The Chester 100 Ultra Marathon
oak by design
oakbydesign
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oak by design
Richard
"Ultra-Marathon - Only 100 Miles"

The Chester 100 Ultra Marathon

Bucket List – Run 100 miles in a day!

Why? – Well, the reasons that come to mind would be for the amazing experience, the tough challenge and knowing that I would become a member of an elite club that less than 0.01% of the population have joined.

ultra marathon

An ultra marathon….any distance greater than marathon.

At 6.00am on Saturday 13th April, I lined up to complete the Chester 100, an off-road race of approximately 104 miles with the aim to complete this in one day. A total of 190 other runners took to the start, looking to follow the canal tow paths and woodland area surrounding the town and villages of Chester, Widnes and Warrington.

With months of training in the bag, the excitement built towards the countdown of the race.  No more training, just the physical and mental challenge of completing the course within the cut off time of 32 hours.  The weather was on our side.  It was cool, cloudy with a light breeze.  

Most ultra-marathons are not about speed, they are about endurance, will power and the pure determination to finish.

Along the beautiful course would be twelve checkpoints or aid stations where the competitors could refill their water bottles and snack of both sweet and savoury snacks provided by the event team (GB Ultras).

The key to endurance events is to pace yourself in the early stages.  Too quick and you will pay the price later on. Running at a conversational pace, I managed to chat to the other runners learning their ‘why’ and the training they had completed.  This distraction saw the first marathon come and go; how hard could it be?

The first three aid stations came and went, where the terrain became more technical and the route decided to follow the water-logged fields coupled with large areas of deep mud and large mis-shaped divots.  The muddy and steep wooded sections were just as challenging making the footing both slippery and unforgiving.  Mile upon mile of challenging terrain followed by endless canal tow paths meant the mental game had begun.

Focusing on eating and drinking plenty at the aid stations, allowed my body to refuel and to complete marathon number two.  They always say a 100-mile race doesn’t really start until mile 70 as this is time when you become fatigued, the sun goes down and your nearest running buddy is somewhere in the distance, front or behind.

The majority of the 5,000 feet of elevation had been completed with a small sting in the tail to come at mile 75.  At 3.00am, having not spoken to, nor seen anyone for a couple of hours, I ventured up the last hill to a lonesome trgi point and admired a view across the Mersey.  It’s all downhill from here my subconscious was saying.  The last aid station, number twelve was a welcome site, knowing I had just over 11 miles to go.  Breaking the run down into manageable pieces make a huge difference knowing each section is a small run.

Upon reaching the finish, a local sports hall, each competitor ran a lap of the running track to eventually cross the finishing line.   There were high emotions of relief and feelings of pride on completing the 104 mile course.  The top 100 finishers were awarded with a gold buckle, something to be treasured and admired. Off the 190 starters, nearly 80 DNF’d and I managed to come home in 33rd place.

My journey wasn’t finished. 

My journey to Chester was enhanced by the complementary use of a motorhome that was parked in a local campsite!  This was situated just over a mile away and therefore, one more mile wasn’t going to hurt.  The motorhome was very kindly offered by Lowdhams of Nottingham, specialists in providing quality caravans and motorhomes.  My wife and I met them at the NEC during a trade fair and they explained they would like to support us over the weekend.  Many thanks Lowdhams.

Running over 100 miles and completing the course was a great experience.  It challenged me in numerous ways, but it was an enjoyable, challenging and emotion rollercoaster that I cannot wait to ride again!

24 April 2024
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Anthony Slater
Anthony Slater

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Ordered an oak mantle beam from Oak by Design and they quickly called to check the finer details. Unfortunatly, the beam was slightly damaged on arrival by the courier company. Oak by Design immediately arranged to have it picked by DHL, transferred back to Yorkshire from Kent, repaired and sent back within 2 days, with no quibbles. The beam is beautiful, as is the high quality customer service by these people. Fully recommend using this company. Anthony Slater, Tonbridge. Tonbridge.

When embarking on a large renovation project assembling the right team of skilled work people is vital. It involves the need for skill, imagination and trust. It was important to us to use a local company and Oak by Design seemed to tick the right boxes although we had not dealt with them or indeed heard of them before. We soon came to realise that the combination of Ben, Billy, Jamie, Matt and MIck ( listed strictly in alphabetical order ) was a great success. Skilled: highly, imaginative: an excellent creative talent, trustworthy: 100% but also such great team players that all the other trades on site benefitted from their cooperation and great good humour. I would endorse the other reviewers who have commented on the quality of the materials used, whether in the replacement windows, the light oak internal doors. the fantastic oak staircase, the secret bookcase and the pièce de résistance: the oak conservatory. It has been a great project and much of that I attribute to the work of Oak by Design. A big thank you to you all.

Posting on behalf of my Mother in Law, Shirley Abbott "Having planned to shop around, Oak By Design was my first stop. I had no need to look any further. Joanne patiently and professionally guiding me through the confusion of choosing the right flooring. The service and support from the staff was exceptional, efficient and helpful. And - my floor looks amazing!"

First class service and product . Our car port and steps look fantastic and blends in with the existing buildings beautifully. Would definitely recommend them.

Very professional. Excellent product and service. Highly recommended.

Firstly, the product quality was superb, a beautiful oak mantle piece for my fire place, gorgeous. The installation was quick, efficient and fitter very friendly. The price was very reasonable, actually very good value. But what makes it all SIX STAR, ( but we I can only give 5!), was the customer service. When walking in the shop I was perfectly attended to, I was given samples to take home and they remembered to call soma days later to see what I thought. Order to install time was very fast for such a bespoke service. My experience was world class, great to deal with a brilliant local/small business, I totally recommend.

We can thoroughly recommend Oak by Design. Not only did they provide the best of oak floors and oak staircase to suit our new, contemporary home, but they returned to make good a problem which was not their fault. Going the extra mile separates great companies from ordinary firms. Thank you Jamie & Billy. From Mike & Barbara, York.

Fantastic service and quality of product. I couldn’t be happier with my Oak porch, which was designed to my specification with the minimum of fuss. Joanne was so helpful and nothing was too much trouble. Incredibly well engineered and looks fantastic. Thank you so much.

Exceptional service and beautiful flooring. Absolutely delighted with every aspect. Went above and beyond great customer service to meet our needs and timescales.

I wish I could give more starts!! We looked at many companies before finally choosing Oak by Design. We are so glad we chose them. They were excellent from start to finish. They worked with us to find a workable design that was to our liking. Our door looks amazing (despite the building site that still surrounds it!). Their customer service is of the highest standard, Joanne could not do enough to help us. I would not hesitate to recommend them.

Great service by a friendly professional team, a pleasure to work with. The end result of our oak glazed leisure spa and outdoor kitchen looks fantastic. Great job

From the moment we visited the Oak Design showroom, we knew that we were dealing with a top quality local company. Richard the owner, showed us around his design works with real pride of his product and service offering. Jamie as sales executive has discussed and agreed the options & design with costs to us and we have now implemented the first phase of our home improvement, with more work to follow. We are highly delighted with the finished product and would strongly recommend Oak Design to other interested clients. I also suggest that you pay them a personal visit at the Home Building & Renovation exhibition in Harrogate, as well as their wonderful showroom of Oak Solutions in Tockwith to get a personal guided tour.

On behalf of John Docherty: Oak By Design were a great company to deal with; helpful, knowledgeable, professional. The quality of the oak supplied to us for our bespoke porch was first class. Nothing was too much trouble for this company, and we will definitely be using this wonderful company again in 2022.

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I first used Oak by Design in 2021 for a oak porch, I used them again 2023 for an oak pergola. Both times my clients have been Delighted with the finished product. Both times the product was delivered when stated, everything i needed was on the delivery. Oak by design listened to what I required for both jobs. The quality of the oak is excellent, all joints fit correctly & if I had a problem I only had to ring and speak to them. R Brown Carpentry always recommends Oak by Design when asked about oak structures.

From the initial quotation right through to the delivery and after service Joanne has been brilliant and given me an excellent product. I have just ordered another porch for another project from them and I will continue to do so for future projects . Thomas and Bell Building Contractors Ltd

Great service from start to finish, Joanne was great help. Designs were spot on and so happy with the porch. 10/10. Fully recommend.

Found this company by accident whilst passing through Harrogate, but well worth a visit.Great products choice with helpful friendly service. The wooden flooring and beams look great in situ and we are very pleased with the transformed room. Would recommend and use again.

My client was looking for ways in which to make his conversion (of an early seventies house into a period family farmhouse) “stand out from the crowd”. whilst maintaining a commercial eye on his expenditure, as the house was being converted for resale profit. Making the choice to meet with Richard and explore possibilities for incorporating some Real solid Oak features into his plans proved to be the making of the project. By taking lots of advice from Richard on both the size and structure of the components we were able to incorporate three key features. The beautiful and bold roof trusses and purlins for the open plan kitchen are simply a joy to behold. The stunning full height gable window which is directly glazed into the large framework can be appreciated from both the the kerbside and of course from within the cosy snug on the ground floor or the amazing first floor main bedroom where we incorporated some additional exposed roof beams just purely for effect. All in all it is fair to say that these significant choices certainly created the wow factor my client was looking for. Having managed to pre sell the property well before completion it in itself demonstrates the benefits of keeping these sorts of real oak features as part of a modern build. I have no hesitation whatsoever is saying that if anyone is looking to get advice and is serious about investing in quality oak products they should have no need to look further than Oak by Design. Thanks again Richard for all your help , guidance and continued support which is a credit to you and the craftsmen you employ.

A great company to deal with. Professional from start to finish and always there to assist with any queries. Highly recommended.

Excellent quality workmanship and materials. Very easy and friendly to deal with on the phone. Everything done on time and no problems at all. Will definitely use again next time I need an oak porch or any other oak structures.

Oak by design provided our engineered oak flooring. From our initial meeting and supply of samples to the final delivery we have been provided with excellent service. Carl has been in touch throughout the process and provided updates about the lead time and expected delivery dates. We are delighted with the flooring. Very happy to recommend Oak by design.

Oak by Design have made 2 oak framed rooms for us, sunroom at the front and and "moonroom" (photo) at the back which encompasses a shower room, work area and storage. They have been helpful at every stage and the outcome is simply brilliant. They make the whole house feel roomier and brighter and are beautiful places to be. GE North Yorkshire

A fabulous service and supportive through the design and delivery process. Highly recommended

Oak by design were a fantastic company to deal with. They made us some treads for a bespoke stair case from large pieces of air dried oak. They were very thorough in making sure that they understood exactly what we wanted. They made excellent suggestions for small changes to our own design in order to produce a better finished product and to manage the cost. We were very happy with the treads when they were delivered. They look fantastic and fitted perfectly to the steel frame which was made by a third party. I could not recommend them more highly.

A first rate service from start to finish. We've used this company in the past for our floor - 40 foot of solid oak! 2 beams and 2 RSJ covers. This time a beam for our new kitchen inglenook and another RSJ cover. More than impressed with the products which more than met our spec. A very friendly and helpful team who I'd recommend to anyone.

Having lived with our porch for over 2 years I can honestly say it’s the best addition to our house we ever made. Not only does it look fantastic the quality is outstanding. I love that it keeps the mud out of the hall and provides a seating area to remove muddy boots.

From the start of our enquiry, the service provided was excellent. Joanne was a great help and the oak porch structure looks fantastic on our new build. It completely changed the look of the house. Very quick delivery could not recommend enough.

Really delighted with the new porch by Oak by Design. It adds a super feature to my converted barn. Thanks to Joanne and the team.

Very impressed with Oak By Design. Customer service is fantastic and they were very patient in helping me ensure what I needed was the right size. Photos sent of oak cover before it was sent to me and end product was great. It was also not the most expensive either. Would definitely recommend.

My company has ordered 2 porches with Joanne from oak by design, and have more planned in the future. They've been brilliant from start to finnish. Great communication right through. And the quality of the product is exceptional. Do not hesitate to order.

Fantastic service from start to finish, I would have no hesitation in recommending this company or using them again. Very professional and helpful. Joanne was great in assisting us with choosing both styles and colours of the beams and cladding.

From start to finish Oak By Design have been incredible, nothing was too much trouble. Our new Oak doors are beautifully made and have really been the icing on the cake to finish our house renovations off. We have also had a fabulous outdoor oak structure with heating and we are very much looking forward to making the most of it in the months ahead. Thank you to the whole team I would throughly recommend.

Working with Oak By Design on our project was a pleasure and we were delighted with the results. Joanne was extremely helpful, quick to answer any questions and generally a great person to deal with! The quality and finish of the products - RSJ covers and Oak Windows & Doors were superb and look great. Would highly recommend working with Oak By Design and would not hesitate to use their services again for future projects!

As the owner of a local joinery business, Robert Davis Joinery, I have had the pleasure of using Oak by Design on several occasions over the last 8 years. They have produced bespoke interior products for me including Oak doors and timber moldings. The staff in the office and the workshop are always very helpful and friendly and the standard of the workmanship and materials are always of a very high quality.

Four years ago we took the decision to completely gut an old farmhouse and start again with it, we started looking for a supplier of oak to refit all of the internal doors, door casings, skirting and flooring. Our carpenter recommended Oak By Design. He wasn't wrong! All of the oak has been completely top notch. As the old house has settled into it's new skin it has moved and cracked in various places, the only thing that has been stable and unwavering is the oak. The customer service has been superb, with them continuing to supply exactly the same items, with the same quality over the course of 4 years. They even indulged our designs for furniture for our "boot room", with Shoe pigeon holes and a bench which we could store wellies under (as pictured). The doors supplied by them are reassuringly heavy and sturdy, with a proper "thunk" as you close them, cutting off sound from the rest of the house. There may be other, cheaper suppliers of oak out there, but none with the same level of quality, longevity and customer service as Oak By Design. If you want to do it right (& once!) use these guys.

Great company, always on the end of the phone to talk through design, measurements, fitting. The Oak is very high standard, looks amazing.

I firstly used oak by design a couple of years ago for an open oak porch. They were extremely helpful and everything was delivered on time to the highest quality. The porch went together with the oak dowels provided and looked great when it was all slated in. They have also supplied me with a oak beam for a fireplace natural random finish and it looks good.

We are ‘over the moon’ with our beautiful oak porch made by Oakbydesign .From our initial enquiry to delivery and installation the service and attention to detail has been outstanding! A very big thank you to Joanne who was so helpful and friendly from start to finish which made the whole process such a pleasure. Highly recommend anyone looking for an oak porch to choose Oakbydesign . Yvonne Grant.

We are delighted with our porch, from Oak by Design. Not only is the porch of excellent quality and finish but their customer service could not have been better. They bent over backwards to make sure that we were happy with the porch and I would happily recommend them to anyone.

I was sourcing an oak RSJ cover (circa 5m length) for my extension and found Oak by Design on the internet. All of the reviews I could were glowing and so I contacted them......And I'm so glad that I did. Joanne Fisher answered my initial call and she looked after my order from beginning to end - in terms of ensuring that I got exactly what I wanted she/they provided a superb service - everything on time - delivery in to the Peak District to suit when I wanted. The quality of the the RSJ cover is fantastic thick solid oak that matches my oak floor - looks amazing. If you want anything oak I can thoroughly recommend Oak By Design.

From the beginning the customer service has been superb, excellent help and advice when choosing the flooring, delivery arriving when promised and a product which is extremely high quality. We have replaced the majority of our flooring downstairs and we are so pleased with the result that we would have paid more. Fantastic.

Spectacular service from start to finish! great design work and support from concept to installation. The builders were amazing! So pleased with the outcome! Thankyou so so much !

My wife and I recently purchased an oak porch from Oak By Design. We are delighted with the porch and it has been much admired. We did get some help assembling it but everything fitted together perfectly.

We worked with Jamie from Oak By Design on a super project near Wetherby. There was plenty of oak in this design for the team to really show their worth - and they did. The attention to detail was excellent. If anything was not quite how the client wanted it, they were straight back to attend to this. The customer care was superb. We look forward to working with Oak By Design on another project soon.

Marvellous place, so many wonderful things made from wood.

Excellent customer service. Very friendly. Explained in detail. Product is beautiful. Would recommend. Company sent photos of finished product prior to dispatch to confirm our happiness with their work.

Oak by Design were extremely helpful at all stages of my project from helping and advising me to choose the most appropriate beam through to advice on fixing the beam. They were extremely patient with changes to my beam dimension requirements finally providing a solution to suit my project. They provided photographs on completion of the beam prior to dispatch to ensure that my requirements had been met. I was extremely impressed by the quality and finish of the beam which has become the focal point for my fireplace project. Oak by Design provided customer care of the highest quality and I would highly recommend their services.