I am still in a little haze from the weekend just past, stiff legs and back and a punished immune system are residual – but the sense of achievement, admiration, inspiration and some new friends to boot is overwhelming.
I will sum up each day with a few quotes to help me remember some of the details that I may miss!
4 hours sleep
Set the alarm for 4.00am, and decided that no matter the cause this is a ridiculous time to be getting up to go running. In any case, I managed to skip breakfast in a rush to pack the last few bits and pieces – almost omitting underwear and a towel! Fortunately my mental check list managed to pick up on this and I squeezed it all in.
5 hours driving
Paul picked me up from home at 4.30am and our journey had begun. This was it. A painless 3 hour drive to Bath with a quick stop for some breakfast and a drink at Reading services. We parked up in a random residential street and got a taxi to the Coach Park with plenty of time for the pickup at 8.30am. Another 2 hour drive to Chipping Camden, and within the first hour we had met Reece, who had covered the SDW100 in an amazing 17hr55min a few months previous; and a couple of ladies who had run the MDS *TWICE*!! Paul’s #outofmydepth hashtag could not of been more accurate, yet it was somewhat comforting to find that for most people in the coach, it was their first dabble into ultra running. We were not alone! We also met our friend Szilard (“Szil”) from “PARIS OF THE NORTH”… aka Stoke-On-Trent.
Eager Start, Sun Shining, Sun Burn!
We arrived in Chipping Camden, and after a quick registration we found there were no more maps left (we were last to register). Fortunately I had plotted the entire route on my iphone and was confident this would correct us if we went wrong at all. I am rubbish at map reading most of the time, so this was my plan anyway. We turned up at the start, and myself, Paul and Reece went to get a picture at the start. Immediately after we got started and we unintentionally ended up leading from the front. Now our lack of experience meant we obviously set off a far too quick pace, and this would later catch up with Paul’s poor calves!
Start of the 100MileRun
We got going, and I managed to vine a few 6 second videos!
Day 1a Day 1b Day 1c
All for a well earned Badger’s Bottom!
We arrived at the Camp after Paul had some cramp at around 11-13miles and really started struggling. No joke in that his Calf muscle literally retreated up into his hamstrings, there were gremlins running around inside them! We dropped the running and walked some, with a nice downhill finish we then picked it up back into a gentle pace. Paul enjoyed an Ice Bath and a Massage, while I pitched my tent and had a shower – we then went to flavour some of the locally pressed Cider – “Badger’s Bottom”. A few of our fellow new found friends / drinking buddies joined us, and each of us could give you a full history of the Cider’s origins.
Day 1: 15.8miles, 3 hours
Wrong turn after 100 meters, oops!
After a rough night’s sleep with a few noisy downpours, and an average breakfast of bacon and sausage baps we got started for Day 2′s slog of what was meant to be 27 miles – although we had heard rumours of it being a bit longer. We set off intentially at the back, but within 100 meters the pack had all missed a turning, and where they had to turn back and catch up we found ourselves at the front again!! Needless to say, we took this much steadier and allowed runners to pass. We walked the initial long climb at 3-5 miles and passed the first 5 mile check point in 59 minutes. We hit 10 miles at just under 2 hours, and were passing people at this point. A group formed, and we ran most of the day from 15 miles onwards with Hannah – what grew to be a strong running partnership between the 3 of us!
Hannah’s husband, Ben, joined us at around Mile 19ish for a short pacing stretch up until ~23 Miles where we briefly had Szil join our pack and we passed the last checkpoint. Unfortunately Szil was struggling at this point and had to slow a little more, as he had made the same mistake we did the day before and had hit the wall a little early! Paul had some more cramp at around 24 miles; but he ploughed on and had a second wind – I was really impressed at his fortitude at this point. We caught a glimpse of the leading pack of runners leaving the check point, and our competitiveness saw us trying to gain on them – which we managed to just after the 26 mile point.
Feet up and enjoying the sunshine… The Simons!
“Down the hill, past the purple flowers, left of the pub – if you get to the phone box you’ve gone too far!”
few miles to go…
Which way to the Gun Show?
Marathon Day 2
The Irony of this video strikes me, as we thought we only had 1 mile to go here – little did we know it would be 2 miles longer than we thought, and 2 of the biggest hills still to come!!
So we crossed the 27 mile point, and Paul and Hannah had gone with me as I went to catch the leading group and felt strong. We got to Cooper’s Hill, bringing back memories of the Cheese Rolling event I attended in March – another insane day, one I will never participate in myself!!
We eventually arrived at the Scout Camp in Cranham, and Ben had overheard us discussing our fondness of Coca Cola post-run and had fetched us 4 x 2L bottles to share round – what a legend!! I had a quick massage with Elaine the physio, showered, and enjoyed a few rounds of shooting and archery!
Paul found the Gun Show!
And Szil found the Snakebite! He also enlightened us on his Swedish Viking Clan Storytelling experiences…
Distance covered: 29.1 miles, 5 hours 30 minutes
I was last out the camp, and had unfortunately had my Garmin pinched / accidentally picked up overnight, but managed to catch up early on after 1 mile with Matt & Mary. They literally carried me every step of the way on Day 3 and after a near collision with a golf ball at 3 miles, we managed to catch up with the other runners which meant we had made a good pace. We felt soo good at Mile 21 we even opted to run the BONUS 2 MILES around the golf course. I was promised amazing views, alas I was sorely disappointed as the weather was pretty terrible. Nevertheless, it was another good solid day of running with some dodging through cornfields to boot!
At the camp, it had just started raining as I went to pitch my tent, and another Matt, Matt B, mentioned he had a room in the B&B on the camp site – Myself and Paul quickly took up this offer and we enjoyed a solid night’s sleep without even realising it had rained! Great decision!
Distance covered: 26.3miles, 5 hours 15 minutes
The final day, with 33 miles to cover we had one plan – to walk the ups, run the flats and downs, and pace ourselves sensibly to make sure we didn’t blow up. A few others passed us early on, but it wasn’t long until we formed a group of 7 until Mile 18 with Myself, Paul, Rachel, John, Matt, Mary and Szil. At this point Rachel, Matt and Mary stopped for a drink of Coke in the pub (clearly Coke is the way forward for long distance running!) and it was down to the 4 of us. John met his wife at Mile 23 check point (which was apparently 25 miles in; but none of us had GPS running), and we were down to the last slog!
On numerous occasions we were convinced that we would see Bath over the next hill, yet we were sorely disappointed to find out there were yet more hills..
Early on in the day I met some more CLIC Sargent Runners en-route, a perfect photo opportunity!
Check point 2 at 18 miles, and our first sign of bath – literally.
And then, after a few extra miles than we thought – we had arrived in Bath! One quick stop for a Mo-bot at the Royal Crescent; and we were there. Job done!
We followed this up with a fun after party at a local pub, where we played “Spot the runner”
Spot The Runner…