The Bullock Smithy 56 fuelled by Ei8ht Oxygen Drink

Bullock Smithy

Last week I went for a 56 mile run, writes Jackie Newton (handicap 13.1) . It feels good to write that - I’ve never run 56 miles before. I attempted it once before and failed and I’ve talked about doing it several times but not had the confidence – and I’ve taken my fair share of ‘ribbing’ from training partners who have conquered it and thought it was about time I did too!

The route is the Bullock Smithy that loops around the Peak District with 8000 foot of climb. I also used a new (to me) energy drink – Ei8ht Energy. Now, I wouldn’t say this was the sole determining factor of why I succeeded but I do think it helped.

Other factors included:

  • During lockdown, I decided to use my one opportunity for exercise per day to increase my mileage to more than I’ve done in about three years
  • I entered the actual Bullock Smithy back in June so I had this as a target - the race was cancelled but I kept it as a goal
  • My fabulous friends who have done ‘The Bullock’ before and were not going to let me off the hook this time joined me for the final twentyish miles when the going got tough
  • Tthe landscapes and terrain inspire me.

Before setting off at 0530hrs on Saturday 5th September, I took 200ml of water mixed with the contents of a sachet of Ei8ht in addition to a bowl of porridge. I also filled my two 250ml drink capsules with Ei8ht energy drink.

The first part of the run takes you through my home village, Poynton, through Lyme Park and over to Furness Vale. Daylight was trying to break as I set off but until I got up to Bowstones, in Lyme Park, it was pretty dark. Beautiful time to run though – I saw a badger on his way home for the day and the herd of red deer that reside in Lyme Park. This first section went by in a jiffy. I started to feel slightly thirsty as I made my way up 1009ft of climb to Big Stone from Furness Vale and sipped away at one of the drinks capsules. This is a climb I have done on many a training run and always found it hard – Big Stone, at the top of the hill, always seems to be further than I remember – there always seems to be one more rise before I get there – now it could have been the low light and there was a fair bit of low cloud at this point but it seemed that I was suddenly there before I expected to be. Bonus! I did wonder if the energy drink may have had something in it that was making this feel easier than I expected. 

Apart from reading the instructions – how to mix it etc. I didn’t read up on the Ei8ht energy product before I used it as I didn’t want to be influenced by any of the marketing spiel but I have read up on it now. Apparently, EI8HT Energy is ‘scientifically proven to increase the body’s ability to transport oxygen by as much as 5%, for at least 80 minutes following ingestion.’ It has been developed by scientists at Oxford University and also tested on cyclists by Surrey Human Performance Institute who saw significant time trial improvements. The ingredients contain molecules capable of capturing oxygen, therefore increasing the amount of oxygen that can be utilised – pretty useful for anyone taking part in endurance activity. Perhaps I was benefiting more than I knew.

Before I tackled the next climb, up to Edale Cross, which is another 1014ft and steeper than the climb to Big Stone, I took the other drink. Again, I felt that I got to the top with less effort than I expected. This is another climb with which I am very familiar and I’m normally concentrating on grinding it out to the top but it definitely felt easier and built my confidence that, this year, I may just finish this run.

After coming down Jacob’s Ladder, I ran through a camp site and was able to refill my bottles with Ei8ht. The next time I would get chance would be 15 miles further on so I knew I needed to make that 500ml last well. I probably didn’t drink as much as I should have but was still feeling strong at 33 miles after running over to Castleton, up the 769ft climb that is Cavedale to Peak Forest, over to Miller’s Dale and up another very long hill out of it. Then it was over to Earl Sterndale where my training partners were waiting with water, crisps, scones and ready to accompany me to the finish. I made up another two bottles of Ei8ht for the final 22 miles. I was pretty tired for that final section but stopped at Flash Stores for an amazing Cornish Pasty and a cup of tea which picked me up a treat and so with the combination of great company, Cornish Pasty, tea and Ei8ht energy drinks I successfully conquered my Nemisis, The Bullock Smithy!

I will definitely use Ei8ht again on my long runs – and probably on my short ones too. It will be interesting to see if I can run a faster parkrun, when they start up again, with the extra oxygen in my system. Watch this space!

To find out more visit; sachets available from £4.99 for a pack of two