The training went really well, had some ups and downs as you would expect.
Most memorable moments include:
20 Mile Fell race:
My training plan had me doing 20 miles and thought, why not combine it with a race, I wasn’t planning on racing, but the good thing about a race is – once started I have never quit. Whereas some training runs, I cut short if tired.
I found a perfect fell race – I knew the Race to the King was off road so perfect and it was the first year that this race had been on – usually, it’s just for walkers. It was in a place called Nidderdale, a beautiful part of the country.
It was going great, the field was small – limited to 100 runners but only about 60 turned up. I was doing all right was about 30ish at halfway so was happy.
Then about mile 14 I was running through a small village on the path and didn’t see the arrow on the opposite side of the road to turn left. I then felt great, 14 miles in it was a nice steep downhill so was getting some good speed up, only had 6 more miles to go. 2 miles later I come across three women running the other way – turns out we had missed the sign and had to run back up this lovely steep hill that I had just flown down. My head went and I struggled home, coming third to last and running 24 miles.
Don’t worry I am back in 2018 – the course isn’t beating me.
The other notable event was Huddersfield marathon
Again for the same reason, i entered the Nidderdale run, I had to run 26.2 miles and I knew the best way is to run a marathon. I looked around and found one, closish by and on the right day – entered Huddersfield marathon and didn’t think much more about it. The training was almost done – about 5 weeks before the big day – I felt good.
I got there and started speaking with some of the other runners, it turns out the reason for such a small turn out, Huddersfield marathon is regarded as one of the toughest marathons in the UK. O well, who cares – it’s a training run and not a race, stick the plan and it will be fine.
I haven’t known hills like this before, the first 12 ish miles is steep up and down and some of them you can’t run up or down as too steep, plus even though it was in May / June we got all 4 season, even had hailstones at one point.
Once you have done the first gruelling part the next 10 ish miles aren’t too bad it’s just along a canal path. At about mile 22 they chuck in some steps for you to climb up and over – let me give you a hint to anyone who organises runs and especially long distances – steps are not good.
Then the last 4 ish miles is basically all back uphill.
its the slowest and toughest marathon I have ever done, and speaking with runners around the course – its usual people doing ultra’s doing it for training runs. Maybe one day I might return, but it will be a long time.
The big day
So the big day arrived (sounds like I am writing about my wedding), I had arrived the previous day I had arrived close to the start point and was staying in a lovely B&B in “X”.
As I was alone (I travelled down on my own), once I had got settled in, I headed down to get something to eat.
I was at the seaside after all so went for some fish and chips and a bit of a walk – I just needed to keep moving – no alcohol, the big day the next day and I didn’t want to do anything to ruin it.
I couldn’t really sleep so was up in plenty of time.
I got something to eat before my taxi arrived to take me to the start line.
I got there in plenty of time to what is basically a huge farmers field, where you register and drop off your bags and wait to run. There are plenty of facilities and snack vans while you wait.
They let you go off in a few waves to make it easier.
The atmosphere on the start line was amazing – well I guess you have to be crazy to even attempt such a run.
First 5 / 6 miles went through pretty quick, it was along farmers fields and through some woods, I did see a woman pull up about 2 miles in a felt so sorry for her – I knew the training she must have put in like we all had and for it to be over so soon was heartbreaking.
There are plenty of food stations along the way with decent food and plenty of time to catch up with your fellow runners. BTW the marshalls are amazing and super supportive.
I got chatting with different people around the course and why they were running it. A couple of guys will filming sections with their go pros. I will see if I can get some footage and add it later.
Got to the main food station, which was where those doing it over two days we’re resting – all i kept thinking to myself was I couldn’t image going to sleep and having to run that again tomorrow, I ploughed on.
Then the troubles and started – I live in Doncaster, which is flat, what we call “hills” are little bumps in the roads and my ankle hasn’t used the steepness of them.
I kept ploughing on, after all, I wanted to raise as much money as possible for Downs Syndrome charity.
I food station at mile 30 is at the top of one of the steepest hills I have ever run up (actually walked up) and I’ve done, Ben Nevis, Snowdon, Scafell Pike, and my ankle was starting to swell and it was really hurting.
I got a drink and bite to eat at that stop and carried on, but as soon as I was out of the pit stop I knew something wasn’t right. I could barely run, but I thought to myself the next stop is at mile 38, keep going to their and see how it feels, by mile 33/34 I could barely walk without tears running down my face.
Way too much agony my ankles just wasn’t used to the hills.
At mile 36, I had to call it a day and asked for medical attention, the medic came to me, had a quick look and took me back to basecamp (where people were staying overnight) as they had the full medical team there.
It was at that point I was told – carrying on could cause long-term damage and it was in my best interest to pull out.
I was given the halfway medal, which I still have, after all, it was still 36 miles completed.
I was gutted and still am and I don’t think I will ever get over it until I take on the course again and beat it (change my training runs for the Peak District).
I knew the rules, it’s in the terms and conditions that it’s my responsibility to get to the finish line, but an old guy (one of the marshalls) who needed to go to pick something up took me in the minibus – which was very nice of him and super appreciative.
The time now was around 10 pm and everywhere was shut and I couldn’t walk to get food anyway – so I just had my leftover stuff out of my bag and headed for the hotel. The walk was 0.2m and it must have taken me about 15 minutes – there was no way I could have completed the run that day.
Guttered to wake up the next day to remember I had failed, but knew I had to get home, I hobbled onto the train and off it – I was that slow, the barriers on the tube at kings cross had shut before I had managed to walk through.
It took a whole two weeks of complete rest for the swelling to go down before I could even think about running again.
While I did fail, I did raise quite a bit of money for Downs Syndrome and I did run the furtherst I have ever done.