You don’t always get the medal!

Manchester Marathon by Lisa Heyes

Rain, wind, constant dark nights, the training companions of a spring marathon. I racked up over 600 miles during my training plan. My mantra was ‘follow the plan’, I lived and breathed running for over 4 months, as did everyone else in the Heyes household. This isn’t a personal pity party, I actually enjoyed the training, yes sometimes I was knackered and yes the disastrous dark run in Haigh Hall frightened the life out of me and who wants to be called a ‘F***ing Running W***er’ whilst minding their own business running through Hindley, but, the rest was actually great and very enjoyable. Training had been going really well. I’d come through the ‘tired all the time’ stage and was starting to grow in confidence. That was until 2 weeks before Manchester when we went down to London for the London Landmarks half. To be honest a great, well organised race, but for me this race started with a slight niggle and ended at 13.1 miles with excruciating pains shooting down my leg and a broken medal! The next 2 weeks were spent in constant fear, trying to protect my injury, whilst stupidly trying to run the taper miles (well it’s on the plan) what a novice I am!

Sunday I woke up early, kit was out but I was still not sure whether to run, I’d had lots of lovely good luck messages and John brought me my race day breakfast of porridge and a cup of tea, he’s a keeper! I made the decision to go and give it my best shot. Then came the most hilarious car journey curtesy of Paul Fitzsimmons with entertainment provided by ‘Simmo’ so I arrived very chilled out and not my usual nervous wreck. There was time for a quick toilet stop, club photo and the runners ‘magic banana breakfast’ top up. I then made my way, with some fellow Harriers, to my start pen and waited for 10 agonising minutes until we could begin.

Gun went off, wished good luck to my fellow team mates and I set of running only to pass ‘Dubai Jayne’ in the toilet queue! The first 5 miles felt fine, I found myself running with Dave and Lee, we were chatting and keeping a good pace, though as usual at the start we felt we’d gone off too fast! We went through a water station and seemed to come out the other end without Lee.


Mile 6 to 7 my hip started to give me some jip, but nothing major, so on I went, still with Dave.

Mile 8, pain is getting worse and now it’s in my hip and knee, it’s sore and really uncomfortable, but not unbearable, so being the novice I am, onwards I go!

Mile 9, Dave has pulled away slightly, he keeps checking behind for me, I tell him I’m ok (I’m not really) and to keep going, he’s running really well and had a cracking first marathon with a brilliant finish time. Around here is where I see Dave and Jacqui, cheering me on, I should have stopped here as it is really hurting now, which I shout to them, Jacqui makes signals for me to stop and I do think I’m going to but the stupid devil on my back urges me to try a bit further, you never know it might stop hurting, as if?

Mile 10, yes I’m still going! I see Julie’s Joggers shouting and jumping around enthusiastically. I tell Julie I think I’m going to have to stop but they’re so enthusiastic and seem to think I’m just having a wobble and they are so encouraging, so I just carry on past.

Miles 10 – 12, I’m now having to run, walk. The pain is excruciating and shooting all the way down my leg every time my foot strikes the floor. I need to stop and I start looking around for anyone I know or a marshal. Runners are a great bunch and I’m constantly being asked am I ok, do I need help. At this point I see Paul Carter then Alex Roberts on the switch back, they are both looking really strong and in front of the 3:29 pacer, I shout encouragement and hobble on.

Mile 12, I round on to the main street in Altringham. There on the corner is the best sight ever, the Harriers flag! I burst in to tears. Jonathan scoops me in to his coat as I sob my disappointment out. Mike, Katherine, Serena, Rayford and Jonathan were brilliant with me, offering comfort and invaluable advice as even at this point I was still questioning myself and wrestling with carrying on and walking the last 14 or so miles, luckily Mr Harris put his foot down and told me this was not happening! Now this will tell all you runners the state I was in, I still hadn’t stopped my Garmin!


It was decided the best course of action would be for me to go back to the start with Serena, Jonathan and Rayford. Jonathan then carries me to the tram stop, one of them commented it was like the scene from ‘Officer and a Gentleman’, it really wasn’t, it’s him carrying a crying, snotty, middle aged women, poor Jonathan, he’s a good ‘un, my hero for the day. My 3 RACE ANGELS then got me to mile 25, luckily we got there just in time for me to see John well on the way to his sub 3 hour marathon and cheer him and others on. John you did amazingly well and I’m really proud of you.

So, there you go, my experience of this years Manchester marathon, very different to last years euphoric experience. It’s hard to put in hours and months of winter training, then not finish a race you put your heart and soul in to. I really struggled for the first few days after the race with the disappointment I felt in myself and the ‘what ifs’. All the messages I had off you lovely bunch meant I was never far from tears. Family Heyes spent 24 walking on eggshells and poor John had to try and keep the sub 3 smile hidden!

So no ‘meggal’ or t-shirt for me, gutted! But I won’t be the first or last person this happens to.

Moving forward the 4 week ‘lay off’ I’ve had to endure so far has been far worse than the DNF. I have missed being out in the fresh air just putting one foot in front of the other, pain free, with likeminded people, who support each other and who I’m lucky enough to call friends.

GO TEAM HARRIERS

 

A first Marathon

My First Marathon – Manchester

Someone once told me you can’t do a Marathon and for a long time, I started to believe them, which made my confidence go so low. This was not long before and after my injury and I then was told by a Chiropractor you should never attempt one either. From the injury, I had been seeing him over in which I picked up from the 401 (My own fault completely and not Ian Yates as much as I wind him up over it). Well two and bit years after that and working so hard to build back up the miles again, I felt great and even though my times where never the way they were prior to injury. At this point I settled for that and still do. I now don’t chase PB’s and I enjoy every race I entre, take it all in and get to the end. At the end of the day I still get the same medal as everyone and I see it as a plus I haven’t broken myself again on the race.

After gaining a little bit of confidence, getting over some personal issues, I thought “sod this let’s do it”. So, April 2018 I clicked the enter button on Manchester Marathon page and I was in!! Looking back, I was excited and knew I have a whole year ahead of me to process what I had done. Well a few months went by and it didn’t sink in or anything. Well that soon changed come November and the training was just around the corner. I went to the long runs with the DHR, not only are they the most amazing people, I know and ran with before, but I knew that the Sunday long runs would be slightly easier knowing I was with people in the same boat as me. I knew if I did my long runs with them, I would get it done, as no way I would do it on my own. I really can’t thank them enough.

My training was bob on and enjoying it in a weird way, but I managed to pick up an injury. This wasn’t great especially as it wasn’t running related. I had managed to pull a nerve in the lower of my back and for two weeks I could barely sit, move, walk, never mind run. Doctor advised me to not do the marathon and defer it and rest the back. Sadly, I had missed the deferral point. So, I had to bare the pain, take a lot of pain relief and get on with it. So, at points when some of you might have seen I was going a lot slower than planned, I was battling this back pain. Pain killer was my best friend for a month or so that’s for sure.

So, the big day came, I was running this not only for me but for my Dad. Manchester was his home town and was only fitting to do my only marathon there. Also, I decided to run for Sepsis Trust, as sadly, Sepsis took my Dad’s life at the age of 56. I raised over my target, currently at the £400 mark and still getting donations in, so I’m happy. The day started great all packed into the car and parked at Old Trafford. Enough time to get to the finish line to see some of the other fellow harriers, wish them well and move into our allocated pens. I went with James and Emma, it was Emma’s first marathon too. Won’t lie I was nervous and think it’s only right, no matter how many races you do. I was freezing and I realised I should have brought an old jumper to keep me warm. The race started and we watched them on the big screen then we moved to the start ourselves. Then next thing was we were off. We placed ourselves with 5:30 pacer and I was comfy. I know at one point I must have picked up some speed without knowing and didn’t see James or Emma. But at mile 6 I needed a loo stop and then they caught me up and we ran a fair whack after together.

My problem was about mile 15 and that’s when I felt the knee. Not my bad knee with my old injury the good one of all things. I was annoyed and worried about all the other injuries, like my back, this came out the blue. I told them to go don’t wait for me, go and make yourself proud. I walked/ran for two miles. But I ended up walking in too much pain, cold and on the verge of crying. Then this lady came to me, her name was Sam and asked if I was ok, well then that was it the floods opened and she gave me a hug and said she’s hurt to and will run walk with me. I felt happy to have company. We got to mile 22, power walking and chatting away, the time flew. We then bumped into another runner, Karen, who was struggling, and she joined us. At this point Sam said she’ll go a little fast if that was ok which we were happy to let her go and see her husband who had already finished. She said she’ll wait at the end for us.

Me and Karen did the last few miles together chatting and getting though it together. We got to the mile 25 mark and we knew we were at the end and a marshal told us to keep going there’s crowds waiting for us still and cheering. We were happy to hear this as we kind of thought we were last! I spotted my bro just a bit away from the finish line who shouted: “Run Sarah Run, go it’s nearly done, goooooo!!”. This was 400 yards to the end, I said to Karen “come on let’s run this last bit, we are in pain but we can do it”. Then I heard this voice from the crowds shouting “Go Sazzle, go!” and knew it was my boyfriend seeing me in. I won’t lie that 400 yards was so hard with the pain, but I was so happy to see that finish line.

Both of us got our picture taken together, collected our medals and walked through the village to collect our t-shirts. Low and behold we saw Sam, she was there with her husband and she did wait for us. She gave us both a massive hug, well done and left us to meet our supporters. Since the day, me and Karen have become friends and follow each other’s progress on our running.

I found my two supporters and they gave me a massive hug; little cry as was happy I did it and we walked back to the car. Well I say walk, it was more of a ‘John Wayne walk!’ Managed to get home, shower, food and a well-earned early night was needed. I took the day off work the next day which I think was wise. I had no issues with stairs like everyone seemed to have, it was more the general walking flats which I found odd. I took three weeks off running and just focused on swimming, cycling which has helped but I still have knee issues, which I think it mainly due to a tight ITB. Doing stretches and exercises to loosen it will get me back on track in no time. I have learnt to listen to my body.

The whole experience was a mix of emotions from before, the day and after. My head wants to hit another one but sadly my body is so broken it can’t take any more and I will have to stick to half’s from now on. If anyone thinks they can’t do it my words are “YES YOU CAN!”. If I can overcome being told no you can’t, an injury and manage to complete one, then you certainly can. I am happy to tick this off my bucket list and say “I AM A MARATHON RUNNER”.

Sarah-Elizabeth Coates

2018 Highlights

2018 was a fantastic year for Wigan Harriers Endurance however you choose to measure it. As a club we competed in all the major events, Road Relays, Cross Countries both league and National, Marathons home and abroad, Wigan 10k, Wigan Run Festival to name but a few. Black and red vests were everywhere with plenty of prizes won!

May saw another brilliantly attended 10k Trail Race at Amberswood, thank you to all who helped and raced it.

Endurance membership numbers remained at all time high and it was great to see new faces throughout the year. We of course lost a few people to illness, injury, retirement, home moves and other clubs. We wish everyone well and hope you stay healthy.

Our members achieved some tremendous performances over 2018 with many “PB’s” ticked off. More importantly if you review these photos then you will see that in addition to staying fit they also had a great time with friendship and camaraderie all the way! 😊

Now grab a drink and have a look back at 2018. They aren’t in order so expect the odd surprise. If you click on the first one you can view them as a slide show. I’ve tried to include as many as possible!

 

 

 

Warrington Way Ultra Relays by James Pentland

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?

James Pentland.

⚫️🔴⚫️🏃🏻‍♂️🏃🏻‍♀️🏃🏻‍♂️🏃🏻‍♀️

The Haribo had a startling affect on James!

A trip to the seaside……honest

Saturday 13th October is the magic date! What for? A trip to the seaside for the Mid Lancs Cross Country season opener in Ulverston, Cumbria.

All paid up members are eligible to run, no selection criteria, all welcome. 6 events all part of your membership so don’t miss out!

Ulverston was a new venue last season, first used March earlier this year. It’s a great course to start the season. It’s held on the playing fields and surrounding land of Glaxo. Even after a long winter it was good underfoot, with a few sections of gravel/hardcore so most people wore trail shoes.

Hills? Nope! A few short inclines but we are on the sea side so nothing tough.

The course is quite short so the men ran 4 laps to rack up 5.7 miles.

There’s a decent sized car park a few hundred metres away so all quite convenient.

Refreshments? Yep! We will have it covered every way. Harriers Airpot or Booths coffee shop, either way we will get our treats!

Last March Men’s posse including Simmo without his wig! 😀

ORDER OF EVENTS

Approx Distances
12.30pm u11up to 2K
12.45pm u11 boys up to 2K
1.00pm u13 girls 2.5K
1.20pm u15 girls and u13 boys 3K
1.40pm u15 boys and u17 women 4K
2.00pm u17 men, v70 men and jnr, snr & vet women 6K
2.30pm jnr, snr and vet men 9-10K

Need a lift? Drop an email to wiganendurance@hotmail.com and we will get you sorted. 🏃‍♀️🏃‍♀️🏃‍♀️🏃‍♀️🏃🏻🏃🏻🏃🏻🏃🏻🏃🏻🏃🏻

 

Further Awards News

Volunteers are needed for the Awards Selection Committee. Last year an Awards Committee was set up to discuss your nominations and make fair and fitting decisions to choose the winners.

If you feel this is something you would like to be a part of, please email your interest to wiganendurance@hotmail.com and we will forward onto Lisa Heyes or let Lisa know at training.

Date for your diary.

Harriers Awards Evening Friday 23rd November 2018 at Standish Social Club.

Further details to follow nearer to date. Hope to see lots of you there celebrating our club and the many outstanding achievements.

Details of the Awards up for grabs!

 

 

2018 Awards

This is a copy of this evening’s email for the lazy people who don’t open mails!

That magical time of year is fast approaching, yes folks we are nearing the season of goodwill to fellow runners, that special event, Harriers Awards Evening. For those of you who are new to the club we ask all Harriers members to put forward nominations for the following categories. The categories are as follows (in no particular order):

Up to 10 mile race – Male and Female.

10 to 20 mile races – Male and Female.

20 to 26.2 mile races – Male and Female.

Ultra events – one award for either a Male or Female.

Most Improved Athlete – Male and Female.

Cross Country Athlete of the Year – Male and Female.

Athlete of the Year – Male and Female.

To decide who should receive them, the Selection Committee need YOUR help (especially as the club has over 100 members now). Can you please do this by making nominations for any or all of the categories. This could be by nominating another club member or yourself – please don’t be modest as some races (especially Ultra events) do not appear on Power of 10. In your nomination please add a sentence or two about why the athlete should be considered e.g. for the race distance awards, it could be “it’s a PB”, “it was done in horrendous weather”, “it was the first time at that distance”, etc. Adding the date of the event and the events name would be useful for the selection committee. Only races completed between 1st October 2017 and 1st October 2018 will be considered. Nominations will close on Monday 22nd October 2018. Any nominations after this won’t be accepted.

Rules

For the individual distance awards, the athlete must have been a paid up member at the time of the race. For the Athlete of the Year and Most Improved Athlete, they must have been a paid up member from January 2018. Please also note that your submission will be for consideration by the Selection Committee for an award, and not a vote towards it. Could you please make just one nomination per award but feel free to make nominations in as many categories as you wish. Could all nominations be sent to Wiganendurance@hotmail.com before the deadline.

 

Laura’s first Ultra…

My First 50 mile Ultra Marathon

GB Ultras Pennine Barrier 50 mile Ultra Trail Marathon

15 hours 9 minutes

About 2 years ago I met this bloke at my running club who was training for a 200 mile ultra marathon from Southport to Hornsea. As I ran with him I asked a couple of questions about how that worked…….when do you eat?…..when do you sleep?………what if you get lost?…… Anyway I ran for a while listening to him go on and on about ultra running, as I left that evening on my car ride home I couldn’t help but think ‘crazy idiot, who runs that kind of distance, I’ll never run further than a half marathon’. A year later and a half later I ended up engaged to the crazy idiot and embarking on my first 50 mile ultra marathon.

We’d talk all the time about various ultras and I crewed Ian a little bit at his second 200 mile Ultra. Seeing the grit and determination of these runners as they push their body to the extreme to see just how far they could go was a truly inspiring experience. There were absolute machines that completed it in 47 hours……….are they even human? To the back of the pack that wanted to see just how much their body could take……..I will never ever forget Julie Valentine’s sprint finish…….sprint finish! At the end of 200 miles!! And 100 hours!!!! SPRINT FINISH! To the DNF’s of people that had given their all but could no longer continue, which was heartbreaking to see just how devastated they were………the fact they’d actually done 140 odd miles is just astounding anyway.
It really got me thinking, if these people can do 200 miles I could surely give a 50 mile a go. I decided since I love the mountains and hiking I’d rather do a nice picturesque ultra with the odd ‘hill’ and before I knew it Ian had signed me up for Pennine Barrier – that was a surprise email, let me tell you! Now bear in mind this was 7 months before the race and I’d not yet run a marathon. So that was first on the agenda, you need to have completed a marathon to compete in a GB Ultras event…….. So training began for Manchester marathon in April. With Manchester completed next was to focus on Pennine Barrier.

I joined on the recce run the week after Manchester – this was planned to be 13 miles (ish) on the Saturday and 26 miles (ish) on the Sunday. My thought process was that if I could do this weekends recce the week after completing my first marathon, then I’d feel like I could at least attempt Pennine Barrier.
The recce was fantastic – led by Emma Marks and Matt Rushbrook – 2 of the GB Ultras ambassadors, they were there to offer help and support along the way – not just about the route but also about kit and other bits of training that would help with the actual race.
I should also mention it was made super special because on the first day of the recce Ian proposed to me at the top of Malham Cove, which now gave the race a really extra special feel.

As race day approached I was rather surprised that the feelings I was getting were that of excitement rather than actual nerves. I was quite happy for that though!

We travelled to Malham on the Friday night to register for the race and it was at this point the nerves kicked in, pretty much as soon as I saw the gantry in the showfield. At this point I was really glad I’d volunteered at previous events and made friends with quite a few of the GB ultras family, as they assured me all would be fine and I’d smash it and Ian would look after me. We collected our numbers – Ian got his usual number 15 (yes he’s a regular) and I was issued 115, a very nice touch from the RD’s.

I had a surprisingly good sleep the night before the race and after registration a bit of the excitement came back. Race morning prep went without a hitch (I even made the brews in the hotel!) and we were at the start line ready to go. Chatting to others at the start and it became clear I wasn’t the only one taking on my first ultra today – glad to see I’m not alone for picking an extremely hilly course for my first one!
Before I knew it we were off, the first part of the course will forever be my favourite for reasons I mentioned above, and off up Malham Cove we went!

We kept a nice steady pace and it was great to see the runners leading the pack on the out and back section at mile 3 – so glad this was at the start and not the end. And say hi to friends on the course.

Malham tarn was lovely and quiet and just like a Harry Potter set. Then came the first climb up fountains fell, as we slowed a little we were over taken by a couple of runners……but never mind this was a (ultra) marathon not a sprint. And the slower pace at this point really help the steady pace maintained towards the end of the race. The run down the other side of fountain fell was just what I needed, it relaxed me into the race a bit……and I could see the first checkpoint. I’d managed the first 11 miles!

Now I’d been looking forward to the first checkpoint after Nicola Bruce had advertised all over Facebook that her famous spanakopita would be there. Imagine my disappointment to find it had all been eaten!! Only kidding Nic, there was plenty of other goodies to keep me going.

A mile after checkpoint one we finally arrived at the base of our first peak pen-y-Ghent. A nice easy one to break us in. We were soon up and over. It was on the way down from pen-y-gent that I started to notice just how many people were doing the three peaks that day, the majority of them completely oblivious that anyone else was on the trail.

I wasn’t looking forward to the next bit, the trail from pen-y-gent to ribble head viaduct, I’d done it on the recce and thought it a little bit dull compared to the mountains, it went by quite quickly however and we soon approached the second checkpoint.

A quick bit to eat and water top up and we were on our way again. Whernside was next and is by far my least favourite of the climbs, it just goes on, and on, and on. By now there were hundreds of people on their own 3 peaks challenge and the biggest challenge I found was getting past people, we got stuck behind one family and before I knew it there were about 50 walkers also stuck behind them. After what felt like an eternity we finally made it to the top! The descent went a lot quicker and I picked up my pace knowing we were nearing a proper toilet and an ice cream shop! We had about a fifteen minute break at the shop but I didn’t want to sit down for fear of not getting back up again. We were just over half way with our last climb looming in the distance – Ingleborough.

We had a quick stop at checkpoint three then headed to our final (ish) climb. Most people I speak to really hate the Ingleborough climb but for me it’s my favourite. It was my third time up this peak but the first time I’d actually have a view at the top so I was quite excited. There’s a long staircase to climb before getting to the base of the actual climb, and once we’d past this bit it was nice to see Race Director Wayne there checking on how everyone was doing and to take some pics of course!

On to my favourite bit – the scramble up Ingleborough. It’s a steep fast climb and you make it to the top way quicker than Whernside. Unfortunately the descent isn’t so fast and it feels like an eternity before you get to the signpost that tells you it’s still 2 miles to Horton-in-ribblesdale and our next checkpoint. Well I’m pretty certain whoever calculated that distance was completely wrong! The 2 miles were never ending and I was starting to get hungry (and hangry) and needed the toilet, I really hated these 2 miles. As we headed into Horton-in-ribblesdale I nearly missed the check point as I was so focused on getting to the toilet, thank goodness for the lovely lady who yelled me back. At this checkpoint I had a real good moan about how long the last 2 miles had been and how much my legs were starting to hurt. We took the opportunity here to roll our legs out a bit with the roller Ian had brought along, and I moaned some more. Those poor volunteers just had to listen to me moan, and they were so lovely about it.

We headed off again and stopped at the toilet just up the road. I don’t really know what happened in there but I came out fully refreshed and ready to tackle the last 15 miles. Jelly beans in hand onward we went. Back up, yes up, pen-y-gent………..well half way up to go back down the other side to checkpoint 5, the last one! The climb is really steep, steeper than I remembered but it wasn’t too bad knowing the checkpoint was just on the other side. Checkpoint 5 reached and I’ve never been so happy to see fresh oranges, I ate lots. Then back on our way for one final climb back up fountains fell.

The whole way round this race all I’d done is comment about how I couldn’t believe people were going to do the 100 mile race, they would get to the end of the 50 miles, turn round and go and do it all again. I am in absolute awe of anyone who attempted this, let alone finished……… This leads me onto a conversation we had on the way up fountains fell. There were four of us in a little group and I asked the question – if you got to the end and someone said they’d give you a million pounds to carry on and do the 100 would you do it? There were some very strong words spoken and a definite no was the answer for 3 of us, after thinking about it Ian decided he would do it again………..as I’ve already mentioned he is a crazy idiot.

We made it up fountains fell and with relief were happy it was all down hill from here on! With about 8 miles to go to the finish we saw the first 100 mile competitor coming towards us……..they’d finished the 50 and were 8 miles back into the 100! And we’d still not finished 50!!! In all I think about ten people passed us on the way back out, seeing them have the energy and determination really spurred me on to the finish. About a mile and half from the finish we saw Shelton who had attempted the 100 but decided to turn back and he ran the last part of the race with us. No offence to Ian, I love him to bits but it was nice to have some different company for a bit. We passed Janet’s foss and had a quick photo, it’s just so beautiful, then onto the finish only a mile away. In the last couple of miles we’d overtaken a few runners, but some were starting to catch us back up again, I was determined they were not going to overtake us.

As we came out of the wooded area you could see the finish, I was slightly ahead of Ian and Shelton and all of a sudden I realised I was actually going to do it, I was going to complete 50 miles. Well that was it, I started to have an emotional moment and this continued for the last half a mile to the finish. I was so proud of myself, and not at any point did I want to push Ian off a mountain, though I think at times he probably thought about pushing me off one. It was the best feeling ever to finish and to see friends at the finish line too was amazing. We finished in 15 hours and 9 minutes, collected our medals and tee shirts then headed to the marquee for tea and soup……….possibly the best soup I’ve ever tasted.

 

Pennine barrier was definitely a challenge for my first ultra marathon but it’s a beautiful route and superbly organised by GB Ultras, I got to run it with my favourite person in the world and share the experience with friends along the way. It’s safe to say I’ll be back to do it again next year without a doubt………………. Did I mention – I’m an Ultra Runner Now!!!