In short: Fantastic event I want to do again the day after! In full: What an outstanding day! Everything about it was totally amazing and definitely the best day I have had for a long time made the entire better by top organisation and check point crew as well as the runners and their lovely supporters.
At 05:00 the rain was hammering the TA centre before the start only to stop respectfully for the brief and 2 minutes silence for the victims of 9/11. Rain didn’t return for the rest of the day which was a welcome stroke of luck!
The ice was shattered during the brief when, after a heads-up of what to look out for and do along various stages of the 90KM route, the pensive silence was then broken by a guy saying “ So this isn’t the Balckheath 5k Fun Run then?” Very funny! So off we go ahead of the sunrise through the London suburbs to the first checkpoint and into the countryside where your map reading needs to be on the ball from here on in! Mine is average but being local to the finish line I used the training to recce the last 26 miles as well as train that bit harder to make up for any ‘miss-calculations’. Old school map and compass is defiantly the way ahead here as a few of the guys with GPS were frequently been told they were off course when map, compass and knowledge of the route said otherwise. But the race must be known to the locals now as they gave us regular pointers from Biggin Hill right down to Chailey which was heart-warming!
Checkpoints along the way were fantastic – really supportive and helpful throughout so massive thanks for that! The tables were stocked with practical foods that would stay down once you took off again and I personally could feel the fatigue melt as the stuff went in.
I’m not a great advocate of walking every hill in a running race but some of the hills here demand just that and they can be quite long so you need to remind yourself at the top that you are in a race on not on a stroll. My head was happy as Larry but my legs were no longer on speaking terms with me so this I found a right battle!
Just before the last big hill the farmer had dutifully ploughed about 300 meters of the fieled which appealed to the sadist in me seeing the runners in front almost stationary in this soft energy sapping dirt before I got a load of it! With no time to recover we were at the foot of Black Cap hill, the second highest point of the race and an eternal climb for 50+ mile legs.
I could safely say I was officially spent by then but the view of the sea and predominately downhill run not to mention great company of other runners and their supporters was a real motivator and the finish was a welcome sight indeed.
Overall, a great day made all the better by everyone involved and met some wonderful people along the way! Until next year :o)