Kirsty Reade

Runner, Publisher, Writer, WAA Ultra Ambassador

Category: Uncategorized (page 1 of 2)

Blurred Lines

No, I’m not expanding this blog to include debates about misogynistic song lyrics, it’s still about running. I’m thinking more about that line between being injured and not being injured. Or as I think of it: is it a good hurt (i.e. I did lots in the gym, I did an awesome hilly run and now I have to walk downstairs backwards) or a bad hurt (oh, I don’t think my knee is supposed to feel like there’s a knife in the side of it)? When you’re really pushing it in training, it’s often a very blurred line, but I think that the longer you’ve been a runner, the more you just know when it’s a bad one.

I’m suffering from the bad sort of hurt at the moment. It’s not too bad walking around but it’s super painful on impact if I run. I didn’t see it coming but I think the main cause was going from being very disciplined about doing strength training to doing very little because I started doing a long commute for work and getting to my gym became harder. I went straight to the physio and I’ve been rehabbing more than Lindsey Lohan, I’ve been hitting the gym harder than Rocky, I’ve been rolling like a rapper (foam rolling). So I thought it would be a nice straight line from being injured to not being injured, but it wasn’t.

If I was going to draw a graph of the road back to not being injured it would look something like the course profile of the UTMB. Ooh, it’s feeling a bit better, I’ll try a run, ow that’s really sore again now, it’s definitely on the mend, that little run was much less painful, oh no, why is somebody poking the back of my leg with a cattle prod, oh, perhaps I’m still injured. It never seems to be a straight line but then running hardly ever is. Even when you’re feeling really fit it can be a really good thing to get your ass royally whooped by a run every now and then to stop you getting complacent and to show you that there is loads of progress you can still make in your running.

I really can’t complain too much about being injured as I did a lot of running last year and I know that I neglected the strength training in the last few months of it. There’s a lot of stuff I can still do: pretty much anything other than running (except, I guess, hopping, triple jump, parkour or cheese rolling competitions). Plus, a good friend of mine, who is fitness obsessed, is recovering from an op and can’t do anything so that puts it in perspective, and it gives her an unseemly amount of pleasure that I’m crocked too.

I know that it won’t be a straight line from here to my next ultra but that would just be boring. I’m looking forward to the challenge of getting fit again and it’ll be a novelty for my long runs to be half an hour, rather than 5 hours, for a while. One thing’s for sure, I won’t be investing that spare time in listening to any Robin Thicke albums.

Making plans

Dangerous people to hang out with

Dangerous people to hang out with

Nowadays, with races filling up quicker than Take That tickets sell out, you really have to plan ahead if you want to get into a big ultra. So I’m trying to plan for next year but it’s hard because I’m injured and because I did my dream race in 2014, the UTMB. Where do I go from there?

Everybody seems to think that the answer is bigger, better, tougher but I don’t see it like that. I don’t subscribe to that ‘must do the toughest/most brutal races in the world’ mentality and I don’t want to collect them like badges of honour. The most ‘brutal’ race to me is a 10k where my lungs are screaming the whole time. 40 hours in the mountains is just pure bliss (but hard in a more pleasant way somehow). I want to do races that challenge me and offer an unforgettable experience. I like hilly, long stuff and I find the technical stuff really challenging and want to get better at it, so things like MdS don’t interest me.

Like everybody I have my list of races that I really want to do and I add to it all the time when I hear about races friends have done, read about races I’ve never heard of and new races. The Trail Team has been amazing for this and my list has grown and grown. I met so many inspiring people at the Trail Team day in London, on the Trail Team itself and the people who created the team, Simon and Julie, have introduced me to races in the Alps which sound amazing. Julia, our guide on our Trail Team trip to Chamonix, was a total inspiration to us with all of the things she had experienced and that trip definitely made me want to go out to the Alps and to some hut-to-hut running.

But I don’t want to plan too much. Some of the most enjoyable running I’ve done in the last few years has been on spur of the moment runs or races. 3 weeks ago I did TransMallorcaRun, which was an incredible experience but I only found out about it a few weeks before I went. I’d like to do more of that.

I’ve just read Amy Poehler’s hilarious book and she has two mottos. The first is the title of the book: ‘yes, please’. I’d like to say ‘yes, please’ to lots of fun looking spur of the moment running opportunities in 2015, whether that’s a ‘it looks like a nice day, grab a rucksack and head out for the day’ or a ‘shall we go to Chamonix next weekend?’. Her second motto is ‘good for you, not for me’, meaning ‘it’s great that you did that and good for you for doing it, but it doesn’t do it for me’. So MdS, road marathons, triathlon – good for you, not for me!

Hobbled

It has been 3 weeks since my last run. I’m not sacking off the running in favour of the Christmas party season, I’m just injured. I really can’t complain because I’ve done an awful lot of running this year and haven’t suffered from anything more than niggles. It’s definitely my time to be injured and I probably just pushed it a bit too far. But, as ever, it does suck a bit to be a runner not able to run.

I managed to injure myself doing some very hilly running in Majorca, so it was ok for a week as I could tell myself I was resting. Then in week 2 I kept telling myself that I’d be back running very soon and went to the physio and started doing everything I could to sort it out. But in week 3 it started to bite, as I realised it might be a while before I could run again and I’m really starting to miss seeing people and being out in the fresh air.

In the spirit of focussing on what I can do, not what I can’t, I’ve been spending a lot of time in the gym. It in no way compensates for exercising outside but I get to feel a bit sweaty and out of breath (and a bit smug when it’s really horrible weather outside). However, it’s got its drawbacks. If I go first thing in the morning the changing room is full of older ladies who like to let it all hang out while having a chat post-swim. If I go in the evening there are a fair few people who are there to lift weights while wearing minimal clothing and look in the mirror a lot, or sit on a bike and pedal very slowly while reading a book (does that really do anything at all for fitness?). Worst of all, I went at lunchtime the other day and found myself on the cross trainer watching Loose Women. It really felt like middle age had kicked in overnight. My conclusions from spending more time in the gym are 1) I don’t really ‘get’ the gym and 2) running is way cooler and a way more efficient way to get your exercise.

By far the best thing about being injured is that you can support at races rather than running them. Running is a sport which has given me a massive amount over the years and it’s a really nice feeling that you’re giving something back by celebrating the miles run by others. Some awesome friends – Pip, Lucy, Bill, Eileen and Tracey – were doing the super hilly Endurancelife Coastal Trail Series races in Dorset last weekend. I should have been running but went down anyway to cheer them on, ring my cowbell and have a day out at Lulworth Cove. It was brilliant to see them all doing so well and to surprise them by turning up round the course. Almost as much fun as running. Almost.

I’m really hoping to be back running soon but I really can’t whinge. However, it does make me realise that running isn’t just exercise. It’s escape, it’s an opportunity to blow off steam or de-stress, it’s a social activity and it allows me to enjoy some beautiful places. The fitness aspect is almost a by-product. I can get the fitness bit in a gym but I’d much rather be seeing sunrises and big hills than butt-cracks, sweat patches and older wannabe naturists.

Reade vs the Tube

As a member of the Trail Team 2014 my natural habitat is trails, mud, hills and, when I get the chance, mountains. Berghaus and LED Lenser very kindly provided the Trail Team with lots of excellent kit to help us run around the countryside, staying dry, warm, comfortable and safe. I’m still living in the sticks with footpaths right from my garden gate and enjoying my trail running every opportunity I get, but circumstances now mean that I’m working in London during the week. The occasional run at home before work has gone out of the window now that I’m on the 6.59 train. Some evening jaunts on my local trails have had to be shelved because the reliably unreliable First Great Western train service has failed me. So, to avoid becoming one of those sedentary, dead-eyed commuters who pop open a can of Stella on the way home to wash down their stinking McDonalds I’ve taken to run-commuting and making very good use of all that fantastic kit in a different environment.

When faced with a choice between standing wedged between other humans in a giant metal tube, with somebody’s rucksack in my face and, on one occasion recently, somebody using my arm to rest their book on so they could read more comfortably, or running along the canal to and from work, the canal wins every time. It’s not without its drawbacks. I live in fear that I will fail a drugs test because of the amount of weed fumes I inhale running through Camden. I almost stepped on a very laid-back rat the other night (come to think of it, that was quite near Camden). But run-commuting feels great – I feel like I’m sticking it to the man and beating the tube every time I do it.

Run-commuting has logistical challenges and this is where having good kit comes in. I’ve tried many running rucksacks over the years and there’s always some sort of compromise in size, comfort, pockets, jiggliness etc. The Berghaus Vapour 15 served me very well at the UTMB and it’s equally good for commuting. Those small zip pockets on the front were perfect for things I needed to get hold of easily at UTMB – gels, bars, wrappers and my fold up mug – and now they’re equally useful for those items important for commuting – my season ticket and my phone (so I can check how late the First Great Western trains are tonight). At the UTMB it was the perfect size for all my mandatory kit – waterproofs, hat, gloves, bandage, survival blanket – and now it’s the perfect size for all the mandatory work kit – work appropriate clothing, a door pass with a funny photo of me on it, iPad to do some reading on the train, car keys. Its contents may be much less exciting but it’s just as useful.

The LED Lenser head torch (SE07R for the head torch geeks) proved itself a fantastic companion in the mountains at night and now its super powerful beam alerts me to rats, those evil looking Canada geese, drunks and discarded food lying on the tow path. Less glamorous than lighting up Mont Blanc but practical nonetheless. The Berghaus Hypertherm, a ridiculously lightweight jacket which folds down to the size of your fist but has all the technology to keep you insulated and warm is always in my pack when I’m out on a long run, particularly at night, now. It’s also the perfect thing to put on to stave off the cold when you get to the station a bit sweaty and discover that your train’s been delayed. I’m pretty sure Berghaus didn’t have First Great Western’s unreliability in mind when they developed it but it’s certainly been a very useful bit of kit in a commuting survival situation.

I’m sure that my kit longs to hit the hills, just as I do whenever I’m sucking in London air, but we’re making the most of it. We grin and bear it during the week and I reward it with a day out on a coastal trail or on a nice country route at the weekend. During the week we rush around and take each other for granted but at the weekend we spend quality time together.

UTMB kit awards 2014

I definitely put more hours into choosing kit for the UTMB than I did into running the thing so it’s only right that I acknowledge those bits of kit that made my life a bit easier.

1. The biggest life-saver had to be my Black Diamond ultra distance poles. They were a big help on the ascents, they saved my mustard approximately 900 times on muddy, slippy descents and they barely left my hands for the whole race. I have to say that there were a lot of pole users at the UTMB who, let’s just say, needed to work on their etiquette. Moves like ‘looking at watch’ and ‘reaching into side of pack’, usually so innocuous, can become lethal manoeuvres to the person behind you when you have poles in your hand.

Poles in action

Poles in action

2. Laminated copies of the course profile and planned splits were amazing. My friends Julie and Bill did these for me, I put them on the front of my pack and they were incredibly useful for knowing what was coming and whether I was on track. I didn’t have to mess about with bits of soggy paper and they were right in front of me at all times. They also thoughfully included a laminated photo of my dog and motivational statements such as this beauty, which I debated at times.

Debatable

Debatable

3. My Berghaus Vapour Storm jacket. It rained for the first 5 hours of the race and this jacket was great. It kept me completely dry (I was glad I put it on right at the start of the rain), it was really breathable and it was a good tailored fit (therefore no annoying swooshiness). It did a great job of keeping the cold and wind out on the ascents (this was particularly helpful when I was cold on that second night) and I would trust it in any conditions. I’d never scrimp on a jacket for mountain races and this is definitely the best one I’ve found.

Berghaus hypertherm

Berghaus hypertherm

4. On the same theme my Berghaus hypertherm was a brilliantly versatile bit of kit. It was perfect for when I was a bit chilly at night but didn’t quite need a waterproof, it was great for when I stopped at checkpoints and suddenly got cold and it’s just so light and packs up so small that it will always be in my pack. It’s also reversible, so you wear it on one side when you need to keep the cold and wind out, then the other way round it breathes when you’re going for it up a hill. Absolutely perfect for a race like this.

5. I made a late decision to buy some compression shorts at the expo (yeah, I know). The brand was BV Sport (Booster Veines) and I don’t know if it was psychological but my quads held up really well and I’d definitely wear them again in a race like this. Plus long compression shorts, twinned with compression socks is a really good Euro trail runner look.

Photo by reubentabner.co.uk

Photo by reubentabner.co.uk

6. Lastly my LED Lenser SE07R head torch was obviously invaluable. With the adjustable settings (power saving and full power) I could save the batteries on the ascents and then make sure every rock and tree root was very well lit on the downhills. The lens part, which allows you to zoom the beam in on things, or make the light wider to illuminate the whole path was really useful, particularly with those second night hallucinations.

The one piece of kit I wished I’d had was an altimeter. It would have been good to know how far up some of the ascents I was. But maybe it wouldn’t.

UTMB: part one

I’ve gone on and on about this race to people all year but I realised when I got there that it’s just impossible to do it justice unless you’ve actually witnessed it. I had some really good friends who were having a holiday out there with me this year and it was fantastic to witness their reactions to it all. It was like experiencing it all for the first time again.

Firstly, there’s the terrain. They were all fairly slack-jawed at the scale of those ascents and a couple of them complained about sore necks from all the looking up. And when they got out running they came back raving about it all.

They found the whole atmosphere in Chamonix something else too. Every shop, every lamppost, every hotel is completely taken over with the race and the runners. It’s like you’ve gone to another planet. Running planet.

 

The start

The start

Then there’s the race. But it’s not really a race. Well, it’s a race for those people at the front, but for most it’s an epic journey and you won’t be quite the same person at the finish as you were at the start. You’ll experience huge highs and lows, a lot of runners will be out for 2 nights without sleep, you might hallucinate, you might feel worse than you’ve ever felt, half of you won’t finish.

This is a low

This is a low

This is a high

This is a high

Those who do finish will experience running through the streets of Chamonix with every single total stranger standing along the route going crazy for them as if they were the winner. The finish line represents the completion of one of the hardest things most of the runners will ever do and the end of what will have been a long and painful journey for all of them. There’s a real respect between all the runners, regardless of whether they finished in 22 hours or 46. Time is irrelevant to many, finishing is everything.

And the crowd goes wild

And the crowd goes wild

And those who do finish will get that coveted finishers’ gilet. The town is full of runners in green gilets, shuffling along and respectfully nodding at each other, like a real-life version of Strava kudos.

Blame it on the gilet

Blame it on the gilet

Emil Zatopek said ‘if you want to win something, run 100 metres. If you want to experience something, run a marathon’. God knows what he’d have made of the UTMB. My race report will follow but based on my experiences I think Emil would have said: ‘If you want to go on a personal journey which involves pushing yourself beyond the limits you thought possible, hallucinating animals, ingesting large amounts of chicken noodle soup, fantasising about Nestle Crunch bars and Orangina, spending quite a long time thinking about Rhubarb and Custard (the cartoon), pushing through the toe pain barrier, and having a fairly shaky grasp of what’s real and what’s not, run the UTMB’.

The Final Countdown

My whole year of running has been leading towards one thing – the UTMB – and now it’s here. Tomorrow morning I fly off to Chamonix and at 5.30pm on Friday I head off on the biggest race I’ve ever done.

During the last 8 months I’ve trained harder and more consistently than I’ve ever done before and I’ve certainly bored people about this race harder and more consistently than I thought was possible. I got myself a coach (Mimi Anderson), I successfully applied to be part of  the Trail Team, I did some very long races, I ran in the Lakes, I spent 3 days on the UTMB course in July (with the Trail Team), I did a lot of hills, I tried sessions I’ve never tried before, I met a ton of inspirational runners and tried to learn as much as I could from them, and I didn’t have any injuries. In short, I’ll be standing on the start line, probably for the first time ever, feeling like I’ve done all I can to put myself in the best position possible to complete the race.

Trail Team 2014 trip to Chamonix (photo by Reuben Tabner http://www.reubentabner.co.uk)

Trail Team 2014 trip to Chamonix (photo by Reuben Tabner http://www.reubentabner.co.uk)

I still feel terrified, but it’s the good kind of terror, and I think that if you’re not pretty scared about races where you spend 2 nights in the mountains and where the weather can take a sudden turn, then you’re probably not taking them seriously enough. And I think that if you’re pretty terrified of doing something, then the feeling of completing it is so much sweeter.

I met the awesome and fascinating performance coach Midgie Thompson once and she told me to take a mental snapshot of a moment you’re incredibly proud of and tap into it when times get difficult. So here’s my (literal) snapshot: me at the Mer du Glace, having just completed the CCC for the first time (which I was utterly underprepared for), with a St Bernard dog, obviously. I really hope I have a whole new snapshot come Sunday morning.

Ice cave moment

Ice cave moment

Decisions, Decisions

With the UTMB now less than 2 weeks away it’s finally time to make some decisions on that all-important kit. I’ve done plenty of testing  for weight, chafe potential, annoying jiggliness, warmth, waterproofness and possibility of swishing noises driving me mental. I’ve performed the ultimate test: race testing. How easy is it to get a gel out of that pouch in race conditions? Can I save precious seconds by not taking my pack off when I go to the toilet? Stuff like that. So, for anybody interested, here’s the verdict:

1. Backpack. Very important. This will be on my back for 30 something hours, it has to have space for all my mandatory kit and it all needs to be easily accessible. I’ve tried a few different brands over the last couple of years but I’ve found my ideal pack in the Berghaus Vapour 15. It’s just the right size for everything I need, it’s a good secure fit (I have to pull every adjustable strap to its absolute limit but that’s fairly normal for me), it has a couple of nice zip pockets at the front on the belt, ideal for gels, gloves etc, and the water bottle sits horizontally at the bottom of the pack (it takes a bit of practice to access it on the run but it means it doesn’t slosh around or make your pack heavier on one side).

IMG_1321

 

2. Poles. A must-have for me on a race like this. I love my Black Diamond Ultra Distance poles. So light, so clever the way they fold up and stash away, so helpful on the big climbs.

3. Jacket. Another really important one on a race where the weather is so unpredictable. Again, I’ve tried out a few but settled on the Berghaus Vapour Storm. When I first saw it I thought it looked more like a walking jacket but it’s actually really light, it’s a great tapered fit (so it doesn’t rustle) and for a Gore-Tex jacket it’s really breathable. There are nice touches like thumb loops on the sleeves and a small zip pocket on the chest. I’d trust this jacket in rain or snow.

IMG_1316

4. Trainers. The jury is still out on this one, depending on the weather (though with a drop bag I’ll probably use 2 pairs). My trusty Brooks Cascadia have seen me through the CCC and TDS (not the same pair, obviously) and they are very comfortable but they’re not as grippy as other shoes. The Berghaus Vapour Claw is much grippier, it’s got a nice big toe box and they dry out quickly when they get wet. I’ll probably use both.

IMG_1326

 

5. Gaiters. Anything to keep out the tiny rocks, dust and mud is definitely worth a go to stave off the blisters. I’ll be using Inov-8 gaiters, tried and tested in the volcanic sands of Transvulcania.

6.  Mid-layer. It’ll have to be twinned with another layer to meet the UTMB guidelines because it’s so light but one of the best bits of kit I’ve tried this year is definitely the Berghaus Vapourlight Hypertherm jacket. It packs up really small and it’s reversible: one side keeps out the wind and keeps you warm, the other side allows it to breathe, when you’re working hard but just need another layer. It’s pretty much always in my pack (it’s great to throw on if you stop to eat/read a map and get a bit chilly) and it’s so versatile that it even makes a lovely pillow when twinned with a dry bag full of clothes (I discovered this weekend).

IMG_1319

7. Gloves. Another important one. There’s a big difference between ‘water resistant’ and ‘waterproof’! After trying lots of ‘waterproof’ gloves, some of which didn’t keep the water out, some of which just made my hands sweaty, I’ve settled on my Black Diamond fleecy gloves with a very thin Extremities Gore-Tex overmit over them when needed.

8. Head torch. As I’ll be out for 2 nights it’s important the power lasts a long time (or I’d need a pack full of batteries), and it needs to be light and comfortable. The LED Lenser SEO7R fits the bill. There’s no separate battery pack – it’s all contained in the bit at the front – and it’s really light and powerful but the batteries will last all night on power-saving mode. You can adjust the lens to hone in on things (e.g. is that a course marker, or perhaps is that really a fairy or am I hallucinating after 2 nights without sleep at UTMB?) and angle the light to your choice.

Photo by reubentabner.co.uk

Photo by reubentabner.co.uk

So, kit sorted, training sorted, just need to run the UTMB now. Yikes.

The Perfect Ingredients

Take 6 like-minded, running-obsessed, Trail Team 2014 members. They don’t have to be the same sort of people or runners; pick ones with a variety of experience, from different areas of the UK. Just pick ones who are passionate, enthusiastic and keen to learn and improve. Put them together and allow them to egg each other on to enter bigger and bigger races.

Next, add the perfect running location. How about this? Chamonix, a trail runner’s dream.

Chamonix: catnip for runners

Chamonix: catnip for runners

Runners are kit geeks so add some nice gear. Berghaus clothing, LED Lenser head torches and TORQ nutrition. Give them a few hours to debate zip neck vs round neck, energy saving and bright settings and the merits of orange and banana vs black cherry yoghurt gels.

Once you’ve managed to shut them up, recruit a guide (Julia Tregaskis-Allen from Tracks and Trails) so the navigationally challenged ones don’t fall off anything steep. Next the most important bit – coffee and breakfast. Without this they will be no good to you at all.

Now round them up (after 2 final toilet trips for each member) and get them ready to go.  Why not invite some special guests along? I know – Philippe and Anna Gatta, Berghaus athletes.

Just another 1000 metres up there

Just another 1000 metres up there

Now send them off on a 3 day adventure of a lifetime…

#Trailteam2014

100 Miles An Hour

I ran the South Downs Way 100 at the weekend. A proper race report will be on Run247.com once I’ve written it but the overwhelming feeling I have after running the race is what a huge part other people play in your run. I honestly feel like I just moved my legs and other people did the rest. I’ll try to illustrate with an hour by hour breakdown:

4am to 6am – my husband Pete took this shift. This consisted of nervous silence, some mild whingeing (me), a little bit of ‘what on earth am I doing?’ (probably both of us) and just in no way answering back or questioning anything I said (him).

6am, the start. I met up with Ultra Luke (@Ashton378) and Tim from the 2013 Trail Team (@JediRider), which calmed the nerves a bit. You have to man up a bit once you meet up with people you know, don’t you? Pretend you’re not nervous and you don’t really want to cry.

Jedi Rider aka Tim from the Trail Team

Jedi Rider aka Tim from the Trail Team

6am to 10am – I ended up running a lot of this stretch with Gemma Carter from the Trail Team day in London. She was a) lovely, b) really wonderfully positive and c) happy to have a very geeky running chat. She was the ideal running buddy and these miles flew by.

10am – my pacer for later on, Bill, turned up early to cheer me on at checkpoints! This was really kind and a big boost, and also really timely because I was feeling sick and Bill encouraged me to get some salt down me, which worked a treat.

10am – 12.30pm – this bit flew by as I knew I’d now have crew at the next checkpoint where they were allowed. And when I got there, two really good friends (Julie and Eileen) were also there to surprise me. I was completely overwhelmed but I tried not to show it (see earlier point about manning up).

Team Awesome - Julie, Eileen and Bill

Team Awesome – Julie, Eileen and Bill

12.30pm – 4pm – knowing that my friends would be at Washington (mile 53) and that I was picking up my pacer, Bill, there, these hours were just a blur and I breezed through the next couple of checkpoints and did everything I could to get to Washington as quickly as possible. Though 50 miles in, speed is relative. I felt like a greyhound; I was probably a bit more like one of those ploddy old labradors. At one point there was a huge rain shower but just as my spirits started to dip a bit my friends Tracey and Tom appeared in the middle of nowhere. I didn’t know it was them at first because they were sheltering from the rain under big hobo blankets. It was amazing to see them and they made it easy for me to push on.

Hobo Tracey

Hobo Tracey

Hobo Tom

Hobo Tom

4pm – Washington checkpoint: friends, a cup of tea, new trainers and socks, husband and dog! When you’re 10 hours into an ultra any one of these items feels like a lottery win and Christmas combined.

4pm – 11.30pm – my friend Bill paced me, we chatted away, he understood when the degree incline of a hill that had to be walked became smaller and smaller, he encouraged me, he got me to eat and drink, he was a superstar in every way.

'Bill, I think I'm going to have to walk this hill'

‘Bill, I think I’m going to have to walk this hill’

11.30pm to 4.12am – Bill handed over babysitting/pacing duties to my friend Mel the Merciless, badass personal trainer. Again, we chatted a lot, she was really encouraging, she understood when I could no longer run any hills, then when I could no longer run down steep hills because my quads hurt too much, no longer get over stiles very well, no longer make any sense, no longer keep that food down. Oh yes, I was a dream running buddy.

Mel the Merciless

Mel the Merciless

4.12am – Mel delivered me to the finish line, momentarily wrong-footed by my last minute sprint finish (no idea where that came from) and a hug from my coach, Marvellous Mimi Anderson, who was giving out the medals. Husband and dog were there and Bill completed almost as much of an endurance event as me by being at the finish line too.

The End

The End

I might have run for 22 hours but there wasn’t one minute in that time that I didn’t feel supported. If I wasn’t with somebody I was looking forward to seeing people or feeling the afterglow of a hug. This ultra business is definitely a team sport.

Photos by runphoto.co.uk/Tracey Moggeridge/Eileen Naughton

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