But at our Christmas party, I was Inzpired to join the Team having witnessed Rich Havercroft’s life-changing commitment to his training for the event. Unfortunately, work and life then got in the way and I didn’t start training in earnest until April. My thanks go out to to my partner Sally for accompanying me on about 90% of my training runs. As I had said in my original ‘no thanks’ email back to JP and Chris, ‘running bores me to tears’, but having great company for those long hours on the road made it so much easier for me.
The event itself was really too much to take in at the time. I knew my only tactic would be to run with some of my teammates and it became immediately obvious that Sophie (my buddy from the 40 mile ultra we did in training) and JP would be perfect companions as we travelled at similar speeds. I’m so grateful for their support during the race. My hardest time was from about 30 to 40 miles where I faced my own ‘wall’ of introspective silence, nausea, cold sweats, lethargy and, for some reason, stabbing ankle pain. Luckily, jelly babies and caffeine gels sorted me out and towards the end I felt, with a large pang of guilt, actually quite good. I was amazed at how committed everyone was to completing this challenge; to watch people conquer their ‘wall’ and fight through injuries to raise money for their various causes really was inspiring and felt a great thing to be part of. I will definitely do more ultras to have that feeling again in the future.
My favourite quote of the event sums up The Wall for me. In the cold darkness of our last 7 miles we were overtaken by a lone runner from Newcastle who we had bumped into several times during the day. As always, he asked us how we were doing as he passed by; Sophie, fighting the urge to stop due to her knee pain, replied with a chuckle that she was feeling ‘average’. As he disappeared into the darkness, our friend replied ‘There is no one average on this run’.