Sunday 8 July, 07:00
Got up at 4:15 to get ready and park near the start/finish. Lots of chatty people sharing info about what to expect. I put myself about 60-70% of the way back from the front starters.
Was relieved when in the first mile runners around me were walking up hills/inclines, to save energy. The sky was bright and the sun stayed behind high cloud until later, had full sun from about 13:00 onwards.
The checkpoints and refreshment stops were good. I drank my water with SIS tabs in and refilled bottles with electrolyte at every stop. Munched often, banana and flapjack from the stops and a couple of Clif bars I carried.
The terrain was frequently rocky / stony underfoot, and there was lots of climbing up steep slopes, interspersed with brief and short sections in the valley bottoms. Epic scenery, ran past totally still lakes and looked back at picturesque valleys. Worth doing for the views alone.
I seemed able to power walk up the steep bits, passing many others. Didn’t hit the wall, fuelling and hydrating were going well. Looked for shade wherever possible.
I noticed that mentally I was very positive, enjoying the experience. Marshalls noticed I was a smiler, I said hello to sheep and wasn’t worrying about the next climb, and the next. I’m sure this attitude really helped me, I didn’t hit a low point or have any doubts. I was counting distance in hours rather than miles, but later on did ask some marshalls ‘how far?’ They weren’t that accurate. Wasn’t using gps watch, battery wouldn’t have lasted.
Loved the finish chute and felt ok. Had a drink and found a vegan food van!! Lots of choice, bought a bhaji burger and when other folk nearby me saw it they ordered some. Should have been on commission! Cheered finishers and had a coffee for an hour or so before heading off to car.
Was surprised to find my legs were not that bad in the following few days, just took a few minutes to get moving but I was mobile and could do stairs. Achilles soreness indicated I’d done a tough run but was not at all bad. Applied ibuprofen gel to heels for 2 days more as a precaution. Had three points of chafing (won’t go into details!).
Later I found out I was finisher 167 out of 375, in 9:22:39. Very pleased with that. Read that a lot dropped out and folk that had done it previously had slower times this year because of the hot conditions. Nearly 600 were on the start list so I guess some didn’t start and others were sensible and dropped out if they hit problems.
It was steeper, rougher terrain with less flat sections or undulating running than I’d expected. And who put the photographer near the top of the penultimate climb? I was walking strongly but had to break into a jog when I saw the photo sign and chap with a camera pointing down the path at me…
Distance: 34m / 55km
Trainers: Brooks Cascadia