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Jack Gammon: Journey to UTMB - Part X

Jack Gammon: Journey to UTMB - Part X

EmergencyThe blog I was hoping not to write.

‘Look at me!?’ All dressed up in my fancy new waterproof and nowhere to go.

Well that’s not entirely true. I’ve got somewhere rather wonderful to go, I just can’t get there...

Oh yes I can!...‘can I?’… I just can’t get back?… Er… No, that’s not right… ‘Anybody want to tell me what the rules are?’… Hang on! …  PCR tests on the way in and the way out?…‘Got It!’ ‘We can do that’...’Hold on!?’ Amber plus!?...’What the Hell’s that?’… Just for France you say?… 


Stop Le bus… It’s time for a chat.

A few of you might remember a few ‘blogs’ ago I was deep into some of my tried and tested metaphor hammering, a dog was chasing a squirrel (Me/Dog-Squirrel/UTMB). It was classic stuff. I don’t expect you all to have read it, but suffice to say that the squirrel has got away Dear XMilers. In fact worse it’s worse than that, he is sat in a tree in Chamonix sticking his little furry fingers up at me whilst watching UTMB explode beautifully around him.

To cut a long story short, we are not going to UTMB in August. We have wriggled and jiggled for months now trying to book our adventure. Bee has diligently booked multiple sets of flights only to have them cancelled over and over again with no notice.

We looked into travelling to France overground by car, we even looked into begging or borrowing a camper van and being masters of our own destiny that way. The only reply we had was off some rather wonderful friends of ours who have a very beautiful old VW bus that they kindly offered, but the idea of climbing over the tallest mountains in Western Europe in a very beautiful but slightly older VW van that didn't belong long to us was too stressful even for us. Cheers though boys! We will always remember your offer.

It eventually became apparent that it wasn’t the journey itself, or indeed being in France that was the problem, it was the quarantine issues on our return. We already have (had) 14 days booked off for our trip, and with the new Amber+ rules in place it would mean another 10 days quarantine on our return which, with active hands on jobs we just can’t do. 

Bee and I were drinking our breakfast cuppas the other day and half watching the early morning news, still wrestling in our minds a little trying to work out what was the best thing to do…

I switched channels and caught the tail end of a sentence from a reporter who was stood at a deserted Heathrow.


I contacted ‘S’ in the UTMB press office immediately. ‘S’ has been my guardian angel throughout all of this and there was a definite feeling of the same resigned sadness to our conversation. ‘S’ pulled a lot of strings to get me into UTMB, she said YES to a guy she’d never met before when she could have just as easily said NO. She took a chance on me just like I took a chance on the race happening. It seems I have lost my little gamble but ‘S’ on the other hand was wonderful and has assured me that she will defer my place and do all she can to help me catch that cheeky French squirrel next year.

There will be Brits at this year’s UTMB I’m sure, but everybody's situation is different, and if you live on your own, or work from home and can soak up 10 days quarantine and all the testing then why not?… But for us?… I’m reminded of Jeff Goldblum as the scientist from the film Jurassic Park

‘Your scientists spent so much time thinking about whether they could make dinosaurs they forgot to consider whether they should

Now as cool as it would be, I’m not making any dinosaurs, but it is definitely becoming clear to me over the last week or so that even if we could get to France this year and as sad as it is to scupper my own adventures maybe we shouldn’t.

I’m super disappointed not be going to UTMB and wanted to thank you both my loyal readers for joining me on this adventure. Writing for XMiles has been a blast and if you’ve enjoyed any of this twaddle half as much as I’ve enjoyed writing it then its been worthwhile. Maybe Anthony will let me jump back in again next year and see where we find ourselves? If so, I hope to write again for you and promise to go to blog writing school between then and now. 

Not going to UTMB is rubbish. I was really looking forward to the trip of a lifetime, But I find myself not specifically sad about not going to the race, but more sad about the state we find ourselves in that is stopping me going. That said though, Good things happen all around you gang. Look out for them and we’ll get through this pickle together.

I hear Parkrun has started again? Maybe I’ll pop down there, see some old friends and see what 3 months of intense mountain training and slow running has done to my 5k time!

Look after yourselves Gang and I hope to speak to you all again next year sometime.

For those of who were wondering… my groin is a lot better.

Thanks for asking.

Jack x

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