TrailWalker 2007

Provisionally 14th July

241 to 260 of 273 messages
17/07/2007 at 00:29
Yeah, huge well done to JDinho!

Getting your teams through together is what it's all about.

And here's my proper race report...I'll have to post it in sections, and i never could get to the point quickly, so there's a lot of it. Bear with me. :)
17/07/2007 at 00:30
Trailwalker 2007 race report.

Well, this may not be as factually detailed as some reports, as I can never remember exactly what happened on specific stages, I have a more kind of stream-of-consciousness memory of it all but here goes…it’s also more about my experience of it all, this being my first successful finish, so may be a little bit more emotional…..(cue gushing praise for all involved)

Preparation:

Having DNFd in 2003, due to a combination of bad weather, inexperience and lack of preparation, I was glad to be approaching this attempt knowing that I was in a team of people who’d all completed before, with a similarly experienced support crew to back us up. The fact that they wanted to complete in 15 hours was…well, scary. But it all seemed so logical and simple when Leon explained it in his special logical, simple explaining voice that I was willing to be convinced that it was possible. In fact, it seemed almost inevitable. We were experienced, prepared, fit, surely nothing could stop us. Practically all we had to do was turn up on the day and we’d succeed.

Well….turn up on the day, then cover 100km of fairly lumpy ground in 15 hours. A time which would put us right at the pointy end of the race, surrounded by a lot of pretty gnarly looking ultra types. And Gurkhas. <gulp> More of that special explaining voice please, Leon.

I’d been alternating between confidence and wibbling in the run up, but Friday morning saw me with all preparations as complete as they could be. A rucksack full of wet-weather kit was my insurance against a repeat of 2003s weather, and some specific very long distance conditioning work added to a good fell-running fitness base meant that, physically at least, I felt I was well prepared. How I might deal with the mental issues involved in working hard for 15 hours…remained to be seen.

Planes, trains and automobiles saw us assembling in a field in Petersfield in the early evening. Well, ok, there weren’t any planes involved. Me, Lorna (Velociraptor), eL Bee (Leon), HeebieJeebie (Allison) as the running team, Rob W, Bear (Iain) and JosieJump (Heather) in support. (This last lot also being known as ‘the best support crew in the world…ever’). Tents were pitched, gear was sorted, food was cooked, anecdotes were swapped… I kind of bumbled around rather quietly, really feeling a lot less confident and not as well prepared as I should be, and covering up with the usual façade of bravado which men generally resort to on these occasions. When we had registered and had our kit checked (oh yeah, we have the maps in the car, honest…) we’d been given timing chips which were attached to our wrists with a very macho pink band…the colour signifying that we had identified ourselves as an ‘elite’ team, and had formally declared an intention to compete for a team placing. No extra pressure there, then.

The sheer scale of the thing also kicks in when you see the starting field. There are about 450 teams of 4 that compete, plus their support crews. With a good proportion of those teams camping at the start, plus what seems like a couple of battalions of the perpetually smiling Gurkhas milling around, and a stream of cars and minibuses still arriving into the late evening, it’s…chaos. Fortunately as we were on for a 4:30 wake up call it was a perfect excuse to get an early night, so I retreated to the tent to meditate on the coming day. And hopefully not wibble too much.

Every half hour or so I woke from dreaming of torrential rain, to listening to torrential rain hitting the tent. It sounded torrential, anyway.
17/07/2007 at 00:31
When the alarm went off it was practically a relief. Good, bad or indifferent the day would bring what it would, and I was happy just to be getting on with it. Our eager support crew already up and making breakfast (I could get used to this idea of being waited on) I applied sunblock (in the dark, in the rain…yeah), dressed, checked kit, filled my bumbag with jam butties and generally got my head together. Fortunately the rain had basically stopped, and it was clear that it was going to be a reasonable day, at least to begin with, so that was one worry out of the way.

Having been treated to some excellent porridge and toast, courtesy of the aforementioned ‘best support crew in the world, ever’, we headed off to the start line, positioning ourselves just behind the start pen reserved for the Gurkha teams. The first few hundred metres of the course are downhill, then it’s flat for a bit, so we wanted to use this to put some distance between ourselves and the trekking-pole equipped masses. (VRap’s attempt to jibe someone at the start for not looking what the hell they were doing with their poles had been completely missed). A brief speech from an army type (which was met with some good humoured banter) and we were sent on our way with a skirl of bagpipes.
17/07/2007 at 00:31
Execution:

And so this was it, we were on with the task in hand. The Gurkhas vanished into the distance, creating a small sonic boom as they went (actually, the noise may have been an after effect of the porridge…) a number of other teams also shot past looking very committed. We set off at the pace we’d planned and practiced…a steady jog on anything downhill, walking anything even remotely uphill, and discussing the uppy/downyness of everything in between.

And the South Downs have a fair bit of both upness and downness. Nothing that you’d think of as particularly taxing taken one at a time, I’ve run up Skiddaw and Blencathra for heaven’s sake, but put 60+ miles worth together and it all adds up…

Anyway – we set off at a pretty disciplined pace, covering the ground efficiently without ever feeling like we were working hard. Leon was keeping an eye on the map and the time, and we were chatting contentedly, and reminding ourselves to keep to our own pace, and let everyone else do their own thing. We settled into an easy rhythm, and I concentrated on making sure I was eating, and trying to keep myself focussed ‘on the moment’ and not thinking too much about how much was still to come.

The field was still pretty much bunched up at this point, and there were teams around us most of the time. Plenty of good humoured banter, but we were being careful to let others go by if they were faster than us. We were confident in our tactics, and it would have been particularly unwise to get caught up in anyone else’s race at this point. In the same way that a marathon is a 10k race with a 20 mile warm up, Trailwalker’s probably a 20k race….with an 80k warm up.

So the miles passed in a fairly uneventful manner. The weather stayed dry, warm, but with an occasional cooling breeze that was very welcome. We passed through cp1, and pottered on to cp2 where we met the support team for our first pit stop. A quick refuel with banana bread, swap some kit around, pick up camelbacs and we were off again. About a 5 minute turnaround, a complete contrast to prior years.

The next few sections all kind of blur…. despite the fact that they add up to more than marathon distance. I have no chance of recalling the kind of details of terrain that other people seem able to quote checkpoint by checkpoint. I guess I was just in a state of concentrating on covering the miles, keeping upbeat, and not letting myself think about what was still to come. And I was upbeat! We were moving nicely, sticking to the plan, and covering the miles to schedule. We were chatting happily, the weather was good, the surroundings were lovely, the pace we were adopting meant we never felt we were working hard, and it was just a nice day out on the Downs with some chums.

17/07/2007 at 00:32
Another pit stop with the crew at cp4, about 40 kilometres in. At this point I changed shoes and socks, as I’d been starting to get some hot-spots and wanted to give my feet a change of wear-points. Things looked ok, no actual blisters yet, but I was pretty sure there’d be at least some by the end of the day. Oh well, I’ve had blisters before, they’ve never been life threatening. A lot of the ground on Trailwalker is on chalk paths, which sound very inviting until you realise that the chalk simply wears away until the underlying flint is exposed, which leaves a surface not unlike very uneven cobbles. It isn’t pleasant to run on – the unevenness doesn’t bother me too much (all the fell-running has certainly strengthened my ankles) but it is extremely hard underfoot. I can only liken it to the last few miles of the Blackpool marathon where they run you along the concrete promenade, and you suddenly realise your feet can detect the difference in hardness between tarmac and concrete. But that’s about three miles worth, and is at least flat. Trailwalker presents you with…probably about 50 miles of this stuff.

We met Snoop and Tiger who had come out to meet us and ran with us down into the checkpoint, then accompanied us up the next hill. Being met and supported like this is great…and one of the things that does make the event special. The banana and choc chip muffins were welcome too!

A quick audit of how people are going at this point – we’ve covered the equivalent of a marathon, over undulating terrain. Everyone is feeling pretty good. My legs know they’ve done the distance, but nothing is unduly sore, no feeling that any niggles are going to become major problems. So we crack on.

Reaching cp5 is a major milestone, at least for me, as it’s almost exactly at the halfway point. Every step now isn’t ‘away from the start’ it is ‘towards the finish’. We also reach it in 6:45 (or so it says on someone else’s blog….I was clocking the times carefully on the day, but my memory certainly hasn’t retained that kind of detail). This was clearly putting us on target for a very fast time…sub 14 hours if we just kept doing what we were doing, and nothing disastrous happens. Knowing that eL Bee was keeping the pace up did sow the seeds for some mental demons yet to come though…but more of that later.
17/07/2007 at 00:32
On through a fairly long section and into cp6 to be met by the team again. (That’ll be ‘the best support crew in the world…ever’, in case you’d forgotten). The usual flawless reception. Everything ready, pertinent questions asked (have you been eating? Are you eating? I haven’t seen you eat, I want to see you eat something before you go…yeah, they know what’s important). A quick sit down, refuel, another layer of sunblock (a bit too late as it turned out) and we’re about to go when the more photogenic members of the team (ie everyone but me) are accosted by a young lady with a video camera doing something promotional for Oxfam. It costs us a few minutes, but she certainly got some entertaining footage, particularly Rob’s colourful description of how the Gurkha teams manage the checkpoints. And if we were unwilling to give up our time for Oxfam, for the sake of a few minutes off our eventual result, then we’d have had no business being there at all.

Rob’s pantomime impression really made me think….we’ve never had a support crew that has seen the Gurkhas hit a checkpoint before… we’ve always been so far behind the Gurkha teams that they’ve been and gone through every checkpoint by the time our support crew got there. Not this time. By half way they may be a couple of hours ahead…. but on previous occasions, by the time we’ve been halfway they’ve been finished. We really are achieving something here. The support crew also seem to be really enjoying themselves, buzzing with energy and enthusiasm, and sparked up by the fact that we are an ‘elite’ team. And, by this point, we are showing that we are. We aren’t sailing under false colours here. We’re in the top twenty. We’re third mixed team. And we are going well, and looking a hell of a lot better than a lot of the teams around us. The skeleton vests give us an immediate visual team identification, and I think a lot of the other support crews, and the Gurkhas manning the checkpoints, are looking at us with a lot of respect for the fact that we are running into every checkpoint as a team, never separated by more than a couple of seconds. We never got more than about 5 metres apart when we’re on the trail either, and this, more than anything else, is what Trailwalker is all about.

This is brought into sharp focus at cp6 when we are asked by another runner, who has been dropped by his team, if he can join us to leave the checkpoint. For safety reasons, the event organisers won’t let individuals carry on unless they buddy up with another team. It’s a bit like the kit check though – they don’t impose any conditions that involve you sticking with that team once you are past the checkpoint. We agree, but make it clear (in a nice way) that we’re going our own pace, and if he can’t keep up, we won’t be waiting. He leaves with us, but has dropped off the back within a mile. It’s a long flat run out of the checkpoint, and we are making a good pace. I don’t think he expected that.

I wonder whether he eventually finished? I’ve no idea. But I hope the team mates who left him had a rubbish time of the rest of the race. Even if they managed to complete, it’ll have been a hollow victory. Having a team member drop out because they are unable to continue is one thing, and happens to a lot of teams. Leaving someone who is able to continue, but just not fast enough for you, is something else entirely, and completely against the spirit of the event. I hope that lad comes back next year with renewed determination and a better set of mates around him.
17/07/2007 at 00:32
On we go. Things are getting tough now. We’ve been going…say, 7 hours plus. The muscles know they’ve been working. Hips are sore. Knees are starting to feel a bit tight. Ankles are just beginning to feel the strain. It was around this stage that going from a walk to a run begins to require a definite effort of will, and some mental and physical preparation. Pick the start point – sink down through the hips, bend the knees a little more – swing the arms, swing that back leg through, and you’re off…. amazingly, it’s way, way more comfortable to run at this point than to walk, particularly at the brisk walking pace Leon is setting. That doesn’t mean it’s actually pleasant – just less unpleasant than walking.

The condition of my feet is…being pushed to the back of my mind. Hot-spots have clearly become blisters. Blisters are spreading under the continuing punishment. Road shoes with more cushioning would have been better than the trail shoes I’m wearing, but I haven’t got any to change into, nor any fresh socks. It’s quite nice not to have to make any decision about it. The feet will be ignored. They aren’t important. I’ll take my shoes and socks off when we’ve finished and got to the B&B and deal with whatever I happen to find at that point. Up till then, it’s just a non-issue. You’re supposed to be tough, so just get on with it.

On up a long hill (walking the uphills I still feel strong – it’s the running sections now which are starting to hurt, mainly due to my feet, although the muscles are feeling it a bit as well) and past the hangar that marks the old site of cp7, where I pulled out in 2003. I did pause to pee up against it, but to be honest didn’t feel too strongly about passing it. It’s just a building, and I’ve come a long, long way in the four years since I was last there. It was nice to think that from this point on I’d be on parts of the course that I’d never seen before though. And I remember being gutted in ’03 that I’d pulled out ‘so close to the finish’. It was nice to think that the finish line was now getting closer.

I had also been in a bit of a mental no-mans-land from the midway point to here. It’s like miles 16 to 22 in a marathon. It’s getting hard, you’ve just got to get them out of the way, but there don’t seem to be any clear milestones, any sense of the end really getting near. There’s a stretch like this in practically every race though…. I probably even manage about 200 metres of this somewhere around 3.5k in a 5k race… so race experience means that there’s plenty of tricks in the mental toolbox to deal with it. Which is why I was pestering Leon at this point with questions about time, and distance, and how far to cp7, and how far from cp7 to the end….sorry mate!

Into cp7, a quick drink of squash, and out again. And this is when it started to get really hard.

17/07/2007 at 00:32
Endurance:

I’d been eating well, but was probably taking in too much complex carbs and not enough simple sugars. I started to feel the first effects of glycogen depletion. At this point, we still had about 30k to go. Imagine hitting the wall at mile 8 in a marathon, and knowing you’ve got to keep working hard right till the end.

Having plenty of experience of the ‘out of fuel’ feeling, and what was likely to come, I let the others know straight away. We called ahead to cp8 for some preparations. Some toffees from Heebie kept me going that far, still only feeling that I was dipping in to my reserves, not that the wheels were going to come off. Heather, (a member of – yes, you guessed it – the best support crew in the world, ever) conjured up several glasses of flat coke, which went down a treat, and got some sugar straight into the bloodstream. I filled my bumbag with some special hi-tech, energy dense, easily absorbed glucose concentrate capsules – otherwise known as Haribo gummy-bears.

We had planned a longer stop at this point – Heebie was also beginning to feel the strain, although was still running well – we both just took a bit longer to get going than Leon and VRap by this stage – so we had a ten minute sit down, refuelled, and headed out for what was beginning to feel like the last push. 30k to go. Over two thirds of the way there. I was NOT going to be the weak link that meant the team missed its goal.

From here on, it got really hard.

I was getting just enough glucose into my bloodstream from the sweets to keep my legs going. This didn’t really leave any spare for anything else – like the brain. If you’ve ever been there, you’ll know exactly what that’s like, and I began to deal with all those lovely side effects of glycogen depletion. Anger. Mood swings. Paranoia. Depression. That feeling of ‘what the hell am I doing this for’.

I could kind of skip over this bit, but if I’m going to record the whole experience, as I, well, experienced it, I should do it warts and all. Part of me was still thinking rationally, and knew very well that what was going on emotionally was just the effect of tiredness and the drop in blood sugar. That didn’t make the good old emotional roller coaster any less real. It just meant that every few minutes I was able to take stock and say, hang on, I know why I’m feeling like this, I can handle it, laugh at myself and carry on. In between times….well, it was a bit grim. So, in case anyone else is contemplating having a crack at Trailwalker, here’s a kind of paraphrased version of what my inner voice was saying for about 25 out of the last 30k……
17/07/2007 at 00:33
I got really angry at Leon. I was convinced that he was setting much too fast a pace, that the whole race was about him feeding a big ego by setting a really good time, that he didn’t give a damn that we were suffering and that he was just p*ssed off that I was having to go more slowly. He’s been aiming for about 13 hours all along. Lorna was just as bad, I could see the looks she kept shooting back towards me, bliddy hell, I’m doing the best I can, can’t she see Heebie’s hurting as well? Gods, if it wasn’t a bliddy team event I’d pull out at cp9. This has just become so irrelevant. Why the hell did I want to do this? I’m knackered, the course is boring. How the hell can that pair still be so fresh at this point? They’re skipping along like spring lambs and I’m on my bliddy knees here.


Nice, isn’t it? I hope – I really hope – that I didn’t let too much of it show. Heebie gave me a quick sanity check when I did moan with the simple phrase ‘that’s just the low blood sugar talking’ which helped bring me back to reality. I just got on with it as best I could, and tried to say very little. I could at least still process the fact that sitting down and having a good cry wouldn’t be the best thing for team morale, nor would organising a mutiny, and at some level I was still just rational enough to know that what I was feeling wasn’t really real. So I just did my best to suck it up, and, well, keep dragging myself round.

It’s a long section between cp8 and cp9 – about 13k. It really was the crux of the event for me. I had the lowest of the low moments, but by the time we rolled into cp9 I knew there were only two sections left to go, and that they were both short (5k then 6k I think). More flat coke. Still not saying very much. Just trying to crack on, and the thought of simply being finished was now uppermost in my mind.

Running down a section through a cornfield from cp9 towards cp10 I felt one of the blisters on my left foot burst. I knew it was covering most of the ball of my foot, and it let go with a pop that I was sure must have been audible, accompanied by the sensation of the fluid from the blister being sprayed over the top of my foot from the exit wound it created between my toes. Ignore it. Keep running. It isn’t important.
17/07/2007 at 00:33
Euphoria:

CP10. About 4 miles left to go. That’s a number that’s small enough to contemplate. Part of me – that part that’s actually a fell and marathon runner, rather than some snivelling glucose deprived whinger – is starting to get control of the inner voice again, but it’s a tough battle. There’s a long climb out of the checkpoint – maybe two miles of very, very gentle climb on a grassy track. I’m checking my watch now, trying to calculate where we are in respect to the 15 hour target. It’s starting to become important again, at least partly because I’m getting back to a place where I can understand that even with the effort we’ve put in it’s still going to be very close. The paranoid 13 hour sub-plot that my poor battered brain had invented never existed. Keeping the pace pushed up as far as possible was necessary to get us this far, within spitting distance of the target. We’re going to make it – even an unforeseen disaster now wouldn’t stop us finishing in an extremely respectable time. Barring disasters, we’ve got a crack at 14-something. Keep going. 14:59:59 is still 14-something.

Finally, finally over the brow of the hill. A long gentle descent towards Brighton, eminently runable. On another day I’d have flown down it. Now it’s into the fastest shuffle I can manage. We’re all moving. I find the mental energy to really look at how everyone is running….and we are running well. Two of us at least are clearly pretty knackered, and being driven on more by guts that anything else, but we aren’t moving like we’re crippled. Slow maybe, but still not bad form. Lorna looks untroubled by it all, Leon looks like he could finish and then run back to the start to pick up the car. It’s nice, at this point, to note these facts and feel moved to respect by them, rather than the envy and anger I’ve been trying to smother for the last few hours.

Onto some kind of track, and I’m confused now. I can see Brighton, but it looks miles away down the hill, we’ve got about 10 minutes till the 9pm point that marks 15 hours since we set off. We’ll never get that far in that time, what’s going on? Leon corrects me – down the track, across a road, the racecourse where we finish is just ahead, on the top of the hill. We don’t have to go down. Little more than a kilometre to go. Where’s the end of this track? Here. Finally.
17/07/2007 at 00:34
Onto the road….a couple hundred metres. Cross the road, onto the grass. There’s a white pole fence to our left, then a sward of that improbably green smooth grass that you only get at a racecourse. We’re next to the track, where’s the finish? 2 minutes to nine. Finish is round the corner in the track. Heebie has to stop. We walk for barely 5 strides and she’s running again. We’re all running. We can see the finish. It’s nine o’clock, we’ve got, what, 700 metres to go? Run, run. Forget the last 100km. Rob’s there, Bear’s there, they’re yelling their lungs out, they’re running beside us. 500 metres to go. We are cracking along. It might have looked like a shamble, but by god it felt like 7 minute miling, and after 99.5k that felt like quite fast enough, thank you. There’s the line. Crowds of people, supporters, the other teams, Gurkhas, grinning as always. The light is fading. Barely 100 metres, uphill, who cares? We’re flying now, my body is sending all kinds of warning signals which I’m mentally pulling faces at and ignoring. I’ve been running on flat out empty for about 15k now, but hell, there’s always a sprint finish in there isn’t there?

Into a line, hand in hand, across the finish line. Done it. 15:03 and a few seconds on the clock. Heather crowing with delight from the other side of the fence, Bear, Rob and the other spectators alike applauding us in. Sad race geeks that we are, we all headed straight for the chip-timing point to register our finish, before the usual mad post-race hugs and celebrations.

Onto a podium by the finish – no line of bored marshals handing out goody bags here. A short speech by an officer attached to the Gurkhas – I know they probably get special training in the army about how to say motivational things to completely knackered people, but it certainly works. I’m NOT gonna cry up there. I’m from the north fer gods sake, I have a shaven head and tattoos – my reputation would be ruined. And, to be honest, I’m grinning like a loony at this point, knowing it’s over, knowing that we’ve done it, knowing I didn’t let everyone down. Knowing, as well, that we’ve raised a good chunk of cash that will directly benefit people closely connected to those around us, these eternally smiling, rock-hard little guys in uniform who are applauding us for what we’ve done, and who can probably really appreciate what we’ve just gone through better than most.
17/07/2007 at 00:34
At this point I have to acknowledge all the abuse I’ve asked the body to soak up. Hugs, smiles, handshakes, and I wobble off to a bench to sit down. Rob hands me a beer. Drinking it now would probably kill me. I wonder if it’d be a good way to go, then decide I’m not quite ready yet. Manage to call my wife and let her know how we’ve done, then hang up when I get hit with a wave of nausea. I was expecting this – I’ve fainted before after marathons when I’ve really pulled all the stops out, and I knew I’d dipped deeper into my reserves than I’d ever tried to do before. Onto the grass, flat out, legs higher than my head, trying to reassure the support crew (remember them? ‘the best support crew in the world – ever’) who look a bit alarmed by this turn of events. They cover me with coats, then an army blanket, and there’s an offer of ‘proper’ first aid. I politely decline. Crying on the podium I might have got away with, but needing the attention of anyone official after a race would get me slung out of Cumbria. Gradually things get back to normal, I get helped into some warmer clothes, the body decides it doesn’t actually need a period of unconsciousness to reset itself….we bimble inside, and I force down some Gurkha curry. Oddly, my usual appetite seems to have deserted me and I can’t eat much.

Maybe it’s because I’m grinning so much?

Aftermath

More blisters than I care to count. Some minor surgery from VRap was required on one toe before I could get my shoes on, and I’ll be minus a few toenails in a couple of weeks time. Never mind, they’ll re-grow. Probably. Most of them, anyway.

Muscles/joints etc….ok, actually. I should be able to make my usual running class on Thursday. It’s only the blisters that are giving me grief at the moment. (the one that actively burst en-route was painful enough to wake me up at 6 this morning and keep me on ibuprofen all day….hey-ho. They heal quickly enough and are soon forgotten)

Lessons learned?

More specific conditioning. I’m fit enough, but the other three had done more time on their feet specifically aiming for this event, and it really showed at the end. I’m still gobsmacked by how well eL Bee and VRap were going right the way through, and where Heebie dragged her determination up from for such a strong finish I’ll never know. A profound hats off to you guys, and huge thanks for letting me be part of the experience. I hope I wasn’t too much of a pain when I was finding it tough.

Different shoes. Road shoes with loads more cushioning than I’d usually pick. Looser fitting too – by the end of the race I reckon my feet were a full size bigger then normal. Probably at least three changes of socks, maybe four, so you’re not running with wet feet.

Modify the eating strategy – only slightly, to incorporate more simple sugars on top of the complex carbs I was putting down.

And why do I need to learn lessons from this? We can be faster. We can be a LOT faster. I couldn’t have coped with anything other than ‘an arbitrary target time, quite fast’ until I’d proved to myself that I was capable of it. Now … something along the lines of ‘as fast as possible’ would fit right into my mental map. Watch this space.

P.S. – did I mention – we had the best support crew in the world, ever?
17/07/2007 at 09:18
Fantastic report Slowboy and well done to all your team. I was support crew to a somewhat slower team, and I was good for nothing all Sunday and Monday so heaven alone knows how you lot must feel.

There were a lot of very strong and brave people out there.
17/07/2007 at 10:13
Congratulations on your huge achievement Slowboy! It was a pleasure to meet up with you all and run a little way at CP4. You all seemed very bouncy at that point, I couldn't keep up going down the hill and I hadn't already run 22 miles!

I remember complaining to El Bee & Vrap quite a lot at Abingdon marathon in October! We'll call it low blood sugar ;o)

17/07/2007 at 12:00
Slowboy, wow, what a sensational report! Very well done to you and your team on your achievement, and to everyone else who competed in this event.

I was also a member of a much slower team (24 hours) but we're all planning on coming back next year, with myself and another team mate planning to put a team together who will be capable of completing it in a time not too far away from yours.

I think that the monotonous stretch between CP8 and 9, which my team endured with head torches, was the low point for the majority of competitors.

We also had the "best support team in the world." ;-)
17/07/2007 at 18:44
Very well done Slowboy - your graphic description of the effects of glycogen depletion on the brain has caused me to blink quite a lot, and not all of it from memories. You have the 'right stuff' to finish despite the gremlins, and I do hope your blisters and toenails heal soon.
17/07/2007 at 20:09
Good to hear how you did Susie - the text re the number was to sneakily find out if you were an elite team ;-)

Great report Stu :-) - I'm pretty sure the support crew weren't aware you were finding it tough, although we were aware of a bit of glycogen depletion.

Helen - I can still remember your hypo - and the sleep in the bushes at the then CP8 by the side of the road. Ahhh - fond memories of getting bacon and eggs at 4am from a garage just outside of Brighton!
18/07/2007 at 12:12
XFR, I did look out for you all before the start. What expected finish time defines a team as being elite - sub-18 hours?

Oxfam are certainly taking their time over the results ...
18/07/2007 at 12:17
I think it's sub 18 Susie. I was up on the bank to the right at the start but didn't spot you - having said that we were taking kit to the car and only got there just before the hooter by a couple of minutes
19/07/2007 at 07:24
Well done SusieBee!

My toenail came off - just thought I'd share that with everyone :o0
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