After playing what was essentially pin the tails on the donkey to decide where I was going to run this weekend I woke up at 06:30am on Saturday and got involved with a bit of multi-tasking. I made porridge, glugged down a cup of tea whilst trying not to give myself 3rd degree burns and packed my backpack for my weekends adventure. My well thought out plan was to head South East until I reached Eastbourne and stop off in East Grinstead to meet Jenny for tea and cake! Fool proof!
I headed out the door and the first part of the journey was lovely weaving through Richmond Park and Wimbledon Common in the fresh morning air. I was greeted by deer, squirrels and loads of runners already in the park, what a wonderful start to the day! Then it turned a bit rubbish as my map took me through Croydon. No offence to Croydon but you are not exactly a wonder of the world. Passing groups of boys dressed in club football kit downing Red Bull and having a final cigarette before the headed to their football matches and trying to get through the longest queue I had ever seen outside of Greggs was some what different to what I was expecting.
I was meeting Jenny at 2pm but did a rough calculations and realised that I was going to get there about 90 minutes early. Jenny was on a bike and unless she magically found a jet pack I was going to have to do a bit of waiting round for her to get there. Having just crossed the M25 (via a bridge don’t worry) I saw this wonderful sign…
I carried on trotting to the cherry lady who was perched in a layby on the A22. She looked bemused when I arrived and asked how on earth I got to her as everyone drives there! When I told her that I had just run from Richmond she just looked utterly confused and was ‘lost of words’. She asked me where I was headed and then got even more confused at the thought of someone running to Eastbourne…I get it it’s not exactly normal but I had nothing else to do this weekend. After spending £2 on 1lb of cherries I sat in a field and ate them in the sunshine, heaven!
I carried on towards East Grinstead and arrived at the chosen cake shop ‘The Nest’. I devoured a toasted cheese and ham sandwich whilst I waited for Jenny to turn up. She arrived up at 2pm on the dot and we enjoyed few cups of tea, a couple of pieces of cake and putting the world to rights before I headed off on the rest of my journey and she turned around to go back home avoiding the Gatwick Landing strip.
I had already run 30 miles and only had 32 to go and it was only 3pm. BRING ON THE CHALLENGE! I had planned to do a bit of wild camping and had supplies on me to sleep for the night but changed my mind and decided to try and get to Eastbourne before the last train home at 22:20…Easy! Well kind of!
The route picked up again (briefly) as I headed out of East Grinstead into a lovely rolling forest road. I was enjoying running along and making my way closer to the final destination. After about 45 miles of running I could feel my energy levels starting to drop and suddenly craved a coke and a snickers, the diet of a champion right there. Well I was in luck as there was a little corner shop ahead. I had my little snack on the side of the road before carrying on South East!
So turns out there is a reason to plan a route and that is so you don’t end up on a bloody duel carriage way. I started to run on the duel carriage way and then decided that was a stupid idea and that I didn’t want to die just yet. I hopped onto the grass and waded through the nettles, thorns and weeds for about 5 miles. Finally, a pavement appeared hurrah! I looked down at my legs and shoes and they were black from all of the exhaust fumes that were on the grass, how gross.
It was now 9pm and I was just outside of East Grinstead. I had 1hr and 20mins to make the train and was feeling a tad peckish. I called up the Pizza delivery man and asked if they could deliver a pizza and a piece of cheesecake to the station for me at 10pm, they happily obliged. As I got into the town centre I was greeted by a myriad of stag and hen dos and decided that I made the right call not to stay there for the night. I arrived at the train station at 10pm on the dot found my pizza delivery guy, legend, and hopped on the train. Perfect Timing!
It was a fun challenge although I would have found it a lot easier if I hadn’t pretended to be a turtle for the day and left my house at home. Carrying a 7kg backpack for fun on a 62 mile run is not the best idea I’ve ever had! I spent the train journey eating cheesecake with my hands as I had no spoon and trying to stay awake. I had the fear that I may fall asleep and end up in a train depot. Fear not this didn’t happen. Getting into the shower was a an emotional experience as my bag had rubbed and fat mans chafe had reached the next level. I am not sure if you have ever felt the pain of sweat running into a cut but good god it hurts!
I woke up on Sunday from a text from my flatmate saying ‘You better be sleeping or watching tv like a normal person!’. I was, I spent the day eating pancakes, watching the tennis and planning my next adventure!
If I had persisted with that stag do’s, deployed my house and stayed in Eastbourne for the night and turned right in the morning I would have stumbled across this…
It is nice to have an idea in the bag for next time! Who’s coming?