Saturday, 9 August 2014

We got this!

Finally after what seems like an age (but is only fifteen months), five thousand kilometres of training and three failures (Spartathlon 2013, The Hill 2013 & Tortourderuhr 2014) I have finished a 200km race and got a medal, a t shirt and a bottle of Newkie Brown!

ROB 'Is that it? A medal and a shirt'
DAVE 'There's a bottle of Newcastle Brown Ale in the goody bag'
ROB 'BEER! Excellent! I'm happy now
It has been a long journey of rediscovery, rediscovering what the secret to the finishing of a plus 200km race is.

1) Some said fitness. Could be, but I am fitter than ever before. I have a very low resting heart rate and over the past year a built a lot more speed. I have lost weight, as well, at least seven kilograms.

2) Some said mental toughness. Could be, but I have been through a lot of bad stuff which I won't list here because of its personal nature and I don't want to get into a competition. During all this I have managed to keep my life in a sensible order.

3) Some said physical toughness. Could be, but I run through a lot of pain. I am mystified by why people complain about blisters and currently have a hernia.

4) Some said the personal desire. Could be, but a Spartathlon finish is one of the things I desire most.

In my previous blog, I noted that food, or rather lack of it, during a race causes my desire to finish to vanish. I had been told this before. To quote 'if you are feeling lethargic, slow down, refuel and then start again.' Somehow I had missed this tip or just ignored it. Tim Noakes writes in the Lore of Running that the 'symptoms of hypoglycaemia intense desire to stop running....the athlete senses the impossibility of completing the race.'

With this in mind I prepared lots of food for Mark Cockbain's Coast to Coast Ultra. Gels, energy bars, rice puddings, crisps, scratchings and cheese, lots and lots of cheese. I put this all onto a plan and added up the calorific content, it was nearly twenty thousand. A lot for a normal two days, but as I was going to be running for nearly thirty eight hours at a burn rate of five hundred calories an hour, it is about right. The Ugly Unt questioned if I could eat all this without throwing up but I rarely throw is a waste of beer and food if you ask me.

I gave this plan to my crew with the instruction to ensure I ate this amount as a minimum. This is an appropriate point to mention my crew and thank them for their fantastic service. My son Ross, who crewed for me on the ill fated Tortourderuhr attempt, and Chrissy, my most excellent wife, for whom this was her first crewing duty. They were great throughout the race and kept me going, offering food and encouragement all the way. I really can't express my thanks enough for what they did. I better stop with the praise now, otherwise I will be far too soppy.

My loyal crew
We left Germany on the Tuesday before the race and traveled to Ijmuiden in the Netherlands to catch the sleeper ferry across to Newcastle. Arriving on Wednesday morning we drove to a pleasant Bed and Breakfast place in Embleton. The next few days were spent doing a bit of course reconnaissance and a lot of casual touring.
After I posted the link to the tracker for the race on Facebook I received some excellent encouragement that helped me focus. I also received a few personal messages that really rammed home that I had a lot of backing among my friends in the running community. Either that or I was being guilt tripped into finishing :-)

A couple hit home

‘I love the way you just list your performance on the DNF as it happened... your blog doesn't just inspire, it reassures’

I was also told

‘You Got This’


'You had better nail this race as Mark has put this on especially for Sparta training '

These really inspired me.

My complete kit list for the race was quite simple.

· A couple of hats.
· A Sparta buff.
· A Montane Minimus jacket.
· A Care Keep Warm top for coldest time of the night.
· An Asics long sleeve top with sleeve mittens that I bought in 1998.
· A couple of technical t shirts from various races.
· A pair of leggings by Alex.
· A couple of pairs of shorts by Adidas.
· A couple of pairs Sealskins socks for the rain.
· A couple of pairs Wright socks.
· A couple of pairs of Drymax socks.
· A pair of Asics GEL-Trail Lahar 5 G-TX shoes.
· A pair of Asics GT 2000 shoes.
· A Adidas sports watch with just the time displayed in very large numbers
· Two backpacks with large bladders. (one was a gift from a friend and another was a gift from a marathon)

When we woke up the weather was bad. It was bucketing down. Therefore I chose to start the race wearing the following items

· A hat from the 2012 Frankfurt marathon.
· The Asics long sleeve top.
· A lime green technical t shirt from Jungfrau marathon 2006.
· The Montane Minimus rain jacket.
· The Alex Leggings.
· The Sealskins socks.
· The Asics trail shoes.

I covered my feet in Lipidro cream and taped my nipples with Leukotape. My nether regions were liberally plastered with Vaseline.

We picked up a packed breakfast at six am consisting of a cheese sandwich and a packet of salt and vinegar crisps, arriving at the start for registration shortly afterwards.

I introduced my crew to the others there and caught up with some old friends. Alex and Mark Cockbain where already there and Mark noted my sarnie was a typical northern start to the day. Lawrence Chownsmith was there to crew for Martin Illot. Lawrence mentioned that he had a few issues with the instructions. He could understand that RHS meant Royal Horticultural Society but what did LHS mean? Was there a Liberal Horticultural Society?

Drew Sheffield was soon taking the mickey out of Jon Steele’s Hokas, announcing the sale of the firm to Tommy Hilfiger and the cancellation of all the star runner contracts. He does this so convincingly that even an old cynic like me was fooled.

Chris Rainbow expressed concern that the tracker might interfere with his pacemaker. This turned out to be completely unfounded as he finished second.

Riccardo Giussani a veteran of the Hill and Viking way was there sharing crew with Dave Fawkner.

Jason Lewis and Tom Forman were both very ebullient making everyone laugh.

Mark's briefing was short and simple and can be summed up as don't be an idiot and finish in time. Tom Forman was at the start line in the pouring rain in a cotton t shirt and shorts. I thought what an idiot. He is not going last long, just like on the Hill.

Jon Steele shook my hand at the start just to assure me that he wasn't going to beat me up like my hallucinations made me think he wanted to on the Hill.

As we started I missed Jon Steele going to the water’s edge and almost falling in. He had to be rescued by Dave Fawkner and others.

As I ran off I was soon regretting wearing so much, as although it was raining heavily, it was rather warm. Within a mile or so I had to strip to the waist to remove the long sleeve top and put that along with my rain jacket in my backpack. Perhaps Tom was not such an idiot after all.

During this exercise I was overtaken by everyone else, ending up in last a position, something I clung onto with a savage desperation for much of the race. Fortunately Steve Gordon was on unofficial sweeping duties and pickup my bum bag carrying my food for the first ten miles.

We started a slow climb and reached the first crew point at Lamplugh School. Confusingly for the crews Lamplugh School is not in Lamplugh. I changed backpacks and got a new bum bag of food.

Me and Chrissy at Lamplugh
At this point I had caught up with Ricky and Dave and we ran on together for a while. Dave was constantly checking the map which drove me a little crazy...I don't know why but it did. I would be very thankful later on for his skills on that map. The first or last person of our group was shouting the warning 'car!' as one approached. This soon degenerated into cries of 'broom broom' and other childish nouns. It seemed very funny at the time.

I met my crew at a place called Watered just past the creepy named Fangs Brow Farm. This has magnificent views of Loweswater. This stunning vista caused a lack of attention as I didn't change backpacks, which turned out to be a mistake.

As we climbed even higher to the Whinlatter pass I lost Dave and Riccardo as they were far too strong for me on the hills. It was about here that I chatted to the great charity raiser Tony the Fridge running sans fridge. I noted that his name is grammatically incorrect and should be Tony and the Fridge. He told me the fridge gets lots of weird messages via twitter.

The torrential rain started again and that combined with lack of rain jacket and no food or water was seriously dragging my mood down. I passed a road sign saying only two miles to the pass and was a little cheered although I had the shakes on by now.

I came to a turning to go on to an off road section that was manned by the bright and cheery Drew and Claire.

'Only two miles to the pass' shouted Drew.

'Ah fek' I thought, 'either he is over estimating or I am not going to make it by the cut off.'

Although Mark had said in his briefing that as this was the first running the internal cut offs didn't matter, I was still concerned and this was upsetting me even more.

I eventually came to the end of the trail to see Mark pointing the way on the turning. It was raining heavily and he was standing there soaked to the skin looking as if this was normal. The man is impervious to rain.
'Just down to the bottom, turn left up the hill and right at the top'
Typical! Another hill.
I reached the car park and saw Chrissy sheltering under the hatchback of our CRV. Normally seeing her would cheer me up but I was in no mood for positivity.

'You are doing brilliantly, well done.'
I was last, soaked to the skin, freezing, hungry, thirsty and it had taken me four hours fifty to cover twenty four miles. How can that be brilliant?

I barely acknowledged my crew as I stripped off my top and frantically searched for a dry one and something to eat. I shrugged Chrissy away as she tried to dry me off with a towel. I was throwing things around in the back of the car like a spoilt child chucking his toys out of the pram.
As I turned to storm over to Alex to register my late arrival Chrissy said

'Everyone else has turned up happy and laughing with their crew. YOU!!! YOU TREAT US LIKE THAT!!!'

I felt suitably admonished...then Drew said something witty, I forget what, and as I laughed, I felt even more guilty about my behavior. I could be enjoying this and I shouldn't worry about little things. Just accept and move on with a plan...I resolved at the next crew point to be happy and smiling and to enjoy it.

I went over to Chrissy and Ross and apologized. I told them I would cheer up.
'You better' was the reply.

I ran off down the path to the bottom of the pass. I am better at down hills than up. I claim it is because as snowboarder I run down leaning forwards 1) to reduce the appearance of the slope and 2) to ensure that as my legs turn over my foot fall is not a breaking one. Others point out, that being such a Fat Unt, gravity pulls me down faster.

As I run down I am chatting to myself that I need to cheer up and see Ricky and Dave asking someone the way. The sign post had fallen over at the junction of two paths.

'Guys we are going downhill to Keswick it must be this way.'
They followed me down and laughed as I kept singing out loud 'smile, be happy, every little ting gonna be alright.'

The rain was getting worse but I had my rain jacket on so it wasn't too bad. In fact rain is just liquid sunshine.

We overtook Martin Illot who was suffering from the rain.

As we hit the bottom of the valley we had to cross the long flat bed of the former glacial valley. Loads of tarmac flat as pancake. l loved it as I am not really a trail runner and prefer the security of tarmac underfoot.

We saw Steve and Tom up ahead and soon caught up with them. As a 4*4 came around the corner Tom shouted the warning. But instead of car he exclaimed


'Tom you try and come across as one of the lads but really you are a posh twat. I mean who really says vehicle? '

'But it was a vehicle and not a car' he protested feebly.
It didn’t help, as I continued to take the mickey out of Posh Tom for the rest of the way into Keswick. Just as we reached Keswick, I heard the dulcet tones of James Adams behind me. He and Gemma were holiday in the region and he was greeting all the runners he saw and running to the crew point with us. I was pleased he noted I was wearing a Spartathlon T shirt, as this was the reason I was doing this race.

As we reached the crew point I greeted Chrissy with a cheery smile and a big hug. I introduced her to James.

'So you are The James Adams, don't you have a book out?'

Chrissy meeting THE JAMES ADAMS
She is not even interested in running and she knows. Chrissy told me the Ugly Unt had called and said that of course I was last because I am a Fat Unt, but that also makes me a diesel engine that will just keep going. This raised my mood even more.

I quickly swapped bags this time and added a sweat shirt as we were to go off road onto the Old Coach Road which climbed steeply and was rather exposed to the wind. We soon started to the climb and I was warming up nicely...past a stone circle and then up and down through some fields. Finally I hit the Old Coach Road. This was a horrible rutted track. It was so bad it reminded me of The Hill.

Up and up we went. I could see six runners in front of me. Winder and wetter it got. Then they went off the Old Coach Road and I stupidly followed them. Initially the route was ok but then we had to make a sharp right to steeply clamber over bogs and barely marked foot paths.

I reached the next cut off point at 3:30pm about 15mins before the deadline. Loads of runners we sitting down and refueling at the crew point. I never sit down as I fear I won’t get up again. I stripped off my sweat shirt and at this point I should have changed my socks. I didn’t change them during the whole races and this was a big mistake.

Amanda Goodwin and her sister were making vast qualities of tomato soup and that was a welcome break from my other food.

Drew Sheffield joked as he was doing the timings he could make me first. He also complemented my crew and said I could appreciate them more.
DREW: They are a great crew, love them more
I set off before most of the others, as being so slow I can’t afford to wait around at crew points. As I ran along to Greystoke, I overtook Jon Steele and Phil Turton and was caught by Steve Gordon. He commented on my Spartathlon t shirt and said this race was one on his bucket list. I said, rather rudely in hindsight, that I thought bucket lists were a dumb idea. I think a lot of the terminology in Ultra running is silly and I have no truck with it. This obsession with diets, shoes, drop heights, new bits of kit and technology annoys me intensely. I mean, seriously, we are here to run, not buy new toys out of boredom.

At the Greystoke, Chrissy swapped my backpack and bum bag and then gave me a pint and packet of scratchings. This is what had motivated me to sped to Greystoke and reach it before the people I had left at High Brow. I was at 46miles, a third of the way in, no longer last and feeling great.

I moved on to Great Blencow and saw Jon, Phil and their crew camped on a roadside picnic table. Phil was feeling sorry for himself, so I clipped him around the ear and told him he was running with Jon ‘Man of’ Steele and there was no way he wouldn’t finish. I asked Shirley Colquhon, Jon’s wife, about the Chia seeds they rave on about. She kindly gave me an energy bar containing them. How nice is that?

I left them and then found my energy leaving me . It was probably the pint I had at Greystoke. I was slowing a lot and Jon and Phil soon overtook me. As they did I used my best spooky voice to creep Phil out
‘Drop Phil, you know you want to’

Thankfully he ignored me.
It started raining again, proper northern rain from the Lake District. I didn’t have my Montana Minimus with me as I had left it with Chrissy to dry off in the car. Fortunately I had a red plastic poncho similar to the one I had used in DeutschLandLauf. Cheap and functional it would get me to Penrirth. I was slowing again and I knew the reason. I greedily eat Shirley’s chia bar and my homemade energy bars as well as two gels and felt better.

Chrissy met me halfway down the Fells Road which is another steep incline, just after Riccardo Tom and Dave overtook me. Chrissy and I chatted as we walked up the hill, this was great and added to my positive mood. Although I was back to last I was in no way dishearten. I felt great seeing her just and as we reached the car she gave me a chicken fillet from KFC which I ate quickly. Food make Robbie happy!

I reached Langwathby at sixty miles at dusk and changed into my Care Keep Warm Top and collected my head torch. This was going to be a tough section climbing the ten miles to the top of the Hartside hill during darkness. I was moving slowly but steadily. I was convinced I was lost, but a quick call to Alex and Mark who saw me on the tracker raised my confidence and I plodded on.

I called the Ugly Unt and we chatted complete tollox for a while .Although there had been storms up on Hartside as the leaders arrived some four hours before me, I had a clear night and saw several shooting stars. All I could think was 'wow how great was it to be alive and doing this race.'

I could see the headlights of the cars at the Hartside cafe above me and eventually just as I neared the summit Mark came down to greet me.
That is me coming up the hill
‘You are doing fine Rob. This is the last hill, just keep plugging on.’

I met Chrissy and Ross at Gargill at nearly 80 miles in and the night was perfect. As I crossed over the very highest point the stars were shining brightly and I turned my torch off to get an improved view. I could see the Milky Way and the several constellations. I noticed that the trees were covered in a light frosting and this just added to the beauty of it all. This took away the pain in my feet. I had been wearing waterproof socks for over twenty hours. The blisters that had formed had burst and starting to move after a stop was painful. I could have changed the socks but it was too late. I was frighten the skin would tear off as I changed them and expose the red raw and bleeding skin.

I used the usual mental tricks to turn blisters into friends keeping my feet warm and stopping as little as possible.

I dropped down into the Miners Arm Pub in Nenthead and saw Chrissy with Dave’s crew member Ginny. I had overtaken Riccardo, Tom and Dave. It transpired they had taken a wrong turn. For those that don’t know Tom Forman is notorious for his lack of map reading skills. My advice is not to let him near one. However Dave confessed it was his error. We refuelled and march up yet another hill..

Mark another hill.

Chrissy drove up to mark the easy to miss turning and I soon fell behind the others and regained last place. It was soon daylight and just before the County Durham border marked by a large stone pyramid I turned my torch off

I ran down to Rookhope passed some disused mine workings catching up with the others and shared my special night fuel. A bag of Worcester sauce favoured crisps with lumps of cheese in it. Tom remarked this was like rocket fuel.

There seemed to be hundreds of dead rabbits, birds and sheep on the road. No idea why though.

At Rookhope Amanda and Chole were cooking up bacon sarnies. Chrissy told me earlier she couldn’t understand why they argued so much. Then someone mentioned they were sisters, which kind of explained everything. I ate the bacon and had to get rid of the bread.

After Rookhope there was yet another steep climb, for which I had to turn backwards to save my quads.

Mark another hill.

Just outside Stanhope I needed to evacuate my bowels. Perched on a wall and I noted this meant that I was eating enough. I used a few leaves to wipe my bum and got a little itch. Then there was another march up to Parkhead.

Mark another hill.

The climb went on forever and as I reached the top Drew and Claire said they would order a bacon sarnie and tea for me. How kind! I mentioned my feet were trashed. Drew replied that your feet always get trashed on things like this. Which somehow seemed funny.

Bacon Sarnie at Parkhead
Mark passed me in his car and mentioned this was the last hill out of his window. Yeah! Like I hadn’t heard that one before.

I had reached the 100 mile by 9:20am or 26 hours 20 minutes I was really pleased. Ok so that is not a fast 100 mile time by any stretch of the imagination, but the rain and hills had slowed this Fat Unt down. Chrissy gave me a kiss as I walked in and handed me the bacon sarnie. Drew was on top form as we chatted to the evil cyclists.
Actually, I ought to mention I normally have a big problem with cyclists. I live in Germany and run on trails and hills at weekends. The cyclists are so rude and dangerous. They barely say hallo or even thank you for getting out of their way and I have had arguments with them on more than one occasion. However the cyclists on this route were very polite friendly and safety conscious.

It was mentioned to the cyclists we were running the route which was greeted by exclamations of shock, surprise and disbelief. I love it when that happens.

As I left Chrissy put my rain jacket on. As I already had my Care Keep Warm top on I thought this unnecessary, but the Waskerley Way turned out to be part of the Pennines, ‘An area of outstanding natural beauty said the sign. Beauty, my arse! It is a barren windswept sheep filled wasteland.

If it is so beautiful how come no one lived there?

Although I left before the three musketeers, they soon overtook me. After a while I called Chrissy and she told me she was meeting me earlier than planned at the Rowley crew point some 107 miles in as the other crews were there. I was pleased with this news and had more tomato soup from the Goodwin sisters.

As I left I asked Chrissy to get me three cheese burgers at the next stop in Consett. As I approached this point I was a confused as there was several possible route through the town and I wanted to get to the one that went past Tesco’s, the meeting point. I called Ross and he confirmed I was heading in the correct direction. A cyclist tried to stop me to put me back onto what the correct route was, but I wouldn’t stop for anyone.

As arrived in the car park I saw the other support crews with coffees in hand.

‘Chrissy is over there’
‘Hi can I have my burgers please’
‘I haven’t got them I went for a coffee with the girls.’

Part of me wanted to scream WTF! But another part said it doesn’t matter we must keep moving. Zebra thinking, there is no point in arguing about something you can do nothing about.

Both of those voices were wrong. I could have, should waited for the burgers there and then.

Instead Chrissy pointed me to the correct route. I was a little distracted by how good she looked on no sleep and her concern for me. She did her funny little skipping run which is so cute and I completely forgot to refuel.
I entered a park a bit dazed and confused and had to call Mark again to determine the correct route onto the Derwent Way. I needed food and water had none. I called Chrissy and arranged to meet at the Derwent Walk Inn just off the route. I ate one of the cheeseburgers and loaded up with gels. I could have taken the other burgers with me. Another mistake! These were the only things that would stay down as the energy bars were too heavy.

I knew time was moving on and I wasn’t going fast enough. I resolved to run as fast as I could ignoring the pain in my feet. I got to Rowlands Gill at 117 miles and changed out of the Care Keep Warm top and into the Spartathlon shirt which hummed something rotten, but I didn’t care. I refuelled with gels and cheese in crisps packets.

Chrissy poured water over my head to cool me down and showed me the way the others had taken. I was a bit confused but found the way back onto the Derwent walk. I couldn’t see properly and it took me a while to realise that I had lost a contact lens.

I called Chrissy and asked her to meeting me in Newcastle somewhere along the water front and to bring my distance glasses, ALL the gels and the other backpacked filled with water. About this time I received a text from Mark saying he wanted to see five mile per hour from me to reach the finish in time and that I must run.

WHAT THE FUCK did he think I was doing? No point in wasting energy on him though, run, run like the wind.
I ran on through the never ending park to try to reach the bridge over the Tyne in a reasonable time.

As I got there I overtook Laszlo Berdan from Hungary who had been walking with a broken ITB since Parkhead some twenty miles before hand. This hero managed to finish at just before midnight. That is dogged determination for you.

Riccardo caught up with me and we ran on for a while

Eventually I met Chrissy and Ross on the roadside. They had moved away from the car which was not good because I might have need something they didn’t have with them.

True enough they didn’t have the replacement backpack. I didn’t panic as they quickly said they had a bottle of water to refill the one on my backpack which Ross did. I took out the remaining contact lens and put on my glasses. My phone battery was dead so I handed the phone to Chrissy and asked for the gels. Chrissy only had three with her.

‘ I didn’t think you would need them all and I got you some energy bars as well’

Again I didn’t panic I just ran on, shouting behind me as I sped off.

‘I have no time to wait, I’ll see you at the end’

My feet were even more battered from the fast running on pavements, but I knew from a road sign I was less than fourteen miles from the finish with more than three hours to go.

I kept shouting to myself ‘YOU GOT THIS!’ to keep me going

I was getting excited and ran what seemed to be very fast, but probably wasn’t, along the Newcastle Quayside, which incidentally is well worth a visit. There is a marvellous view of four bridges that span the Tyne.
Four bridges
I passed Kate Hay-Heddle with Riccardo at 127 mile at 17:44pm

I continued my way along the route 72. The distance to the end at Tynemouth was going down and down every ten minutes or so. I saw the miles on the signs dropping

9 miles,
8 miles,
7 miles,
6 miles,
5 miles,
6 miles
Hang on that’s not right.

‘It can’t be six miles again!’

I saw a cyclist and he said it was five miles to go. I asked a pedestrian

‘This is Tynemouth right?’
‘No lad, this is Willington Quay. Tynemouth is miles that way’

I had no choice but to carry on. I had no phone to call anyone with and no money either. I got back onto the route 72 and looked desperately for the change to the route 1 as the instructions said.

I then saw Dave in the distance and ran to catch him up.

‘Fuck this, I have been going round in fucking circles for a fucking hour! The fucking little shits around here have been turning all the fucking cycle signs around!’

There was a lamppost nearby that had two cycle signs on. One pointing to Newcastle where we had come from and one pointing to Tynemouth where were heading to. Unfortunately both of them where pointing in the same direction.

‘Let’s call Mark, or failing that follow the road signs to Tynemouth.’

Dave called him and we set off again. We went around a marina and then came across another twisted cycle sign. Dave got his GPS out and directed us up the road to the centre of Tynemouth.

We ran on time was against us as we had less than hour left.
How far away were we really? Ahh the tension was killing me.

I left Dave and ran on as I could see the sea and the Tynemouth Priory which was the site of the ending. Unfortunately I couldn’t see Mark, Alex, Chrissy or any sign of the end

I frantically looked around and decided to head down to a car park that appear to be overlooking the coast. At this point Mark drove past and stuck his head out of the car window.

‘I am going to disqualify you for taking the wrong route.’

I must have turned bright red with anger and was about to explode and kick his car door in when he quickly said,

‘I am only joking with yer man.’

I followed his instructions to go down the path and be confronted with a short climb to the finishing flags.

Mark another hill.

I got there and Mark shook my hand. I frantically looked around for Chrissy and Ross as I had been dreaming of crossing the line with them. This race was as much there’s as mine. I couldn’t have finished it without them and I want to share this taste of victory with them. I was distraught and almost cried. Big soppy idiot.

Alex called Chrissy but to no avail. Dave arrived shortly after me as did Riccardo. I wasn’t last, in fact I was fourth. A long way fourth as Jon Steel had finished two and half hours ahead of me.

Dave called Ginny and she had Ross and Chrissy with her. As it was blowing quite a bit Alex bundled the three runners into her car to stay warm and wait Chrissy and Ginny. I started shivering quite badly.

I didn’t follow the example of other finishers and take a dip in the sea as the Ugly Unt said it would cause a tsunami that would flood Denmark.

All the runners on this race had to put up with the rain and the hills. We all did a fantastic job irrespective of if we finished.

The crews were great. Each and every crew helped all the runners even thought this was a race. That is one of the things I love about Ultra running. Special mention goes to Amanda and Chole and their seemingly inexhaustible supplies of tomato soup and bacon sarnies. But my crew was the best, Chrissy and Ross had to put up with a grumpy Fat Unt and did so without barely a word of compliant.
The organisation was superb and deserve thanking the marshals Drew, Claire, Kate, Tim and of course the race directors Alex and Marl Cockbain.

I eventually found the route one I was looking for in Scarborough!

Lessons learned
Don’t wear Sealskins for 38 hours as they trash your feet and change socks every 40 miles
You can run a lot faster under pressure than you think you can
Crews need more respect than you give them
Don't believe road signs
Chill more, accept the set backs and move on with a plan
Don’t decide so quickly and ensure you always have enough fuel and water irrespective of what it is.

I have sky high confidence. I just need to work on speed and heat and I will be ready for the big one


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