Well I am alive and back home! The past few days have certainly tested me mentally and physically as I have churned my way through 82 miles of some of the most beautiful and brutal coastal trails in the UK.
Getting lost, and the Cornish idea of ‘value for money’ certainly added to the miles promised, and the terrain was like nothing I have ever run on in places.
The organisers broke the 350 marathon runners gradually over the three days, with a succession of sand dunes, trail paths, beaches and then rocks. They saved the 18 miles or so stretch of highly technical rock jumping for the last day when legs had forgotten that they are meant to bend. One slip here and it was time for a snapped ankle. The fact that paramedics were at every check point on day three was not lost on my exhausted brain.
I completed day one in around 4 hours 55 minutes extremely frustrated with myself as I took the lead then got so horribly lost that I ended up wondering around farms asking for directions. Three additional miles and some 35 minutes wasted meant a hard start to the challenge.
Day two was my best. I tucked myself in behind one of Pembrokeshire’s very best marathon runners (Sean Rice) who looked after me so well. We pushed each other all the way to the finish line coming in around 4 hours 26 minutes and in the top ten for the day. I was very glad of Sean’s extreme experience on the 3 mile stretch of beach after mile 20.
The last day was tough for everyone. I managed to complete the 29 miles in 6 hours 15 minutes coming in 10th out of the remaining few hundred runners who were all trying to fight their way to Lands End. Jokes and laughter amongst the runners had turned to grunts of pain and genuine concern towards each other. I am sure they kept moving that lighthouse at Lands End further away……
Rewarded at the end with a pasty and a medal, I felt proud and grateful to have made it all in one piece with only a few cuts, bruises and grazes. I hobbled on to the first bus back to base camp, leaving hundreds of victims to still complete facing their inner monsters.
Over the course of this year, I have managed to raise over £6,500 for Cancer Research with these two blistered feet – in memory of a wonderful friend and to try and help other families in future. I can’t say that it will make a huge difference or that I have any more of these events left in me now. However, I do feel encouraged by the amount of other crazy people out there doing something similar! If you know one of them – sponsor them.
The things that kept me going through all of this were the amazing messages from my clients, the love and support of my wonderful family and friends, and my faith.
I have to make special mention of my cousin Andrew who trekked around the whole thing on a bike – popping up in various places armed with fluid, a camera and massive words of encouragement. I think he might be a bit tired today as well.
Thank you as well to Lisa who is now looking after a rather wrecked husband so wonderfully!
I think my running will take a long break now as I focus on continuing to build our business. I am back in work tomorrow and I look forward to recounting the experience to you all at our reviews. My humble apologies if I didn’t reply to your messages of encouragement over the weekend – please know that I was hugely grateful and every message made a difference.
My very best wishes to you all