I had become interested in the KACR after Iain raced and finished second in the LLCR last year. I was interested to see what it felt like to run for that long (and if I could) and it had the added bonus that being in the summer holidays the kids could stay with my family and Iain would be able to crew me. It was going to be my A race of the year with everything else planned around it. Plan A was to finish in under 32hrs, plan B under 36hrs and plan C under 40hrs. Training had gone well and everything was in place for a great race. We were back from our long distance walk, which had been many hours on the feet and I was at the start of my taper when I started to feel ill. I tried to convince myself it was just a cold, just a sore throat, nothing too bad but no, after avoiding it for the last 2 and a half years, I finally had COVID. I was gutted, I stopped all running and rested as much as possible but with Iain away at work and the children on holiday it wasn’t easy. Thankfully it was never worse than a bad head cold and I didn’t get a fever or muscle aches but even so I was convinced my race was over. When Iain got home he was cautiously more positive and we decided that as long as I tested negative before the race I would start. It was too late for a refund so I may as well go, take it easy, enjoy the race and see how it went. I tried a couple of 2 mile runs race week and felt fine but was still struggling to feel enthusiastic about the race. Nonetheless we packed everyone and everything into the car and headed to my parents in Kent to drop off the children. An order to Boots for lateral flow tests and thankfully all were negative (everyone got to take one!) just before race day!
Having left the kids with family we drove to Taplow station where we planned to leave the car overnight and get the train in to Paddington on the new Elizabeth Line. We arrived at registration on the Thursday evening and collected my number and also paid for a race belt and Rivers Trust key for the toilets. Then we headed to our accommodation for the night at the nearby EasyHotel. We had opted for the cheapest room we could find as we were going to have to get up at 4am anyway so no point paying loads! It was everything you would expect for a small double with no windows but at £37 for the night was at least cheap and private. Having dropped off our bags we headed out to get food. We had tried to get a table at the Zizzi by the canal at Paddington but despite having lots of empty tables they weren’t taking extra bookings due to staff shortages. However I now really fancied pizza and being gluten free this isn’t always straight forward! Iain had a quick look and found another Zizzi 15min away which we booked a table at and then had an enjoyable walk across.
I still wasn’t feeling race ready but the food was great and I had a lovely gluten free pizza and we shared some olives. We walked back to the hotel, stopping at Tesco for a few bits we had forgotten! Back to the room and a nice early night. I still couldn’t believe the race was tomorrow and was still unsure how my body would respond after COVID. I had decided I would just have to go on effort (easy) and keep an eye on my heart rate and stop if things didn’t go right. This was really hard as I like to give my all at a race and be competitive! Surprisingly I feel asleep quickly while Iain tossed and turned in the small hot basement room (you could hear the underground trains passing) and then at 23.30 the fire alarm went off and we all piled out onto the pavement hoping we wouldn’t be there for too long. 10 mins later the EasyHotel worker came out to tell us he had done all the fire checks and it was just a false alarm and we were probably fine to go back to our rooms – always reassuring! It took longer to get back to sleep this time but I did manage and before I knew it the alarm was going off at 4 am. It was race day!
A quick shower while Iain went to reception to use the coffee/hot water machine for black coffee and porridge. I was running in my trailblazer Flanci shorts as I love the thigh pockets and know they are comfortable for long races. I taped both knees as a precaution (I have already had meniscal surgery on one knee and the other one has swollen on a 100 miles race before) and wore a white T-shirt because it was going to be hotter than I am used to. I left my hair wet figuring it would cool me down at the start of the race and soon dry! In my race vest I carried 1.5 litres of KMC Isomix fluid, 500ml of water, a raincoat, survival blanket, first aid kit, 6 gels, a bag of love corn and bag of jelly sweets and I had my phone in my thigh pocket. I wore Inov8 TerraUltra 270, I love these shoes but made the mistake of wearing a new pair that I had only worn for about 15 miles (I had planned to wear them during taper runs which hadn’t happened). They were comfy but the upper fabric was a bit stiff and caused bruising over the race. Lesson learnt in not wearing new shoes on race day!
We headed to Little Venice for the start just after 5 (Race start was 6 am) and we were able to get a lovely cup of tea from the race volunteers. A short queue for the canal toilets (the queue did get longer!) and then a short wait for the start. I got a fright when 2 rats ran past another runner as we waited in the queue for the toilets. I don’t know why I was surprised as we were on the canal in the middle of London! Iain had all his instructions and was calm and positive as always, he was going to have to work out my timings to aid stations on the go as I had no idea what my post COVID pace would be like! Crews weren’t allowed at the first check point so I had arranged to meet him on the canal at West Drayton (at 16 Miles) as it was right next to the train station so he could see me there before picking the car up and heading to the second check point.
Start – CP1 (Hambrough Tavern): 11.6 miles
Just before 6am Dick called all the runners together for a quick race briefing and then we headed down onto the canal path for the start. I was well aware people often head off too fast and was determined not to make the same mistake, I was starting with a 10min easy run/5 min walk strategy hoping to average about 11 min/mile. At 6 am we were off, Iain had nipped along to the next bridge so I was able to give him a wave as we headed on our way along the canal path. My pre-race nerves had calmed down and I soon found my place as the runners spaced out along the canal path, I was definitely in the middle of the pack. As is always the case at the start of long races a few people changed position over the first few miles as everyone found their own pace and rhythm. I was just happy I was running and everything felt ok!
The first 12 miles out of London to the first check point don’t have any navigation as you just stay on the left hand side of the canal. It was still a nice temperature and time passed really quickly. I started run/walking from the start and although it felt funny walking so early in the race I think it really helped me to keep running for much more of the race than I would otherwise have been able to. It also meant I was able to eat and drink regularly. I was soon at CP1 where I didn’t stop as I had plenty to get me to Iain at West Drayton and I was keen to see him and tell him I was feeling ok! About a mile on from the check point, at Bull’s Bridge you cross over the canal so you are now on the right hand side for the first time. The paths out of London are all good canal towpaths, so nice running, the main hazard being cyclists (although most did have bells) and I soon saw Iain on the canal path ahead. I topped up my water and had a quick chat before heading on. He had been able to help another runner who had already been short of water when they saw him! I was actually keeping to my race plan at this point which I was surprised and pleased about.
CP1 – CP2 (Marsh Lane): 15.4 miles
Just over a mile after seeing Iain you cross over a footbridge onto the Slough Arm of the canal and just over 5 miles later you come to the end of the canal and turn left to run down through the centre of Slough. The navigation wasn’t difficult as you just keep straight until you have passed under the M4, cross over the river and then turn right onto the Jubilee River Path. There were a lot of roads to cross but they all had pedestrian crossings which made things easy. I passed a few runners as we headed through Slough and then once we got back onto the river path a few of them overtook me again! It was hot by now and although you follow the river you don’t often get to see it as there are a lot of trees and bushes in the way. This part of the run felt really hot and the path was unpleasantly dusty. I passed a few more runners as we headed to CP2 and I had a few chats along the way. This helped as there wasn’t much of interest to look at on this section. Thankfully time was still passing quickly and I was soon at CP2 at 27 miles and was still keeping to my race plan. Iain was waiting at the check point where they noted down my bib number and then Iain ushered me to the car which was parked in the car park across the road. He had been to Tesco and had choc ices which were fantastic, I also had a cup of coke and some water melon and replenished all my gels and nibbles and fluids. I also swapped my buff for a lovely cold wet one. Iain was super organised and I was soon on my way again.
CP2 – CP3 (Flower Pot Inn): 14.4 miles
I got chatting with another runner for the next section which was nice, she was very experienced with the canal races and it was good to chat as we ran (and walked!) The next few miles go through the edge of Maidenhead and do require some navigation, but the maps provided were great (and I had looked on Google maps in advance). There had been a nasty looking car accident on the bridge but luckily by crossing over to the opposite path we were allowed to pass. It was then a right hand turn just before the roundabout to join the Thames path, a short run on pavement by the road before the river path heads behind the houses and away from the road. A mile and a half later and we were heading away from the river again and in to a little village called Cookham. I had a lovely surprise as I saw Iain parked on the roadside. He had had to take a detour because of the accident in Maidenhead and so thought he would surprise me. This was great as I could get some more water melon and it was just nice to see him. I was also able to use the public toilets in Cookham as you run straight past them in the car park. I noticed I was getting dehydrated (dark wee!) which concerned me so I made a big effort to make sure I was drinking more!
I was back running on my own now which was actually working better for me but I was yo-yoing with a couple of the other runners which was entertaining. As it got hotter I was beginning to slow a bit and during the next section I did drop off my race pace and was averaging 12 – 12:30 min/miles to the next check point. A short way out of Cookham you cross to the right hand side of the river which you follow into Marlow. Some navigation was required through Marlow but thanks to Google maps I knew where the path went between 2 brick walls so it wasn’t tricky. The section around Hurley was busy but after that it was much quieter. The path for this section is just a well worn track in the grass which was a nice change! It was still hot and I was ready for check point 3. After mile 40 you cut away from the river and head up to meet a country estate road which you run on for a short while before heading off on a path to the left. This section felt surprisingly uphill after the flat paths! Finally I saw Iain waiting for me and we walked to the car in the car park of the Flower Pot Inn and CP3. It was now mid afternoon and my legs weren’t liking the folding chair Iain had for me to use! I changed socks here, replenished supplies and grabbed another cold buff and a cup of coke.
CP3 – CP4 (The Cunning Man): 14.6 miles
I was soon on my way again, heading behind the pub and back onto the Thames path. This section follows the river round to the road where you cross over Henley bridge to run on the right hand side of the river. This section was again busy with lots of people and boats and lots to look at. My first mistake came as the Thames path heads onto a wooden walkway. A clear sign said Thames Path closed and had diversion signs. In my head I thought we had been told there were no diversions so headed out on the walk way anyway only to get 2/3rds of the way round it to find it was closed! The tourist must have been very amused by me! I retraced my steps but was completely thrown! I followed the diversions signs up the road but felt very unsure so asked a group of teenagers if I was heading the right way. They assured me I just had to go a bit further up the road before the diversion was signposted off to the left (and there were in fact runner signs). I was back on track but annoyed with myself over the whole thing. It wasn’t long before I made my second (and last) navigational mistake. While heading through Lower Shiplake I saw the Thames path signposted to the left and followed it. I was unsure if I was on the right path or not but saw 2 runners ahead which reassured me as I wasn’t feeling confident after the previous mistake! It wasn’t until I was a fair away along the path around the field that I realised I was doing a big loop around a field that I didn’t need to do. I was gutted. I got back on the correct path but was so upset with myself and phoned Iain in tears ready to stop. I was hot and tired and felt like I had added miles onto an already long race! Iain calmed me down and said he would head back and meet me at the next point he could at Sonning bridge.
I carried on run/ walking and thinking of all the reasons it was time to call it a day. I saw Iain as I headed to Sonning Bridge and burst into tears again. He was fantastic and walked me to the car where he gave me chocolate! It made a massive difference and after a few minutes I was ready to head on again. It was lucky Iain had been at the bridge as he was able to save 2 other runners from heading off course by calling them back and pointing them in the right direction. I was able to carry on chatting to another runner for a while. It was amazing how much some chocolate could improve my mood and a reminder to eat before making any rash decisions (like calling it a day!) 2 miles after Sonning bridge you have to cross onto the Kennet and Avon canal. I was being very careful not to miss the bridge!
Once on The Kennet and Avon canal you head into Reading, again the maps provided were great and having looked at Google maps in advance I was feeling more confident (if a little cautious) about navigation! I chatted to another runner as we headed into Reading which also helped with my mood. It is funny running through shopping areas and restaurants but meant there was lots to look at. I don’t remember much of the next few miles until check point 4 where it was nice to see Iain again. He was parked by the bridge just before the check point and had everything ready for me again. A quick stop, some food, replenish supplies and a new wet buff (I was still finding it too hot!). I picked up my bag of night time supplies (head torch, spare battery, small power bank) just in case I didn’t make it to check point 5 before dark. It was also nice to get a quick chat with another runners crew – he had been struggling after getting too hot during the day. I was soon on my way past the check point, making sure they noted my number as I passed. I was looking forward to reaching check point 5 as that is where buddy runners were allowed and Iain was going to run short sections with me.
CP4 – CP5 (Bull’s Swing Bridge): 13.1 miles
Again this next section just passed by, I had got back into a run/walk rhythm and although my pace had slowed I was doing ok, there were a couple of slow miles but most were around 13mins. I met some nice folk on this section with people asking what the race was – when I explained people were surprised and impressed! One gentleman said I was a hero which nearly made me cry in my slightly fragile emotional state! There was also a field of cows but they all seemed quite friendly and used to people on the canal path. Iain actually met me before the check point at the bridge crossing in Thatcham as I had asked for cheesy chips but he had miscalculated my timings so had them ready too early. The were pretty much cold and he had eaten half of them but I didn’t mind too much and still enjoyed eating them as I walked along the canal. It seemed to take forever to reach check point 5 but finally I was there. You have to cross Bull’s swing bridge to the check point and Iain had the car parked on the road behind. I realised at this check point that sitting on the back of the car was a lot more comfortable than trying to get up and down into the folding chair!
CP5 – CP6 (Oakhill Down Bridge): 13.4 miles
Iain was able to join me as a buddy runner from this check point which was a real boost as he ran the next 3 miles with me. We headed off at about 9pm, overtaking a few runners and I was feeling better now the temperature had dropped a bit. Iain was with me as we ran through Newbury which was great as he was able to take charge of navigation. Having looked at Google maps before hand was again a great help as it meant I was more confident in the town. I needed my head torch from Newbury on but was feeling surprisingly awake if a little sore legged! Iain left me just after Newbury to run back to the car and after crossing to the right hand side of the canal navigation was again easy as there were no crossings for about 7 miles. I had managed 13min/miles with Iain but after he left my pace again slowed. This was mainly because the path became more overgrown and harder to run on as you went on! A runner earlier in the day had commented on how the paths were uneven and overgrown between CP5 and CP7 (it was actually a bit further than this), at the time I hadn’t thought too much of it but it did make it hard going and meant I walked more than intended! There was also a lot of low branches at head height which required lots of ducking and was annoying in the light of the head torch as they created lots of glare and made it harder to see the path ahead. I passed some other support crews at different road crossings along the way and they were always very helpful asking if I needed anything, luckily I was fine! Just before 80 miles (about 83 on my watch) you cross to the left hand side of the canal which you stay on for about 15 miles. Thankfully check point 6 was only about 3.5 miles along but it’s funny how long that can seem to take when you are tired and moving slowly!
CP6 – CP7 (The Barge Inn): 15.4 miles
Iain was again there to meet me and had everything ready for a quick stop. A cup of tea went down really well here, although I was still moaning about being too hot! Iain was also able to tell me I had moved up to second place lady which was a big shock and a bit of a confidence boost. I hadn’t seen any ladies on the last section so I think they must have still been at CP5 when we left. We left CP 6 at 12.30am and Iain got to experience how horrible the paths were (they actually got worse) with head height overgrowth and uneven footing. I was also anxious about accidentally running into some giant hogweed (there was a lot of very large cow parsley along the path but no giant hogweed that I saw) or accidentally falling in the canal on the uneven paths some of which were eroded into the canal. My feet were also beginning to get a bit sore. But I was still moving OK, if at a slightly slower pace and I was still running sections where I could. I averaged just under 16min/mile for this section. Iain again ran about 4 miles with me which was fantastic. At one point we ran past a house next to the canal that had left goodies out for runners as they passed. This again nearly had me in tears at such a kind and thoughtful act. Iain headed off back to the car using the road part of the way to avoid some of the overgrowth! He was hoping to get a little sleep at the next check point which I was pleased about as I was worried about him doing so much running, driving and not sleeping.
Surprisingly I didn’t struggle with tiredness through the night. I got into a rhythm of fast walking/ running when the path allowed, put my head down and just got on with it. The overgrowth was annoying and my legs and feet hurt (and I was still too hot) but time passed by. At about 95 miles (on my watch) I saw a runner stopped up ahead. As I got close I saw it was the first placed lady. I asked if she was ok and she said she was fine, she was busy sorting her bag, so I headed on past realising I was now in first place. I couldn’t believe it! A couple of miles later I was carefully checking bridge numbers to make sure I didn’t miss the crossing to the left hand side of the canal. The bridge numbers make this easy but I was still nervous of making another navigational mistake. I passed 100miles on my watch in about 22 and a half hours which I was really pleased with as it was my first sub 24hr 100miles. And then I saw Iain up ahead as he had ran a mile and a half out of the checkpoint. He had managed a 15min power nap and was feeling much better for it. CP 7 was in the car park of the Barge Inn and they were kindly allowing runners to use their toilets, which was much appreciated! The fantastic volunteers here made me a wonderful cup of tea and Iain sorted out all of my supplies for the next section. I also put on a long sleeved top here as I was beginning to feel cold. We mentioned to the volunteers to keep an eye out for the lady who I had passed and then headed back on our way at about 4.30am.
CP7 – CP8 (Parsons Bridge): 17.6 miles
Dawn was breaking and the temperature had dropped notably. Iain just ran a mile and a half with me as we had arranged for him to meet me at Caen Hill Locks with a bacon roll. I was on my own again and this next section was harder – there was now a mist over the canal and all of the overgrowth was wet. I was soon soaked and ended up putting on my rain coat to keep warm but was still shivering at times. My feet were also now really sore especially if my feet slipped at all in my shoes which was happening a lot on the uneven paths. My feet were squelching with every step with the amount of water in my shoes from the wet overgrowth. It was lovely to see a lot of herons on the canal in the early morning and they didn’t seem too bothered by my presence as I was able to get quite close to them. I think I had overcompensated for slightly dark wee on the Friday by drinking more than I needed! It meant I spent the second half of the night (and a lot of the Saturday) needing to wee all the time. This became more of a problem on Saturday as it got busier but was also not kind on tired legs! It also made it hard to gauge how much to drink on the Saturday as it got hotter through the day.
Iain again ran out a mile and half from the Caen Hill car park with bacon roll all ready for me. It was wonderful! I even managed a couple of 15min/miles to the car! The stop at Caen Hill was a chance to sort out very sore wet feet. It turned out I had had a blister on the ball of my foot that the top had torn off which was why it was so painful. Feet were dried and KT was used to hold the blister top down. New socks and new shoes (I swapped into my Hoka Torrent 2) and I was good to go. I was determined to run the only notable down hill of the race, but regretted it when I had, as it really irritated my knee and sore legs! I think I would probably have done better sticking to short runs and walks! Iain came a mile or so with me before heading back to be ready at the next check point where he was again planning to run out and meet me (with another bacon roll). He had the fun of running back up the flight of locks we had just ran down!
It was this next section as it began to warm up that the tiredness hit me and I really began to struggle. I had done the math in my head and couldn’t get my head around the idea of walking (with a little running) for another 12 hours. The doubts began to creep in and I became more and more unsure that I would be able to keep going and finish. It’s also hard knowing you are in first place and not knowing how far others are behind you. Actually when I look back on Strava my pace wasn’t too bad and I had actually sped up a bit now the paths were finally runnable, I was still managing short runs between walks and was doing ok. But my head had gone to a difficult place and made the rest of Saturday harder than I think it should have been. After Caen Hill Locks the route crossed to the right hand side of the canal which we stayed on for about 11 miles. Iain again parked the car near the next check point and then ran back to meet me with a bacon roll. These were going down a treat! It was hot by now and this wasn’t helping my mood!
CP8 – CP9 (Bath): 14.1 miles
We ran back to the car, which Iain had had to park a short way before the check point and an annoying few meters off the route (more added distance!) where I ate and drank something (can’t even remember what!), collected a lovely cold wet buff and then headed on to Check Point 7 (at about 9.30am) where we said a quick hello and Iain took a photo with the CP volunteers and their dog. Iain came a little further with me before heading back to the car to go on the hunt for some ice lollies. I was finding it harder to keep my mood up every time Iain left. It was hot again and I was now worrying because my hands were beginning to swell. The next few miles were slow going and it seemed forever before Iain met me with a Callipo ice lolly which was very much appreciated. Poor Iain had me being a bit of a grump and trying to give up again. He was super encouraging again but then had to head back to the car.
Despite this bit of the canal being really pretty I headed on feeling very sorry for myself and then talked myself into a complete panic about my swollen hands. I phoned Iain in a state ready to stop then and there and call it a day! Iain was a calm and reassuring voice pointing out they were only swollen because of exercising in the heat and that it wasn’t a reason to stop. He changed his plans again so he could meet me sooner than check point 9 and instead parked near the next aqueduct and came back to meet me. Thankfully the 2 aqueducts in this section were easy to navigate and the maps were again easy to follow. When I met Iain he gave me a bit of a talking to and told me I had to sort myself out and actually want to finish the race. I think he felt a bit bad being so firm but it was actually what I needed to hear and after he had headed off back to the car I started chanting a mantra in my head (and sometimes out loud if there weren’t too many people around). Unfortunately I had left it too long since running and I could not convince the legs to run even a little way! But I was able to set a good walking pace and average 16min/ miles to check point 9 (the final check point).
The canal path into Bath was really busy with walkers and bikes which was sometimes a challenge! There is an interesting section where the canal path goes under a house but again it was all easy to navigate and Iain met me shortly after the steps that go down next to a Tesco back onto the canal (128 miles on the map). By this point I was desperate for a wee and there was nowhere to go! Thankfully just as I thought I couldn’t wait any longer we saw a bus station and Iain nipped in to check and yes they had public toilets. Thank goodness! We were soon moving again and Iain saw me safely across the road crossings. I then got grumpy again as I was sure we should be nearly at the check point. Iain wasn’t sure how far it was as he had been focussed on getting back to me and hadn’t been paying too much attention. A helpful passerby shouted it wasn’t too far to the check point but it turned out there idea of close was different to mine and it still took another 15 minutes or so to get there. I finally arrived at check point 9 at about 2 pm.
CP9 – Finish (Bristol): 12.5 miles
Iain had to nip up to the car to get what I needed – new socks, some talc for the feet, a wet buff, gels and fluid refills and some rice pudding and I was just happy to sit in a chair and have a rest! There was another runner who had arrived at the check point just before me and it was good to get a chat – he was the first runner I had seen all day. He was suffering with a swollen ankle from twisting it earlier on which was definitely slowing him down. Iain got back and I got sorted out and was soon ready to go again. Iain wasn’t coming with me this time as I wanted him to head to the finish, park the car and then run back to me so he could do as many miles with me at the end as possible. I had been looking forward to the next section as you head away from the canal and instead follow the Bristol and Bath railway path for a while. It is just under 4miles of completely straight and flat tarmac path which wasn’t nearly as interesting as I had hoped! It also has the challenge of being used by lots of bikes that were going fast! This was slight problem as I was struggling to walk in a straight line unless I was really concentrating! I managed to keep a good walking pace on these miles until you turn off to follow the path along the side of the River Avon. I was gutted to find this was just a track in grass field and very uneven which was very painful on my blistered feet. This slowed my pace considerably to near 20min/mile and was very demoralising! But I put my head down and kept plodding on hoping it wouldn’t be too long until I saw Iain. It was about 3 miles until I saw him in the distance which was a huge relief as I knew I now had him with me the rest of the way.
I was still complaining of being far too hot and Iain assured me he had seen a coffee van in the park a couple of miles away where we would be able to get a cold drink or ice lolly. We crossed a field and annoyingly had to climb over a gate at far side, then down a short section of road before running past a couple of pubs which were busy with afternoon drinkers enjoying the sun! Time seemed to have slowed and it felt like we would never reach this carpark where the coffee van was, and then we saw it in the distance and I couldn’t believe it, they were packing up for the day. Saying I was gutted is an understatement! But we pushed on as we were getting closer and closer to the finish. At mile 140 on the route there is a stile you have to climb over, this must have looked comically funny as I struggled to get my legs to step over it! I was not happy! Thankfully there was only the one.
It was great having Iain with me as I no longer had to think about navigation and could just concentrate on trying to walk as quickly as I could! We got into Bristol and plodded along the side of busy roads, I was still worried second place lady would come whizzing past me in these last few miles but still didn’t have it in me to try and start running! At about a mile from the finish you have to cross 2 busy roads at pedestrian crossings, these were awful – we hit them all on red and they took forever to change to green. Standing still was really uncomfortable and I was fidgeting on the spot to try and keep my legs working. Iain took a photo of me leaning against one of the crossing buttons and I look like I am just posing for the photo when in reality I was barely able to stand up and leaning against it to try and relieve some of the discomfort in my legs and feet! We finally got across the roads and hobbled on to the finish where I managed to run the last 100m and cross the finish line in 36hrs and 10mins. 11th place overall and First Lady. I was made up and couldn’t believe it. It didn’t matter I was slower than I had hoped, I had given it my all and kept going even when it got tough! My watch recording has my run at 146.8 miles so I had added about 3 miles overall to the route due to my navigational mishaps!
Massive thanks go to Iain who was the best crew and buddy runner I could have had. Looking back one of the hardest things for me was having Iain run some of the second half with me and then have to leave me for sections. In future I think it would be better to either have a buddy runner the whole way from mile 70 or not at all. I became dependent on having Iain there but of course he couldn’t always be there and that was when I would fall apart! Thanks to the organisers and volunteers for an awesome race, well organised, great check points, brilliant maps and lots of fun (and challenges!) And a big thanks to my family for looking after the kids to make it possible for me to have these amazing adventures. Thanks everyone 🙏
The biggest learning point for me is to not be thrown when things don’t go to plan pre-race (or during the race). I had convinced myself that I wouldn’t be able to do well because of having COVID just before the race and if it hadn’t been for Iain I would have listened to all of those doubts and probably not finished. I need to believe in myself more and have confidence in the training I have done and not let the doubts creep in!