Race day! Gary TebbuttTuesday, 9 October, 2012
Race day: 6th October 2012
Even though I had 6 recent marathons under my belt I was still very nervous beforehand as I didn’t think I had done enough miles in training to complete this event without too much pain. However, I had completed all the training set by Nick and so put my trust in him once again.
The weather was perfect for running. Cool, dry and clear blue sky and the local scenery spectacular. I didn’t realise at the start just how little scenery I would see as my eyes would soon be on my feet almost permanently as conditions underfoot would become ‘difficult’ in places. The event was so friendly, with headquarters in the small village hall and organisers and runners in excellent mood.
In a bog of trouble
The first 5 or 6 miles saw the field fairly tightly bunched running steadily through Ripon with everyone laughing and joking. Check Point 1 at 9 miles was a bit of an annoyance as I didn’t really want to stop as I felt really comfortable. After taking supplies from my support crew I set off through the first woodland and promptly missed my footing and fell into nettles. Lesson learnt? No, that was the first of 3 heavy falls, fortunately none serious enough to put me out of the race but each one was so close to twisting or breaking something. I must admit though that when I fell for the third time at 29 miles, face first into a bog (with disgusting brown, slimy stinking water) on a grouse moor I had various thoughts, none of which involved quitting thank goodness.
The final incident happened just after this when ‘running’ through another bog I hit a particularly deep bit and went into thick mud up to my middle thighs and was stuck solid. A fellow runner stopped and pulled me out. There were a few cuts and bad grazes visible to people at the end and apparently another runner had to be pulled from the mud as well. None of this distracted from a fantastic event in fact it added to it.
The Salomon shoes were fantastic in these conditions, feeling like gloves on the feet. The rice pudding, peanut butter sandwiches and power bars were washed down with Gatorade energy drinks and provided spot on refuelling and no nausea or stomach upset that I have had previously with some gels.
The run was fairly evenly paced with walking breaks up some of the longer, steeper hills and the 4 checkpoints broke the distance into manageable sections. It was surprising how fast the miles ticked off. I was amazed how much strength I had in my legs and how slow and regular my breathing was. I am sure that the hill sessions in particular, set by Nick paid dividends here. I finished in 6 hours 39minutes 53 seconds well under the 7 hours I originally hoped for feeling very strong and capable of more.
Nick was right (again). I had done enough. This is a fantastic event and a must for anyone thinking of doing an Ultra. My wife Yvonne, Sons Matthew and Paul and friend Jonny were equally impressed with the friendliness of the organisers and help they received at each of the 4 checkpoints. It was great having them there at each point and I think they had as much fun as I did.
Great North Run Carlisle Half Marathon, running with my son Paul to raise money for Eden Valley Hospice. I am really proud of Paul and what he has achieved here helping those in need. This was a wonderful day in another fantastic event and I managed with very little stiffness or discomfort. Very weird!.
Big thanks to Men's Running, Runningwithus, Salomon, Gatorade and Sunto for allowing me to do this.