Time: 12:11:37Pace: 8:21/km Nutrition: SiS Go Energy, SiS Go Gels.. everything at the aid stations! Kit: Adidas Boston Boost 6 Shoes, 1000 mile socks, 2XU Compression Shorts, Adidas Adizero Shorts, Adidas Supernova Top, Ciele Hat, Salomon S-Lab Ultra 12 Vest.
Course: 5/5 Facilities: 5/5 Support: 5/5 Organisation: 5/5 Medal: 4/5 TOTAL: 24/25
I was sitting with Sarah enjoying a warm summers evening, at the University in Greenwich, when I pondered asking her if she fancied running Race to the King... in 8 days time!
I'm always up for any race, but this was a double marathon with 1600m of elevation, that is not something that should be taken lightly. It would be much further than she had ran before, plus there was some serious elevation to add to the challenge. It would be a really tough test, for both of us. But as someone who is up for anything, she said YES straight away, so we went home to get the entries in and prepare for race day!
Long story short, the entries were already closed, but a quick phone call on Monday morning meant we secured two places on the 8:15am start line and they told us to be in Arundel an hour before on Saturday morning.
We gathered together our best gear and drove to Cranleigh on the Friday night, where my Mum lives to shorten the drive on Saturday morning. It's amazing how well you sleep in the countryside, so when the alarm went off at 6am it was tough to move, but the excitement of race day quickly got us going and we were soon en route.. full of bagels and SiS Go Energy drinks!
On arrival we were running a bit late and only had 20 minutes before the start, but the slick organisation meant we were on the start line with around 600 other runners in plenty of time.
Then we were off!
The main goal for the race was to learn about the distance, get to the end unscathed, collect UTMB points but most importantly just have a laugh and spend some fun time together!
So we set off at a super easy pace, but quickly started to move up the field, despite running at what we both felt was very relaxing pace. The conditions were perfect, overcast with a slight breeze and the miles started to tick by.
The route was 99% on the South Downs way, so I was making extra notes as I hope to return to run the SDW100 mile in 2018. But in summary it was stunning! One of the most picturesque trails in the UK, just beautiful.
This combined with the jokes, chit chat and general laughter made the distance tick by and we were soon approaching half way, with the Garmin reading 38k.
Now, this was impressive. Some competitors run the race over two days, so will sleep over at the half way stop overnight. Tents were pitched, food was cooking and drinks were chilling. It was without doubt the most impressive aid station I've ever seen, seriously it was approaching fine dining.
Pasta, pizza, garlic bread were piled on to the plates. This was carb heaven!! Plus some glorious fruit cake, oh this was just incredible. It's normally quite hard to leave aid stations, but this was approaching impossible. But leave we had to.
Now Sarah was into the unknown. The furthest she'd ran was 50k and we were now through that as the hills continued to come. But nothing was phasing her, the Garmin was showing mere numbers, but they didn't translate into fear, pain or worry.. we both kept pushing on edging ever closer to Winchester.
The warmth at the aid stations was infectious and gave us such as lift as we passed through, they were well positioned at the top of hills, right when you needed them. Staffed by runners, who knew what they were doing and we were going through. It's people like this that make such a difference, so can't thank them enough!
Sarah was starting to get tired and her muscles began to ache. Some doubt began to set in, but she pushed that out her mind and pushed onwards. It was impressive to watch her dealing with this so well, like a pro and this was the longest she'd ever run!
As we passed the last aid station, the 50 mile sign came up so we knew it was just a Parkrun to go.
We'd set an target of 12 hours, but this wasn't based on anything in particular.. just something to go for. We knew that we would miss that, but still pushed on to get the final 5k done as quickly as possible. The final two Ks were 5:30 and 5:15, which shows the effort we were pushing with at the end, then the finish line was in sight.
Winchester cathedral provided the most stunning backdrop for the finishing chute and we crossed in just over 12 hours 11 minutes. Incredible!!
Plus extra Kudos to anyone who can put up with me for such a length of time.
Well done Sarah. 4 UTMB POINTS!!! CCC 2018 here we come!!
Thank you to everyone at RTTK, it was a throughly well put together event. Maybe not for ultra serious runners, but for any newbies to the sport I couldn't think of anything better.
Finally well done to all the other runners, we met some friendly and ever so welcoming people out there over the weekend. Take a bow!