Report from Neil Charlton:
Carlisle to Newcastle following Hadrian’s Wall. 69 miles / 111 kms.
Race won by Sonia Bracegirdle in 10:53:29. First placed male was Michael Evans in 11:01:21.
I entered this last November when I was feeling strong and having just done a number of long events in Australia This year didn’t start too well however, after I hurt my back lifting something too heavy and I was off for 2 months. It took a while to get back up to a decent mileage and a month ago I was wondering if I would even be able to start.
I thought I would try anyway. I was running in the solo ‘expert’ category which meant run as fast as you can from Carlise in Cumbria to the Milenium Bridge in Newcastle city center following Hadrians wall. Like Shane’s report from last week, we didn’t get to see much of the wall itself as much of it is a World Heritage Site so running on it would be bad, I guess.
The race had 5 checkpoints and 5 pit stops which meant water and energy was never too far away. At the half way mark we got soup and a sandwich which was awesome. I was getting very comfortable and ate far too much before I realized I still had 36 miles to go.
The first half of the race was probably the hardest with the most climbing and the most difficult terrain. The wind was quite gusty too. There was never really anything flat. Just up or down. I also realized that my pack was much heavier with all the required kit in it than I had previously run with. I think this had a lot to do with why my legs were completely worn out by about 20 miles. Because of this I nearly threw the towel in about three times in the 20 to 30 mile section. I couldn’t understand why I was in so much discomfort that early on. I had not felt that bad in training.
At just after the half way point (after the crawling on all fours up about 100m of straight up) I started to get the hang of ignoring the pain in my left foot and right hip and I actually had a nice 10 mile stretch of gently undulating road which restored the confidence levels.
Might I actually make this after all?
The second half had plenty of ups and downs but was a net loss in height. Knowing this and having the home stretch mentality (only 30 miles to go!) I powered on with a big smile on my face. It wasn’t until about 10 miles left that things started to become bad again. I lost my thirst completely and started to feel quite sick. Thinking this might pass I tried to ignore it. Unfortunately I was sick and had to sit down with a medic for 10 mins or so. I had another sandwich and some drink and felt better.
The last 6 miles were a slow ‘shuffly’ decent into Newcastle city center. I think this is affectionatley known as the ultra runners shuffle.
Finishing in Newcastle amongst the Saturday night party crowd was interesting but I’m sure most of them had no idea why anyone would want to do this. There were lots of friendly shouts of encouragement which finished a hard and painful days running.
After being told I was 50th when crossing the line it seems I have gone down to 63rd in the official results. Time 13:45:21. I reckon I can smash that next year! 🙂
ps. Big shout out to Otley member Ross for lending me his Garmin.