My first ever trail run I entered with trepidation not knowing what to expect. I purchased my first pair of trail shoes at a massive £24.99! I might add the best £24.99 I have ever spent and in true harrier colours.
On the morning of the run I woke up late and in a blind panic. I Jumped in and out of the car every two minutes forgetting my watch, forgetting a flask and forgetting I hadn’t eaten. I settled for the best of McDonald’s bacon roll hash brown and a coffee.
After meeting up with Kelly Withers at CP2 we drove to CP1 to meet with other runners and tag our partners and continue the race. After a short, cold wait I was greeted by Katie Green. I was handed my number and I ran with Jayne Barlow-Salloum who was running strong as part of her duo run. After a gruelling 11 miles across a beautiful countryside the end was in sight. As I arrived at the finish line of CP2 I was greeted with cheers from all the fellow runners and harriers alike.
Questions were being asked who am I handing my numbers to, to continue leg 3 of the run. I was hungry and thirsty, phone calls were being made to seek the runner. It appeared the runner may have got dates wrong, however the race had to continue. I hadn’t fuelled, dressed or trained for anything more than 13 miles especially a trail run. I grabbed a cup of tea and a piece of granola biscuit and refilled my water bottle and offered my services to do leg 3.
All my team mates were very grateful and spurred me on. I continued the run along unknown paths and started speaking to other runners asking to run with them and swapped running stories and experiences. Around mile 14 or 15 I started to flag and felt blisters developing on my toes (damn these new shoes) I was cheered on by umpa lumpas and continued through the niggles of blisters.
As I ran towards the canal I saw a post office, I walked towards the door (yes walked) and thought I need food, I picked up the biggest bag of harribo sweets I could see and a bottle of lucozade sports, I hadn’t brought any money, “oh no” then prompted by the shop keeper, “have you got Apple Pay on your phone” my saviour!! I continued my run and started to slowdown. I was caught up by two runners who asked how I was doing and started to tell me their stories. They were winging there first attempt of an ultra. We became the three amigos, we had loads in common including running the first Wigan Half Marathon, all three of us finished London within 4 minutes of each other this year and then we all ran first Kirkby 10 miler.
As we approached the finish of leg 3 I was contacted by Ian Stewart asking where I was, he was with all the best intentions of meeting me at mile 25 to take over but I was almost complete so he had to rush to CP3 to meet me. As I approached I was never so happy to see another man before, but on the flip side the three amigos had become 2 as I was no longer running with them.
I sat waiting for Denise Riley to finish her leg so I could get back to face HQ, receiving calls from family and Kelly making sure I was ok. I saw Denise arriving then it hit home I’d finished and in my eyes saved the day in more than one way after giving first aid at CP3 until rescue services arrived to a fellow runner that literally ceased up on the spot he rested. We left the tent and headed towards HQ to a satisfactory welcome from all other runners and all the harriers that had completed their runs.
I know I’m not at Harriers that often anymore due to other commitments but I am proud to say that they are my second family. The support we offer each other is second to none.
Did I mention the “massive” budget priced trail shoes I bought. They will most definitely be used again.
Maybe I might join Marsha on the full 40 miles next year?
The Haribo had a startling affect on James!