Dave and me at the finish; =46th UK Ultra Championships 2010, originally uploaded by ultraBobban.
The easy bits I forget. The hard bits I remember. At this point the guys at Cp9 said less than 10km to the finish. Bollocks. It was 13km+
That was negativity slipping between the cerebral hemispheres. The bastard had got in and was starting to rot my PMA like it had done with Dave many hours earlier. We had targetted finishing at 9.30am. I knew that we were 25 minutes outside our last estimate for CP9 so I feared for where we were going. A sit down and watch the rest of the runners go past and amble in under 24 hours was a flood that was suddenly taking over my brain. Dave was good here. He was playing reverse psychology. At the time when I needed it most, the big man from Molesey was there and demonstrated that his ball of PMA was massive. Well at least acorn sized.
The Ridgeway is a ridge. Just that. The last leg was undulation from 160-280m on long slow hills. Metalled track gave way to rutted muddy pathways, too deep to run properly and switching from rut to rut demoralised me. We saw a few runners in the distance. The sun picking out the reflective strips and day-glo colours from the chalky farmland that surrounded them.
The last 5 or so miles were a bit of a blur. I couldn't walk. However, the last ounce of energy, the last gift in the sac magique was to run. That was all I could do. Spasm in calves and the knowledge of lost and broken toenails gave way to a trot. the trot broke into a canter and then a gallop as we descended from Fyfield Down and off the hills down Herepath. As we did we flew past 6 totally dejected runners and did what we always do when we run. Finish strong. We did a sub 11, a sub 10 and then an 8 for the last 3 miles. 8 minute miles are bread and butter to most runners but 8s at 88 seemed a symetrical way to end the best run of my life.
And then it ended......
At the line, handshakes and medals. The UK Ultra Trail Championships were over =46th place for me and Dave. Bacon butties cider and a sleep in the crew car all the way to London.
Sublime. Ridiculous. Unforgettable.
We said never again. Ever. But now? I think maybe 100 next year.
Thanks Astrid and Susie, Jezza and Dave. Massive well done to Di, Dave, Tim and Linda for support. Thanks to Susan Smith; Chairperson of DPR who turned up and waited for us hour after hour at some ungodly hour! Well done to Claire and Helen, Draconian one and Colin. Well done to Beardy man and the PMA stealers. Well done to the Jungle crew. Well done to you all. If you came 1st or last. That was a run that defied expectations and gave everything in memories that it took from you in spirit and energy.
See you next year?