some stiffness setting in after just a few minutes- although I needed to rest, I guess my limbs had got used to moving in a certain way and a certain amount every day. I've also been having strange thoughts or dreams in my half-sleep of continually trying to find pathways and routes- I guess my mind has remained active too and has not yet recovered from negotiating and figuring these out. 

I've tried to get back to normal as quickly as possible but I'm realising that perhaps I'm taking it too quickly as last night and today I've felt particularly tired and a little emotional. I suppose I haven't really allowed myself to rest that much: Wednesday, the day after the run was a complete rest day, but I still had to make it home from Dartford, the last stop. Then as other work commitments started coming in on Thursday evening (my evening class) and Friday (my teaching day at Camberwell), I just got on with it.

Aside from that I was eager to get to the Stephen Lawrence Gallery in Greenwich where I'm showing this work until the end of the month to talk to David Waterworth, the curator about how an archived version of the run would work. We'd also talked about making a display of clothing and items I'd used for the project to give visitors further insight into the project. I was eager to get this up and running (no pun intended!) as soon as possible, so there would be as little gap as possible between the live run and its archived equivalent. So we had a meeting last Thursday and I also talked to Matt Watkins who has been working on the interface about how soon the archive would be ready. I cycled there to keep my limbs moving gently.

A weekend away and I was back in the gallery yesterday morning to set things up. David had found me two display plinths with perspex tops, which were perfect for what I wanted and away from the gallery Matt was just finishing tweaking the archived version. I really appreciate the amount of work he's put into this, so I didn't want to push him. I also took some more stills and video footage of the exhibition installation. (see images).  

Tried my first run on Sunday whilst I was away in Salford, along the river Irwell. Beautiful morning and beautiful run- took it gently, just 3 or 4 miles. Felt okay and I think I was wise not to do more. I tried a longer run this morning. I was aiming for about 10 miles, but decided to stop at 8.5 as I was starting to feel it in my legs and the back of my left heel. Not pain, just twinges. Felt fine, but it's left me quite exhausted and I've found it difficult to do much today. 

After a few false starts at the gallery this morning the archived version of the run is now working. It's playing at a speed of 1 second for every 30 seconds of real time so that you can see the movement of the GPS tracking. I'm not sure about this. I think it should probably be playing in real time to preserve the integrity of the live event, so it may change. But take a look at:

www.toomanylegs.com (click on archive map)

Veronique Chance, 'Still Following the Motorway'.

[enlarge]
Veronique Chance, 'Still Following the Motorway'.

Veronique Chance, 'The Steep Climb of the Ridgeway'.

[enlarge]
Veronique Chance, 'The Steep Climb of the Ridgeway'.

Veronique Chance, 'Public Footpath Signs'.

[enlarge]
Veronique Chance, 'Public Footpath Signs'.

Veronique Chance, 'The Infamous Junction 2'.

[enlarge]
Veronique Chance, 'The Infamous Junction 2'.

Veronique Chance, 'Final Destination: The Holiday Inn Express, Dartford'.

[enlarge]
Veronique Chance, 'Final Destination: The Holiday Inn Express, Dartford'.

# 10 [13 March 2012]

Leg 9: Days Inn, Clacket Lane Services, Nr. Sevenoaks to the Holiday Inn Express, Dartford.

I'm adding to this 24hrs later, after having had a day of much needed rest. I arrived at the hotel yesterday pretty exhausted but relieved to have made it. The day started off pretty well- it helped to have had an easier and shorter run the previous day and meeting up with my parents did wonders for my morale. I started off the day feeling resfreshed, eager to start and to get the whole thing over and done with.

The weather was coolish and the conditions felt good for what I knew would be a long day. I waved my parents 'goodbye' and found a bridge to cross back to the other side of the motorway to continue my run. The first 6 miles until Junction 5 were relatively easy - no major obstacles and some fairly easy ground through woodland and easily accessible open fields, some of which were also public footpaths. I also took advantage of some small roads that ran parrallel to the motorway and would give me easier running ground and quicken the pace. I had a bit of disorientation around some woodland getting round Junction 5, but nothing I had not already experienced. One thing that has been invaluable in all of this has been my reserve mobile 'phone, which I've used to navigate my way round using the GPS. I couldn't have done without it and it saved me a huge amount of time.

I can't remember whether it was at this junction or the next that I saw a public footpath going through some woodland that seemed to be going parallel to a road adjacent to the motorway, where there was no walkway to speak of. I took the footpath and found myself walking further and further upward until I reached a steep ridge. I was concerned that I was going off track and about the energy and time I was taking up walking up a walkway that seemed to be getting more and more steep. I decided to keep going and eventually the path levelled out and rejoined the road I need to be on, which was welcome respite and helped me gain some time. 

Moving through Junctions 3 and 4 was not too bad- by then I was just focussed on getting on nearer to my destination. I had some difficulty getting around a plethora of paddocks that were quite small and where I had to negotiate several electric fences. Luckily I found that I could pass under them without touching the current. However after passing through a few I came to a dead end with a riding school in progress but luckily found a small pathway instead that ran alongside and actually saved me more time. 

The rest was a mix of accessible pathways, more barbed wire fences and some small roads. I was making steady progress until I hit Junction 2 at the intersection of the M25 with the M2. Coming up out from a wooded area, I found myself face to face with a huge crossway of different impassable and uncrossable roads with no means of crossing and several lanes at rush-hour. I could see where I needed to be over the other side and I contemplated crossing, but after hestating I chickened out. This meant backtracking and a detour of at least a mile. This was so frustrating and disheartening as by then I was only about 2 or 3miles away. However, following the road through I found it was a direct route to Dartford and my eventual destination of the Holiday Inn Express. The final route up through a council estate as it got dark seemed to be the longest road ever and eventually I caught the neon lights of the hotel on my horizon. After trying to find the entrance I was finally in. I can't tell you how good it felt to have finally completed the run and to think that after 9 days running I would not be doing it the next day.

Please check for next post in another couple of days for images from the gallery.

 

Veronique Chance, 'Morning Mist Over the Woods'.

[enlarge]
Veronique Chance, 'Morning Mist Over the Woods'.

Veronique Chance, 'Another Naughty No Tresspass Sign'.

[enlarge]
Veronique Chance, 'Another Naughty No Tresspass Sign'.

Veronique Chance, 'Shadow of Artist Clambering Over a Fence'.

[enlarge]
Veronique Chance, 'Shadow of Artist Clambering Over a Fence'.

Veronique Chance, 'Motorway Bridge from Adjacent Field'.

[enlarge]
Veronique Chance, 'Motorway Bridge from Adjacent Field'.

Veronique Chance, 'Days Inn Motel, Clacket Lane Motorway Services'.

[enlarge]
Veronique Chance, 'Days Inn Motel, Clacket Lane Motorway Services'.

# 9 [12 March 2012]

Leg 8: The Bridge House Hotel, Reigate to Days Inn, Clacket Lane Motorway Services, Nr. Sevenoaks (13.2 miles approx.)

A much better day today. I ended last night feeling pretty low mainly due to tiredness after a particularly long day. Thankfully I knew today was going to be a much shorter and more straightforward run with only 2 junctions to negotiate (or 3 if you count the one I was coming off at the start). I think the knowledge that this run was going to be alot shorter helped my morale and I decided not to wear my jacket as it looked like it was going to be a very warm day (a good decision as it turned out). A few minor fights with barbed wire fences near the beginning (including one where a branch sprang back at me unexpectedly and whacked me in the face on my nose quite painfully), and one minor detour around some very aggressive no entry signs. Otherwise a pretty straight forward journey, mainly through farmland and woodland- a few electric fences to negotiate near paddocks, but found a way to get through the gaps without touching the electrified ribbons. 

At one point I thought I would have to cross a small railway line, which I don't like to do but have done if there is no other way round. I was about to cross this one when I spotted a couple of guys with orange fluorescent jackets on on the other side of the line. I'm not sure if they saw me but I retreated back into the woods hastily to try and think of another way across. The last thing I want is a hefty fine for trespassing on the railway. Luckily as I followed the line up through the wood I noticed that it went through a tunnel underneath, so I could get across relatively easily after all. It was worth the slight detour. 

Although I was going over much easier ground, I found it very difficult to do much running as my limbs are starting to feel very heavy now. I did my best to try intermittently to keep things moving and to try and quicken my journey, but I was also preserving some energy for my last and final run tomorrow, which is the longest and up hill by all accounts. I doubt I will be really running that much of it , although I will try at least in parts. On another note, I'm a little concerned about my camera relay as it was playing up and kept stopping intermittently today. Just as well I kept checking or there would have been no images to the gallery or to the 'phone.

It was good to see the sign for the next services even at 4miles away- at that point it didn't seem so far- some interweaving through some woodland and more fields mainly and the 1 mile sign for Clacket Lane Services came up very quickly.

My parents decided to pay me a visit to wish me well on my last day and have booked a room here too. It was good to see them and to spend a relaxing evening with them. It also made a huge difference getting here earlier (before 4pm)- I was able to completely wind down and relax for a few hours before they got here.   

It's exciting to think that I'm finally reaching the end and that although it's not over yet I feel very close to the end and that is a great feeling. The whole thing has been quite strange and I've gone through some very mixed emotions, but I would have been without doing it in the way that I have with dogged determination. Next post will be when it's all over.

Veronique Chance, 'A Promising Path Through the Woods'.

[enlarge]
Veronique Chance, 'A Promising Path Through the Woods'.

Veronique Chance, 'A Tricky Fence'.

[enlarge]
Veronique Chance, 'A Tricky Fence'.

Veronique Chance, 'Just Before Wading Through Some Brambles'.

[enlarge]
Veronique Chance, 'Just Before Wading Through Some Brambles'.

Veronique Chance, 'Last Image At Dusk'.

[enlarge]
Veronique Chance, 'Last Image At Dusk'.

Veronique Chance, 'The Bridge House Hotel the Next Morning'.

[enlarge]
Veronique Chance, 'The Bridge House Hotel the Next Morning'.

# 8 [12 March 2012]

Leg 7: Brooklands Hotel, Weybridge to The Bridge House Hotel, Reigate (17.2 miles approx.)

Starting this post just before Midnight after a very long day- the longest yet. I didn't get in until about 7 and it was already dark. I don't know if it was long because of the difficulties I had to encounter (several false turns and detours and a really long encounter with some brambles), or whether at day 7 I'm starting to slow down, or a combination of both-I'm really starting to feel it now. Also struggling at times to keep up my morale as I'm pretty tired (I also didn't sleep too well last night- my limbs, particularly my calves felt really stiff and tight and I couldn't get comfortable). Although I'm really pleased with the way the project has been going, it's getting tedious now and I'm losing my momentum and enthusiasm that I had at the beginning. I just want to finish now and I will- only two more runs left to go! 

The day started well enough, although I knew there would be several junctions, some of them particularly tricky or envolving some lengthy detours. The worst was at Junction 9 outside Leatherhead, an extended dual junction where although the approaches were A roads there were no crossings or paths to speak of. Generally the whole day was quite difficult with very few accessible pathways through (designated or not) and several dead-ends. The warm weather was not helpful either as I need to keep layers on to protect myself from sharp encounters with thorns and barbed wire. (having already ripped my shorts and my jacket sleeve and made a hole in my leggings- I need to preserve what I have left).

Contrary to previously however, the last part of the day was alot better and I managed to find a way through some interconnecting woodland for the last few miles. Slow, but at least there was a way through- that is, right up until the last half mile when I had to clamber over some fencing. Because of all the detours I'd had to do in the earlier part of the day and also the long fight with the brambles, which also wasted a significant amount of time, it was getting dark as I made my way through the last wood. I wasn't scared, just concerned about my visibility if it got too dark. By then all my equipment had started to pack in with the batteries running very low or not at all. It seemed like I was never going to get there.

I was so relieved when I finally caught a glimpse of the motorway sign for Junction 8 and for Reigate indicating the turn off a mile away.

Tomorrow thank-goodness is a shorter run at an estimated 13.5 miles- I really hope it's not much longer (most runs thus far have been at least 2 or 3 miles more). At least I only have 2 junctions to negotiate- a major one at the M25/M23 interchange (junction 7) and relatively minor one with an A Road at Junction 6.

Right now, i'm going to have a second bath just to ease my poor aching body before I go to bed. Goodnight.

Veronique Chance, 'The Nice Ladies Who Showed Me The Way.'.

[enlarge]
Veronique Chance, 'The Nice Ladies Who Showed Me The Way.'.

Veronique Chance, 'Near Heathrow'.

[enlarge]
Veronique Chance, 'Near Heathrow'.

Veronique Chance, 'Private Property Sign (The bit before the crossing of the Brook).'.

[enlarge]
Veronique Chance, 'Private Property Sign (The bit before the crossing of the Brook).'.

Veronique Chance, 'Using My Branch to Test the Depth of the Brook'.

[enlarge]
Veronique Chance, 'Using My Branch to Test the Depth of the Brook'.

Veronique Chance, 'The Brooklands Hotel'.

[enlarge]
Veronique Chance, 'The Brooklands Hotel'.

# 7 [11 March 2012]

Leg 6: Tower Arms Hotel, Iver to Brooklands Hotel, Weybridge (15.5 miles approx., or should have been).

Wrting this from my plush room at the Brooklands Hotel, which is next door to the Mercedes Benz Museum and a far cry from last night's cosy down to earth accommodation at the pub in Iver. A bit too corporate and ostentatious for my liking really but very comfortable and good to indulge in what I wouldn't normally. All done in a very chic 'art deco' style to reflect the founding of the Brooklands car racing track (the world's first purpose-built car racing track) on which this hotel stands. 

Started off quite early, around 10.30, knowing that the 15.5 miles I'd estimated was a bit ambitious as I had 5 junctions to get through, the first being a major one, the M25/M4 interchange at Junction 15. After a bit of a false start (a dead end in a riding school's field, I managed to get some good directions from the owners and was on my way across a heath that is apparently popular with runners (didn't see any but saw several walkers). This took me round the interchange no problem and also through to the next junction (no.14) at Heathrow, most of which was quite straight forward- again some public heathland with several footpaths and bridleways. Running was not too bad, but I went steadily to preserve my energy.

The junction I'd been fearing the most was number 13 after the Staines turn off, because of a stretch of water, which it seemed from my 'Google earth' research, would necessitate a big detour to get across. In the event, it was amazingly simple as the main bridge had a footpath along it. Unfortunately, this did not reflect in what followed and I found myself in the second half of my journey increasingly frustrated by dead-ends, false turns and inaccessible barriers that even I in my dogged resilience was unable to negotiate. This invitably took up alot of time and energy, especially since it was quite a warm day. The 15.5 miles I thought I was going to do soon turned into 18, 19, probably 20 miles in the end.

Not too many life-threatening adventures this time- apart from having to cross a small brook after having partially tresspassed on private land (so I could not go back). Luckily for me, this time it was not boggy- quick-sinking mud, but it was unpredictably deep in places, so I was rather nervous about venturing across. Too wide to jump, I eventually noticed a small island of solid mud/rock in the middle, which I would be able to reach and with the aid of a branch to guage the depth I managed to jump onto it. But I was only half way- I still had to jump to the other side. I reached for the branch I'd used and tentatively tested the depth with it and also with my own feet. Initially it seemed impossibly deep- my feet reached into a void- however, to my right I could see some solid rocks below the surface, which meant that at that point the water was more shallow. So I was able to step on that (as it was the depth was up to my knees), and get across to the other side- phew! 

Following that I knew it wasn't too far to my destination- just a treck through a heathway and some small housing estates before reaching the Byfleet road that would take me into Byfleet and to Brooklands. A very frustrating route though- which emphasised an over reliance and emphasis on cars as the route to the hotel, basically was a circular bypass surrounding the town. Maybe this is deliberate given the homage to the Mercedes Benz that Brooklands basically is. It felt quite strange as a runner approaching this environment and as I entered this newly-built corporate glass building in my muddy clothes and shoes, there was something quite satisfying about the fact that I did not really fit in.

 

Veronique Chance, 'Another Electric Fence'.

[enlarge]
Veronique Chance, 'Another Electric Fence'.

Veronique Chance, 'On the Verge of the Motorway'.

[enlarge]
Veronique Chance, 'On the Verge of the Motorway'.

Veronique Chance, 'The Underside of the Motorway'.

[enlarge]
Veronique Chance, 'The Underside of the Motorway'.

Veronique Chance, 'Some Difficult Terrain'.

[enlarge]
Veronique Chance, 'Some Difficult Terrain'.

Veronique Chance, 'The Tower Arms Hotel'.

[enlarge]
Veronique Chance, 'The Tower Arms Hotel'.

# 6 [9 March 2012]

Leg 5: Premier Inn, Kings Langley to The Tower Arms Hotel, Iver. (17.9 miles approx.)

Today's leg was the second longest so really tested my endurance and boy did I feel it. I ended up coming in just as it was starting to get dark, tired, thirsty and hungry.

The day started well- I found a good route out of Kings Langley at Junction 20, avoiding an otherwise unpassable (without a great detour) stretch of water. The terrain was fairly stable and I was running slowly but steadily, first through some fields and a stretch of grass just inside from the motorway and then finding some good stretches of public footpaths and bridleways. Relatively straight forward I thought- the first half of the journey went pretty smoothly bar an electrified fence shock and some guy stopping on the hard shoulder to ask me what I was doing on the grassway on the other side. Either he was being nosey or he was a plain-clothes policeman, but I decided to get out of the way and managed to climb over a fence into some woodland to continue. The rest went pretty smoothly and I thought I was making good time- I passed through Junctions 19, 18 and 17 it seemed in no time and I rather naiively thought I might get here early.

Things started to slow down significantly on the approach to the big Junction 16 (not too far, I thought from my destination). I had anticipated this as it's the M25/M40 interchange and a huge scary junction. I had figured out that I would have to work my way alongside the M40 going south briefly to find a road crossing that would take me to the other side, where I could get back to the M25 again.

I initially found some footpaths and bridleways that seem to partially go in the right direction, then I found myself on a heathland and semi-enclosed in a filed next to the road I needed to get onto. After finally crossing over 2 barbed wire fences I was on my way. I can't remember if it was just before that or just following that I lost track of a footpath and was going to continue alongside the grass verge of the motorway when I saw I traffic police car approach the verge and stop. I figured it was for me and I calmly let two policemen approach me. I explained that I had lost my path. They laughed and actually told me a good tip about a route to get onto.

Unfortunately this didn't last long and I spend much of the rest of the journey negotiating private farm land and scrubland and climbing over alot of small barbed wire fences to keep alongside the motorway. I had thought that I would be crossing public park land and nature reserves- it was all rather disappointing and much further than I had thought. In the middle of all of this I nearly got attacked by a rotweiler that was loose inside an open gateway. As soon as I tried to pass it began barking aggressively and bounded over towards me. I froze thinking that was it- that I was going to be mauled, but luckily he went back, but I was completely stuck, he was not going to let me pass. My only way out was to climb over  a wire fence behind me. I was petrified and almost in tears, but relieved I managed to get out of the situation. I was very angry too at such irresponsible owners.

After all that and some more trudging through overgrown heathland I managed to locate the road I needed to turn off- quite a long stretch down to the hotel, but a welcome respite of a warm cosy country pub greeted me when I finally arrived.

I will sleep well tonight- tomorrow a shorter run but another tricky junction: the M25/M4 interchange.

The good news in the midst of all of this is that all is well its seems at the gallery and everything tracking and images are working and getting through. So all of this must be worthwhile and I'm now over halfway- Hooray!

 

Veronique Chance, 'An Open Pathway'.

[enlarge]
Veronique Chance, 'An Open Pathway'.

Veronique Chance, 'A No Entry Notice'.

[enlarge]
Veronique Chance, 'A No Entry Notice'.

Veronique Chance, 'An Electric Fence'.

[enlarge]
Veronique Chance, 'An Electric Fence'.

Veronique Chance, 'The M25/M1/North-Circular Interchange'.

[enlarge]
Veronique Chance, 'The M25/M1/North-Circular Interchange'.

Veronique Chance, 'The Premier Inn, Kings Langley'.

[enlarge]
Veronique Chance, 'The Premier Inn, Kings Langley'.

# 5 [8 March 2012]

Leg 4: Days Inn, South Mimms Services, Potters Bar to Premier Inn, Kings Langley (12.9 miles approx.)

Today couldn't have been more different than yesterday. Woke up to a dry and sunny day, which bode well for the rest of what was to come. Having worked out my exit point from South Mimms Services, I realised that I could get back on the footpath I'd come in on and continue along it round past the back of the complex, following it round to a road that would cross over the A1 approach to junction 23, leading me to a small B road that would take me back across to the otherside the M25 just beyond the junction. From this relatively straightforward start followed a relatively straight forward journey for at least half of the distance. Contrary to the difficulties experienced yesterday, I found an abundance of open pathways and accessible bridleways that seemed almost too good to be true- and one alternative 'orbital' path that partially went alongside the motorway- amazing! This is how it should be, I thought (although part of me can't help wanting to have the satisafaction of having to negotiate those boundaries and challenges). Unfortunately there was still the presence of land ownership with the very marked presence of aggressive no entry signs and electric fences alongside the open footpaths just to make sure one does not accidentally stray off path. The relative ease of the journey was a great relief as i was still recovering from the hardship of the previous day. It was good to have a bit of an opportunity to recouperate and I made sure that despite the easier route that I didn't go full pelt on running- more a mix of running and walking to preserve both my strength and my muscles for tomorrow, which is a longer run.

Having crossed Junction 22 with surprising ease, I approached Junction 21A and 21 with trepidation as I knew that this is where the M1 crosses the M25 and one of the biggest junctions. I had already figured out a way round by working out a route along a field following the M1 south to the North Circular where I could cross over to the other side. When it came to it it was quite confusing, and I began to think that I was heading North up the M1 rather than South. I should have trusted my better judgment as I eventually found that I was going the right way all along. Once i had crossed over and worked my way back up towards the M25 again, I found another public footpath to make my life easier for a bit. I knew that the rest of the journey would not be too long now.

Heading across the edge of a field between some small woods I thought I'd hit the path I would need to take to the other side to reach my destination, but I wasn't sure. I took a risk and headed through a short tunnel that went under the motorway only to realise shortly afterwards that I had come off too early. However, it wasn't too much of a disaster as I could see that a footpath was running parallel to the motorway onto a road that would take me back across to the other side. From then on I knew that it would only be a short distance through the next field to find the path I needed. Then it was just a case of following a small B road into Kings Langley and onto my destination at the top end of the town the Premier Inn. 

 

Veronique Chance, 'The Shorts Tearing Culprit'.

[enlarge]
Veronique Chance, 'The Shorts Tearing Culprit'.

Veronique Chance, 'Bridge Over the Lee Navigation Canal'.

[enlarge]
Veronique Chance, 'Bridge Over the Lee Navigation Canal'.

Veronique Chance, 'The Wall I had to Climb Over'.

[enlarge]
Veronique Chance, 'The Wall I had to Climb Over'.

Veronique Chance, 'The Sign for South Mimms'.

[enlarge]
Veronique Chance, 'The Sign for South Mimms'.

Veronique Chance, 'Days Inn Motel, South Mimms Services'.

[enlarge]
Veronique Chance, 'Days Inn Motel, South Mimms Services'.

# 4 [8 March 2012]

Leg 3: The Bell Hotel, Great Western, Epping to Days Inn, South Mimms Services, Potters Bar (16.6 miles approx.)

Feeling pretty exhausted- today was the most arduous (and longest) yet. On the good side I think I encountered everything I'll possibly encounter in terms of difficulty- I don't think it will get much harder than this. It also brought to home the problematics of land boundaries and public access (or not), most of which is so unnecessary and actually quite barbaric with over use of barbed wire fences and deliberately cultivated overgrown bramble hedges. Also very few public footpaths or footpaths suddenly appearing out of nowhere or equally suddenly disappearing. On top of that I knew that I was going to have to make a bit of a detour near to Waltham Abbey due to the Lee Navigation Waterway/Canal which I was going to have to cross, which meant heading south a bit and following the canal to find a crossing and then moving back up again to continue to follow the motorway.

The day was not without its challenges either starting with steady rain, which bar a couple of glimpses of sunshine later on was pretty steady. This meant getting quite wet quite early on and having to contend with running in fields of very soft, clingy mud- not an easy task and very heavy on the foot.

Other difficulties were mainly due to the boundary issue- very early on in order to be able to follow the motorway I entered some scrub/woodland only to find myself unable to go any further without clambering over a wire fence to get to a wooded area adjacent to the motorway.  There was no option but to climb over it. In the event my shorts got caught on a prong at the top and in order to enable myself to get unstuck I had to just pull away, ripping my shorts in the process. So relieved was I to get over, I didn't realise that the zip on my rucksack must have come undone and crossing into the next field I became suddenly aware that my things were falling out of my bag as I was running at an alarming rate!

Later after finally finding my way round the Lee Navigation Waterway and finding my way back to the edge of the motorway, I came to a dead end with some very high metal fencing and padlocked exit next to a warehouse building adjacent to a large Tesco store on the other side. Unable to go back as I had just intreppedly crossed over a bridge over a railway line on a walkway right next to the traffic, I found myself completely stuck. The fence was far too high and impossible to climb with no footholds to speak of. The only possibility seemed to be a concrete wall next to the gated exit, which gave onto the street on the other side but this also was fairly high and there was nothing there to use as a foothold to enable me to hauk myself up and over. After trying to knock on a couple of closed doors to no avail, I spotted a youngish Tesco employee who was making his way towards the gate. I called over to him and explained my dilemma. After some persuasion, he finally agreed to give me a hand or rather a foot up on his hand so that I could get onto the wall and he also helped me down the other side onto the street. Goodness knows what he must have thought but good on him for trusting me and 'thank-you' whoever you are!

All of this and also a longer distance inevitably slowed me down somewhat and I didn't make it to the motel until close to 5pm. Also, my anticipated distance had been 16.6miles, but in reality it was closer to 18 or 19 miles. Was I glad to see the motorway sign for South Mimms when I finally saw it!

Tomorrow's run is thankfully potentially shorter at a mere 12.7 miles. Hopefully the journey will be easier than today's, but who knows?...

Veronique Chance, 'Next to the M25'.

[enlarge]
Veronique Chance, 'Next to the M25'.

Veronique Chance, 'Boundary Fence'.

[enlarge]
Veronique Chance, 'Boundary Fence'.

Veronique Chance, 'Traversing a Golf Course'.

[enlarge]
Veronique Chance, 'Traversing a Golf Course'.

Veronique Chance, 'The Bell Hotel, Best Western, Epping'.

[enlarge]
Veronique Chance, 'The Bell Hotel, Best Western, Epping'.

Veronique Chance, 'Screen Grab of 'The Great Orbital Ultra Run' Interface showing GPS tracking and image'.

[enlarge]
Veronique Chance, 'Screen Grab of 'The Great Orbital Ultra Run' Interface showing GPS tracking and image'.

# 3 [6 March 2012]

Leg 2: Brentwood Holiday Inn to The Bell Hotel, Great Western, Epping (12.9 miles, approx.)

I've survived day two and am writing this post from my executive suite room at the Bell Hotel near Epping. Got here shortly before 3pm, so managed the trek in about the same time as yesterday despite it being a couple of miles longer. This was mainly due to it being a much more straight forward journey (no boggy streams to cross this time) and the fact that the wind had dropped significantly.

Also much more straight forward territory overall- still a few brambles and thickets to negotiate but also alot of golf courses, which made things alot easier, despite a few mounds and hillocks to climb. Also had to negiotiate a few closed boundaries: fences, hedges and padlocked gates that were supposedly public access and that should have been accessible. I got over them anyway; there's no stopping me now.

I've decided by now that this won't be a full-on run and to preserve my energy and also myself my pace is pretty slow and also by necessity incorporates a bit of walking at times. After all, I am carrying a rucksack, which although small does carry some weight and will inevitably slow me down.

Started a bit later than I intended due my bank being stupid and blocking my debit card for no reason. Luckily I brought my credit card for safe measure, which is just as well as that would have stuffed me and the project, especially since I am not exactly near a bank round here. Of course when I 'phoned them they were not exactly helpful. I shall be onto them when I get back- maybe I can entice them to make a charitable donation and to sponsor me as compensation.

As far as I know the live image and GPS worked again (at least I managed to be able to get a sense of it by going to the website when I got here). Apart from having to change batteries again near the end, the stream of images have also been saved to my 'phone successfully, although I'm a bit annoyed by the fact that one of the gloves I took off managed to obscure part of the view finder for about 60 images. Will take more care next time. I also managed some video and sound footage of most of it too (before the batteries ran out), as I managed to salvage one of my recorders from its dip in the boggy stream; the other one is still out of action, at least for now until it dries out. The good thing was that wearing one recording device less on my body made it less of an encumbrance and easier to run. 

I think that's it for now. Will leave you with some images, including a screen-grab of the interface that's showing in the gallery so you can get an idea of how it looks there (minus my drawing of the map underneath). I also have to eat before the restaurant closes at 9.30pm.

Page 1 of 2 :

This project blog »

Veronique Chance

My art practice is mainly photography and video based, but also maintains strong links with sculpture and performance practices. My interests lie in the relationship between the physical presence of the body and its presence as a screen image, through which I examine the impact of visual media technologies on our perceptions of the body as a physical presence. In recent work I have used mobile camera technologies to transmit and record my (dual) eyeviews, whilst performing long distance runs in the outside environment.