Round Norfolk Relay, ultra running

Round Norfolk Relay and The Ely Tri Club Ultra Marathon

 

The 2019 Round Norfolk Relay

My last blog entry covered a bit of a disastrous training run on Devil’s Dyke in Cambridgeshire:  I am pleased to start this entry with what I regard as a successful contribution to my club’s entry in the 2019 Round Norfolk Relay (RNR).  This will be offset by an enjoyable but far from straightforward Ely Tri Club Ultra (more on that later).

Within my running club is a small, dedicated team, who’s task it is to put together and organise runners for each leg of this popular relay event.  Back when the team was being put together, it seemed like a great idea to take on leg number 12:  the longest stetch at 19.67 miles.  The time to actually run it came round very quickly, and the nerves really kicked in;  much more than usual.  I suspect this is because of the awareness of the efforts of team mates covering the other legs of the race.  Not only this:  leg 12 is the longest, it requires a steady and rapid pace (not power walking up hills as in ultra marathons), and it has to be started at about half past midnight with support from team members following you in a van.

Given I have three young sons, who I could not expect to keep quiet while I tried to sleep during usual hours, I decided to sleep at my parent’s home on the Saturday afternoon, having already volunteered as a steady pacer at Littleport parkrun that morning.  I am not overly keen on going to bed at night, let alone during the day, so I did not get a lot of sleep, but, given my Mum was involved, I got fed very well!

Fast forward to 22:30 hours on the Saturday night, I found myself in my car in a field in Scole, on the Norfolk/ Suffolk border.  There were other runners around already, and some friendly RNR volunteers to chat with.  I sat and used my iPhone to check the progress of the Ely Runners in the legs just before me, and then I jogged the first mile of my leg, just to check that I knew the way out of Scole before the long, straight stretch of around 16 miles.

It wasn’t long before Ely Runners volunteers, Caroline and Michelle showed up to reassure me, and to transport my car to the end of my leg.  Even though we had a fair wait until it was time for the baton to be handed over to me, it came along quite quickly. I was expected to finished my leg with a time of 2:57:02, requiring of me a constant 9-minute mile pace over just under 20 miles.  Fellow Ely Runner (and Michelle’s hubby), Allistair run down the road towards me (looking very strong), handed to me the baton, and I was off, with the van following just behind me.

Me running leg 12 of the RNR. The blurring was not caused by my speed.

The support van following me was being driven by Ely Runners, James and Andy, and in the back was Lisa (who I ran Peddars Way and the Norfolk 100 with).  They made it clear I should gesture if I needed anything, and apart from me asking for a drink three times, and for the occasional chat and word of support from them, they left me to it.

I was running under 9 minute miles from the off, and I put this down to a fast start (as is often the case), but, it turned out I had sub-9 minute miles in me all the way!  I did NOT expect this, and although I got overtaken by plenty of leg 12 competitors, it was a great feeling for me to overtake a couple of runners!  The middle part of the race felt good, with me knocking out my fastest pace.  Running at night in the cool suited me, and as I don’t really do loneliness, and like solitary running, the dark and quiet was just fine.  The last couple of miles was tough given I had been pushing myself, but once I could see fellow Ely Runner, Matthew, waiting for the baton,  I managed a sprint finish.  James handed me my medal, and the van disappeared, following a rapid Matthew!

Caroline was at Thetford, the end of my leg, to give me a hug (poor lady – I was really quite sweaty) and to hand me my car keys.

The drive home was interesting: I had pushed this race hard, and I had completed it inside my predicted time (just).  I was very dehydrated, and I necked a lot of water during a steady drive home.  I pulled over twice in Newmarket to vomit by the roadside.  When I got home I snuck indoors and got into the bed in the spare room, with the cold shivers.  It took me just under a week to properly recover.  It was a performance I was happy with, even if it did hurt!  Special thanks to the Ely Runners organisers/ van support and club volunteers, as well as the other leg runners.  I can’t wait for the 2020 RNR, but I do not want leg 12 again!

RNR bib and bling!

The 2019 Ely Tri Club Ultra Marathon

I really did prepare for the 41 mile Ely Tri Club Ultra.  I slept well, ate sensibly and hydrated adequately for 24 hours in the lead up to the event.  The race was from outside Ely Cathedral to not far from Jesus Green in Cambridge (and back the same way).  I was pleased to be running this event with ultra buddy, Lisa, and fellow Ely Runner, Martin (his first ultra).

It all started off just fine after a natter with various marshals and fellow runners; if not a tad too quickly for my liking.  I noticed that it was not that far after we left Ely and headed along the river that a couple of people had adopted a very early run/ walk strategy.  There is nothing wrong with that:  am a well aware of how superbly it can work and how quickly distances can be covered with this approach.  We did not take this approach until the second half of the race, and we got to Cambridge and the half way point (20.5 miles) pretty quickly, having stopped only briefly at the superb aid stations.  It should be noted that Ely Tri Club, who have just taken this race on, organised it amazingly:  the marshals were caring; funny and attentive; the course was well-marked out and the aid stations were plentiful and generously stocked.  Martin was great company (as expected), and Lisa, who I am now quite used to, was predictably smiley, reassuring and enthusiastic.  The weather on this run oscillated between exposed sun, and heavy rain, with a pretty constant wind (in our faces on the way out).  It was OK.

Things started to go a little wrong towards the end of the first half: I could feel aching around the site of an old leg break.  I have had some metal work in my left tibia for over 20 years now.  It does not play up often, but when it does, it really can slow me down. This time, it was not about to go away, and this, coupled with some low-level nausea from overindulgence in full fat coke, placed a dark cloud over me for a good proportion of the second half.

With Ely Runners, Lisa and Martin at the start of the Ely Tri Club Ultra

I noted at between 33 and 35 miles, Martin started to question the sanity of running this far.  If this was him edging into the mental struggles that arise on ultras, he was very dignified and calm about it.  I had started to complain regularly and quite openly, with a marked deterioration in my language.  As usual, Lisa, who also struggled in the second half, had positive things to say and kept feeding us doses of that smile!  When there was around 5 miles to go, Martin made it clear that a run/walk approach this close to the end was no longer for him, as he wanted it to over and done with:  with that he pulled away.  About two miles from the finish, Lisa announced that she had got a second wind, and she also pulled ahead.  Although I did not have it in me to keep up with Lisa (my knee and my guts would not permit it), Lisa being slightly in front of me did keep me going, especially given I could see two other runners in the distance behind me.  I decided I wanted to keep them there.  Cherry Hill in Ely is the last thing you want at the end of a 41 mile ultra, but once at the top and through The Porta, it felt amazing to run along The Gallery and left to the finish on Palace Green.

Look closely. Martin at the end of the road not far from Wicken Fen.

The Ely Tri Club team and volunteers really made a fuss of us at the end, and they looked after me given how wobbly I was as I approached their tent.  I was given a deck chair and a drink and I was watched for a few minutes.  What a superb event!  What superb running buddies!  A huge congratulations to Martin for his first ultra performance in tough conditions!

Post 41 miles: soaked and knackered.

Like an idiot,  I have the Flower of Suffolk 18 miler just a week after the Ely Tri Ultra, then the Kings Forest Ultra:  we shall see.

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Devil’s Dyke, the brilliant Bedford Running Festival, and the England Athletics award.

I have ultras to run soon: the Ely Tri Club Ultra this month and the Kings Forest and Stort 30 next month: plenty to focus the mind.  Things don’t always go well!  Read on!

When things go badly. 

I am the kind of person who doesn’t always learn from mistakes the first time round.  Once before I have ventured out on a longish run, seemingly well-prepared and equipped, only to realise that it has gone wrong due to heat, and poor hydration the day before.  I allowed this to happen again, in a big way over the recent bank holiday weekend.  The decision to run from Burwell to Woodditton and back along Devil’s Dyke was a little last-minute.  I am given to understand that we had record temperatures for an August Bank Holiday in the UK, and I decided to leave my run until late morning.  My thinking was that it is important to condition oneself to hot days, as you can’t choose the weather on the day of an ultra, so I ran it later on this baking day:  the reality is I am lazy and wanted to lay in bed a bit longer!

I adore the Devil’s Dyke run:  it is scenic, quiet, and I have never failed to see amazing wildlife.  The run to Woodditton was fine, although I was very hot, and had drank over half of the water I had in my ultra vest at this halfway point.  There is a garden with plum trees in Woodditton and the owners had left a sign out saying ‘help yourself’.  I ate three of the most sweet and watery out of season plums, and began to feel better almost right away.  This did not last long.

Burwell to Woodditton along Devil’s Dyke: very little shade!

The run back was starting to feel very difficult, and this surprised me a little, as I had only ran just over 6.5 miles, and I am used to greater distances.  I was drinking what was left of my water very quickly, and yet I could not satiate my thirst:  this, together with a slight stagger in my gait and a sense of dread I could not quite put my finger on started to really concern me.  It was at mile ten that I realised I might be in trouble, as I had water left, but was starting to feel quite unwell.  I was covered up enough from the sun and had applied sun cream and block where needed: but wow, it was hot!  The final three miles turned into a kind of run/ jog/ walk affair – and I hate to walk when out on a run.  Two miles out from where I had parked my car and I seriously thought about sitting in the shade of a bush and calling someone to come and rescue me; but, being a stubborn chap (or a fool), I decided to press on.  I was staggering like I was drunk when I got to the 13 mile point.

When I got to my car, I had already drank all of my water.  I started the engine and got the air conditioning going, and found a bottle of Lucozade in the boot that I had decanted and flattened and put back in the bottle for the Stour Valley path.  I didn’t care if it was off: it went straight down the hatch!  I then sat in the car and cooled down before driving into Burwell to purchase a lot of full-fat Coke!  I necked it all and sat in the car for another ten minutes before driving home.  I felt rough for the rest of the day, and I genuinely feel that were I further out than three miles from my car, I would have been in serious trouble.  It was an unusually hot day (proper hot), but I am sure it was down to poor hydration the day before.  Maybe I will learn this time!

The 2019 Bedford Running Festival.

I ran the 10K at this running event last year with top running buddy, Lauren girlrunninglate.  It is known for the superb atmosphere, pleasant route and amazing medals!  No different this year!  Sadly, Lauren was not able to make the 10K and Half Marathon she had booked, as she has been nursing an injury (which she was and is gutted about), but at least there were other Ely Runners to enjoy the weekend with.  I decided to treat the 10K as a tempo run, as I did not want to do anything silly given some important events I have coming up, but mainly as I was due to run the half marathon the next morning.  I really enjoyed the run and the route, and I was pleased enough with my time given what I wanted from the race.  Fellow Ely Runner, Chris and his wife did amazingly, as did the superb Charlotte, who posed with me to help Erdinger Alkoholfrei boost their sales!

Sarah and Chris Clowe, with a Charlotte photo bomber at the back!
Boosting sales of Erdinger Alkoholfrei.

The organisation, marshalling and race village was all superb for the 10K!  The next morning I made my way back to Bedford for the half marathon.  I simply could not face hammering it, and once I had gathered with Ely runners, Don; Shaun and Jon, we decided to have a steady run round the race in order to take it all in.  This half marathon turned out to be one I will never forget: we had huge fun and had great chats with people along the way.  The three of us were in awe of a few Ely Runners who lapped us early in the race and went on to get amazing times, and we all had a laugh and a show off for the photographers.  Just once in a while, I like to get round an event without doing it in anger: it is good for the soul!

Don, Shaun and Jon: amazing running buddies!

Do enter the 2020 Bedford Running Festival! It is amazing, and you get extra bling for running more than one race!

Multiple bling at the 2019 Bedford Running Festival!

The 2019 England Athletics Volunteer Awards

Due to a kind and thoughtful nomination by fellow Ely Runner, Natalie Andrews, and the fact that her nomination was shortlisted, I won the 2019 England Athletics Easter Region Volunteer award (Inclusion category).  This was for inclusive approaches around the Ely Runners Beginners’ course as well as my work promoting access to parkrun for people with a learning disability and/ or autism.  I was invited to the Bedford International Stadium to have lunch, meet the other category winners and some England Athletics Officials, including Neil Costello, who presented me with my award.  I was greeted by friendly staff, who looked after me, gave me food, showed me to the showers (I had just ran the Bedford Half Marathon) and talked me through the awards ceremony.  I watched the athletics event at the Stadium and was presented with my award.  It remains to be said that the stuff I have done to be nominated could not have happened without platforms such as my employer, Thera East Anglia Thera East Anglia and the amazing Ely Runners Ely Runners and its beginners’ coaches.

The 2019 England Athletics Volunteer Awards.

What next?  The Round Norfolk Relay and The Ely Tri Club Ultra!  I will post again after these and before the Kings Forest Ultra, the Flower of Suffolk 18 miler and the Kings Forest Ultra!

Always hydrate well the day before a run!

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The big day! The 48 mile Peddars Way Ultra Marathon 2019!

 

The big day arrived! I have described it, and I have used plenty of photographs, for which I don’t apologise!

Between the big day and the Ultra Marathon, I was as sensible as I could be given the ill-thought-out decision to participate in RED January!  In this time I ran no more than 11K in any one go, and used cycling to rest.  On reflection, I think I felt the benefits of distance training for the first time at the Snetterton Race Track 10K on the 20th of January: there was no PB for me, but, for the first time in ages I felt light, and running at close to maximum effort felt in some way easier than it has for a long time.  I was happy!

In short, the lead up to Peddars involved keeping the legs moving, eating well, and trying not to fret.

Very early on the big day; waiting for my lift!

The day before Peddars I took a day’s annual leave, rested and ate well (I ate a lot, but not so much as to get bloated).  I remained hydrated, and exchanged messages with Lisa (my running partner for the day) and Steve (lift/ race support).  A tip I would give to any one embarking on their first ultra is to check your kit, especially the mandatory contents for the race, and have it all ready the night before.  Mine was checked, double checked and laid out on the living room floor ready! I had my tailwind/ water solution in the collapsible bottles and stuck in the fridge ready too. I am not a ‘bed early person’ and I resent going to sleep at the best of times: it’s a waste of time, but I turned in ‘early’ all the same.  It was a fitful night’s sleep, but I didn’t feel too bad in the morning. I went for a breakfast I am used to (Weetabix, milk, a bit of sugar and a banana) and a pint of tea! Before I knew it, Steve had picked me up and we were off to collect Lisa from Newmarket.

It was good to have a natter with Lisa on the way to the start, as she is pretty relaxed, and crucially, she has a good few ultras and marathons under her belt.  We did struggle a little to find the start (which was in the middle of nowhere and it was still dark), but it wasn’t long before we saw flags, people in Hi Vis, and car headlights.  It was at this point that I realised that I should have warned Lisa about Steve (lovely bloke, great friend, but at times he blurts stuff out).  As we pulled up alongside the event start, Steve said “well, this is either the start, or it’s the most organised dogging site in the UK”. Brilliant.

I registered quickly.  The system for the mandatory kit check was to pick a numbered ping pong ball from a bag; the numbers were coded to a list of items – I was asked to show my head torch: job done!  Lisa and I got ready with pinned bib numbers and ankle tag chips, and then Andy and Caroline arrived! I have to say, I was touched that these two excellent Ely Runners showed up!  They are training for their own ultra, they were smiling and full of encouragement!

Caroline and Andy, who rocked up to give us some support!

After a trip into the bushes for a nervous emptying of the bladder, I found that things suddenly moved very quickly, for which I am thankful!  We got a quick photo taken with fellow Ely Runners, Kyle and David, and then, after a briefing from Kevin of ‘Positive Steps, there was a count down, and we were off!

Positive Steps

David and Kyle!

Lisa and I set off at a relaxed pace, and I felt happy and full of anticipation.  I decided that I would actually look around and take this event in, as I do have a habit of becoming very introspective on long runs, with a lot of time spent looking at the ground a few feet in front of me.  The countryside was beautiful this early on in the day, and the weather was perfect: cool, with just a slight breeze.

Lisa: amazing running buddy, who looked this happy throughout the whole race!

The pack thinned out surprisingly quickly, and soon, after the odd natter with other runners, Lisa and I had time to settle down and have a chat.  I’ll get this bit out of the way now: Lisa is very laid back and cheerful, she is an experienced ultra runner and has given me lots of advice in the lead up to the event.  If my experience of Peddars is anything to go by, if you decide to run with someone you know (but not so well) at a tough event such as an ultra, you will get to know them surprisingly well – and quickly!  You can’t adhere to the usual social niceties in situations like this, and before long, we had provided look out and cover for each other, facing away from the forest as one of us legged it into undergrowth to do things we much prefer to do in the comfort of our own bathrooms!  We shared potted histories of our lives, and covered subjects such as: musical tastes; medical histories; family; food preferences; where we have lived; work; and our thoughts on running.  I could not have wished for a more cheerful, down to earth, funny and clever running companion!

The first quarter of the event was a bit of a bit of a blur to me.  I noticed something I had heard of though: many ultra runners walk up hills, and that includes the runners who are experienced.  I have always had a problem with walking during races, but this made sense. So, we like many other runners power-walked up hills and used the flat sections and down hill to run at a good and comfortable pace: it makes huge sense!

Soon we arrived at the first aid station at about 13 miles.  I had been drinking as my friends at tailwind and my fellow-runner Kyle had advised: little and often.  I had however struggled to eat.  I simply wasn’t hungry, and just like during training runs, I could only eat once stationary!  This aid station, although small, and on the side of a track was full of goodies, and staffed by friendly and encouraging volunteers!  I am not a fan of full-fat coke at all, but it is superb when distance running (for me any way), I got the collapsible cup out and got plenty of this unhealthy rubbish down me, as well as some amazing ‘powerballs’ made by one of the ladies at the station.  These tasted like Rice Crispies, peanut butter and desiccated coconut (perhaps because that was what they were made of).  Amazing!  I necked four!  Soon we were off again!

tailwind nutrition

Things got a little tougher as we edged into the second quarter of the race.  The trail became a little more challenging here and there, and the course was straight but undulating.  The Peddars Way Trail is very well-marked out, but, I would advise anyone who runs Peddars for the first time to keep an eye on the signs, as you can miss a slight deviation on the route easily.  Lisa and I did this twice, but, each time, other runners advised us, or the amazing GPS maps on our phones got us back on course quickly.

As I had trained up to the 30 mile distance, I still felt strong as we got nearer to the 26 mile aid station at Castle Acre.  I had also taken on board a few nutrition tips from Lisa, one of which was chicken Fridge Raiders: watery and easy to eat, we stopped and availed ourselves of them a few times. I also managed to nibble a few Chai Charge energy and endurance bars.  I know this all helped.

Soon we arrived at the Village Hall at Castle Acre.  Having reassured myself so far by mentally breaking the event up into sections, with 24 miles being a major stage for me, this aid station was a most welcome point!  Over half way!  Lisa had told me about her experience of hallucinations during ultras, I was reminded of this as I saw Kyle sitting in the Village Hall.  I wondered in what parallel universe could I ever hope to find Kyle still at an aid station when I arrived at it?   I went over for a chat and it turned out that despite having led the field for the first half, Kyle had felt really unwell and particularly nauseous: he had had to bail, and his lift home was on its way.  Despite looking as pale as Casper the Ghost, Kyle hid his disappointment well, and he even topped up my water bottles with tailwind for me.  Having clogged up my funnel and perhaps joked too loudly about white powder, Kyle helped me no end while I went and discovered the joys of soup and a cup of tea during an ultra!  Usually if someone hands me a cup of tea that is less than hot and of the wrong strength/ colour, I will politely refuse it: I am a snob when it comes to how tea should be presented.  The milky, sweet and less than hot tea I drank tasted like nectar, handed to me by a God rather than a small lady with a concerned and yet cheerful smile.  As for the soup, I don’t know what it was (it was amazing), but I suspect the Caste Acre aid station soup has ruined all future soup experiences for me: how will I ever derive any joy from soup again?  All of this happened whilst Lisa continued smiling and chatting to fellow runners!

kyle
Kyle: leader of the pack until he had to bail at Castle Acre. I owe a lot to this chap!

As we left the 26 mile aid station, I could feel the first signs of fatigue; almost certainly due to having sat down as much as it was from having covered 26 miles of trail in a reasonably decent time.  My lower back, hips and the toes on my left foot were all letting me know they were not happy.  A little way into the second half it had occurred to me that I had been dictating an almost fartlek approach: trying to identify nearby landmarks to walk to on hills, and then making sure we ran on ‘smooth’, flatter trail and down hill at a decent pace.  Was I being bossy? Would Lisa come to hate me for my unreasonable approach, like the troops of Easy Company hated Captain Sobel?  I decided to check with Lisa if she was OK with what I had been doing.  It turns out that she really appreciated and needed this structured way of tackling things!  Good!  But I tried to be way more consultative from thereon.

The trail was lovely, with only 8 miles to the third aid station, which felt like not such a big deal to me.  Our conversation started to get a bit weird at times in the second half, with Lisa admitting that she can ramble and go off course depending on how her blood sugars are!  We starting seeing ever more elaborate shapes in trees and clouds.  I claim the tin man from The Wizard of Oz as one of the best sightings of the second half.

The Tin Man Tree.

Things got a little bit tougher for me as we approached the third aid station, and I started to entertain just a few dark thoughts.  That being said, Lisa and I had both agreed that running Peddars together had helped so far in terms of remaining positive.  Even during periods of running a long way without talking, it helped knowing that your running buddy was right next to you.

The third and final aid station was laid on by Bungay Black Dog Running club.  Seeing their flag in the distance bolstered me up no end.  Lisa had told me that they provide tea and warm snacks!  The lady and gentleman at this station were full of cheer and gave me more coke, tea, and warm sausage rolls!  Pure joy!  Lisa sat in a deck chair and caned mini Battenburg cakes!

Starting to flag a bit at aid station 3.
Lisa, not having the common decency  to look knackered at the third aid station.

Off we went for the final push. We had 14 miles to go.  As we ran, refreshed from the aid station, Lisa tried to described 14 miles to me in ways she felt might sound more positive. We laughed about this: it was 14 miles!  I very much appreciated her efforts at bolstering me along!

By the way, Lisa had a made a big deal of us passing the 30 mile mark, as that distance was the furthest I had ever ran before Peddars!  I appreciated this also!

It is hard to describe from the third aid station to about 4 miles from the finish.  I do recall consulting the GPS map and being reassured by the little cursor!  It looked so close to the coast.  The run leading to 40 miles is a blur to me, as we settled into our routine, paused quickly to eat and drink, and repeated this regularly in order to remain focussed. Things started to feel hard!  I am mentally stronger than I am physically, and I maintain that without mental strength, things will go wrong at these kinds of stages, no matter how tough you are physically.  Despite Lisa’s presence, the duel in my head began, with ‘positive Justin’ and ‘negative Justin’ trying to get the upper hand over each other.  I was just an observer.  Darkness crept up on us, and before long, we needed torches.  I was glad of this, as I felt the need to blub a bit at around 41 miles.  I did so for a while, keeping just in front of Lisa.  I answered some messages: my Mother, who was worrying all day; Steve, who I had tried to keep appraised of how far were were from the finish;  my long-suffering wife and to Lauren, who had kept sending encouraging messages in capitals (hero).

Torches time.

The final 4 miles was tough, but for some reason we got a bit of a second wind!  We went through a village and glow sticks were strung up in strategic places to mark the way for runners.  Then came a long section, which felt like a gentle decline on trial with trees and bushes very close on both sides;  Lisa and I hit this section at what felt like a fair pace.  We did not stop!  I was down to just the Merino Wool base layer at this stage, and the coastal wind and start of rain was not bothering me;  we just kept focussing on the trail and running.  We hit a final bit of village, until groups of people yelled encouragement and we headed down towards the beach.  Lisa led the way to where the infamous book was hanging from a sign.  We could hear the sea, and knew it was very near but we couldn’t see it.  We ripped out our pages and headed back to the Village Hall at Holme-next-the Sea.  I wanted Lisa to cross the chip line inside the hall first, but she was having none of it, so, we legged it across the line hand in hand.  I was given a medal and a shirt and everyone inside burst into applause, with lots of shouts of ‘well done!’

This was an emotional moment for me, and on seeing Steve I had a little blub and went to sit down and request a baked potato!  An amazing cup of tea was placed in front of me, and Lisa and I were given baked potatoes with cheese and beans.  Another runner came and sat opposite us and burst into tears.  I told her I had done the same and Lisa went around the table to hug and comfort the sobbing lady.  Many people crossed the line crying!

The infamous book on the beach!

I fear Lisa and Steve might be emotionally damaged at having witnessed me strip off, complete with black KT tape on each nipple!  I chatted with Glyn Manton, a Norfolk runner I sometimes bump into.  We made our way to the car.

Steamed up, post-blubbing pic.

Steve is a hero! Inside the car was a glass and bottle of beer for each of us (not Steve)!

While Steve drove us home, we drank beer and reflected on the race! I felt very happy!

Final thoughts.

  1. I hope that this record goes some way towards helping any runner who thinks of embarking on their first ultra.
  2. I will be running another!
  3. Other people are vital in the lead up to, during and after such events.  The support and advice has been amazing, Lisa got me through it, and I am amazed at the comments and congratulations I have received.  If I leave anyone out I am sorry, but in terms of ultra advice, I feel I must offer my total gratitude to Kyle, David, Charlotte and Lisa of Ely Runners.
  4. Diet and training is everything.
  5. Sports massage helps! Thanks, Becky!
  6. I still don’t know why I did it.
  7. I love my family for putting up with it all!

I will leave this blog for a while. I want to continue it, but with a new focus after a break and a bit of a think.  I hope you have enjoyed it.   Do comment!

peddars medal