The race involves running a 3 mile trail route for 12 hours and when it’s written like that it all sounds quite simple really. For those of you who have taken part in a 12 hour ultra will know that it is nothing but.
Thankfully the start time was reasonably sensible (0800), but we still made the journey to Burnley the day before to make sure we had plenty of time to prepare. We grabbed a pub meal, booked into our hotel and spent some time preparing my Tailwind Nutrition drinks before relaxing with some TV.
Race morning started with me in a panic as I couldn’t find my Gurney Goo, I was positive I had packed it……or did I? Of course I did, I always pack it, where the hell was it? As per normal Lorraine remained calm and found for it me….panic over. Now I was calm, now I could relax, now I could race.
The game plan for this race was to run at a 10 min pace for as long as possible, the ultimate target was 60 miles. Somewhere in the back of my head though there was an argument taking place as to whether I should be racing instead of just running for distance. To late to argue now though, it was 0800 and it was time to run.
The laps whizzed past and it wasn’t long before I had clocked 9 laps(27 miles) in just over 4 hours. Everything was smelling of roses and life was sweet. Lorraine told me I was in 5th place, at first I was happy to hear this but all it did was bring the argument back again in my head. Now I didn’t have a clue why I was running this race, my head was in a spin, it was all over the place, I was totally confused but at least I was still running……for now.
33 miles and six hours in and…….Bam!!! Cold shakes, dizziness, disorientation, what the hell was going on? I was only half through the race and everything was falling apart. I was seriously worried that I would not be able to carry on, had I gone out to quick and blown everything? The calm but firm voice of Lorraine put paid to any more negative thoughts, after approx 15 mins I was back on my feet and running again. One of the great things that Lorraine gave me, was a couple slices of cake from the refreshments table. You would of thought she had gave me a new set of legs, along with the Tailwind Nutrition this was the answer to my prayers.
The argument in my head had been settled, I was definitely racing, I was ready to lay it on the line. Slowly but surely I began to make my way through the field…..6th, 5th, 4th and before I knew it I was chasing down 3rd place. John Lloyd(race organiser) and Lorraine told me that the 3rd place runner had stopped for a rest and I was now in 3rd place. This race suddenly became serious, very serious indeed. Now I was chomping at the bit, I wanted 2nd place but he was a lap ahead of me but I was ready and willing to give everything I had to catch him.
I think it was on completing lap 21 that Lorraine told me I had cut his lead down to approx 10 minutes. I was ready and waiting for news of this sort, this was my time, my moment. He was mine, no way was he keeping 2nd place. On catching him and completing lap 22 I was told I had to run another lap to secure 2nd place (this brings back some memories of Hope24). I was slightly confused by this but I very happily set off on lap 23(69 miles) with a monster smile on my face. Second place was mine, all I had to do was complete this lap. There were lots of hugs, high 5’s and hand shakes dished out to the marshals, I was on cloud 9 and floated around the final 3 miles.
I crossed the line after 12 hours and 18 mins of running, 23 laps, 69 miles and I had bagged 2nd place. I felt like I had won the race, my head was in a spin but this time for the right reasons. I have never been so proud of myself as I was on this day. I had ran my backside off for twelve hours and now I had something to show for it instead of nearly achieving something but not quite. Memories of a vile teacher from my school days came back again, he would stand me up in front of the class and use me as his example of someone who would never achieve anything in life. I think I can now say I proved him wrong, after 40 years I can now lay this to rest. Today was pay back.
Now it is time to cheer things up, drop some names and to say thank you to a few people; Firstly to Cannonball Events for organising a great race and having some of the best marshals and medics you could wish for.
Tailwind Nutrition UK for keeping me fuelled throughout the race, your product has helped to improve my running so much.
Team Buff UK for your continued support, the new kit is amazing.
Ellis Brigham(my new sponsor) and Inov-8 for sponsoring the event.
To my friends for all your comments during and after the race, they mean so much to me.
And finally………Lorraine; what more can I say that I haven’t already said about Lorraine. Lorraine is my energy, my soul mate, my wise head……..thank you, once again, Lorraine.