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This is a little note to you, Petzl, about my annoyance, disappointment and anger at the failure of your product, the Actik, during the UTBCN.

I’ll keep it short;

  • I bought a brand new Actik head torch for use at the UTBCN
  • I gave it a one hour test run pre-race
  • I switched it on at kit check, it came on for a second then failed
  • I changed the batteries immediately – no response

Thankfully I had my Petzl e-lite (as backup), a 25 lumen head torch, which mercifully passed kit check and meant I wasn’t immediately disqualified, I knew this probably wasn’t good enough to get me round any night section I might face but at least I could start.

And so at 68km, 12hrs in, daylight finally faded and I began running using the e-lite, my iPhone torch and trying to use the light of the runners ahead of and behind me.

Not cool Petzl, not cool.

The UTBCN was a tough technical up and down course and even in the 4 or 5km I ran with limited lighting I was in trouble – unable to see where I was going, unable to see the ground clearly never mind the trail ahead. I tripped several times in this short section, more than I had done for the rest of the race!

And so at 72km I decided to stop, too embarrassed to say my head torch had failed I simply said my back was sore but the truth is I was running well with a likely finish time of under 16 hours. 

The failure of my Petzl Actik therefore was the cause of my failure at the UTBCN and I’m pretty angry about it.

What do you have to say Petzl?

It’s a funny thing this Twitterverse, I love the democracy of it, the sharing and the learning. I Iove the entertainment value of it and I find it alarmingly amusing. I also really enjoy the togetherness it brings, I’ve very much enjoyed meeting lots of the tweeters I follow and sometimes you’re even fortunate enough to get to know the people and form lasting friendships.

But what Twitter doesn’t do is give followers a real insight to my real life, the person I was, am or will be. UltraBoyRuns is a character, a sweary, annoying, supportive, arsehole type of character and for those that interact with him I hope we all have a cheery enough time. Twitter connections are fun, but they have, for the most part, limits. Obviously, occasionally my real personality will slip out on subjects like politics, mental health, ethics or something else dear to my heart but I can’t articulate the full nature of myself on complex subjects in 160 characters and if I could I suspect I’d be an idiot. My Twitter me isn’t the complete me and I’m sure the same can be said for most users of this very open social media platform.

Interestingly, I adopt a very similar approach in real life, those who meet me are given a version of me, much like we all do I suspect, but I will give out anecdotes and more personal information where I deem it necessary. To point the spotlight on an example of how private I can be – I chose not to inform my workplace or my colleagues (at my previous employer) that my partner was pregnant, I considered this a private matter and therefore not the concern of my colleagues or employer. However, there have been occasions in the last few months where personal information I have shared has been used as a gossiping point. Where information I have shared on Twitter has been used in the real world as a commentary to my skill as a runner, as a designer, as a guide to my tenacity and to make judgements as to the person I am. 

People are entitled to their opinion but when it gets back to me that this is happening and you’re attempting to influence others opinion of me – well you’ve made a mistake, a big fucky type of mistake because in reality I’m an angry, raging, bastardy type of person with few redeeming features and I despise those who need to live their lives through other people’s personality and/or achievements.

To make it clear, if you’ve read this piece then the chances are it wasn’t you who has been irking me, this is one individual who couldn’t respect the idea that conversations do not need to be spread. So, despite this, I doubt I’ll change being the person I am but I thought it would be interesting to share this rather personal insight in such a public way. Happy Wednesday.

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