Turns out I had signed myself up to something quite ridiculous. We were going to attempt to run 90km a day for 20 days and on the final day compete in the Comrades Ultra Marathon. I was so bloody scared of what I had signed up to do but also intrigued to see how far my body could go.
After getting serious FOMO that pretty much all of my friends were doing the London Marathon (I have no idea why as I had done Brighton the weekend before) I started to search for a magical entry. Unfortunately I couldn’t trick anyone into giving me a place but I then stumbled across nohtaraM ehT. The Marathon just back to front, starting at the finish and finishing at the start. The instructions for the start were slightly ominous, meet at McDonald’s on the Strand at either 2am, 3am or 4am, don't worry there will be other runners there the posts said.
Sitting at home on a Thursday night Matt and I started to conjure up a plan to go and do a Microadventure. After a few ideas were thrown about we decided to go and attempt the Vanguard Way (VGW). This is a 66 mile long distance walking trail that goes from Croydon to Newhaven. The original plan was to do a bit of it on Friday night, wild camp and then carry on with the rest on Saturday.
The Haute Route is an alpine walking trail that runs from Chamonix to Zermatt, covers 180km and climbs 10,000m. It is usually takes 12 days to cover the route but we were going to see how far we could get in 5 days. Seven crazy fools had signed up to tackle this challenge all who had a varying levels of experience; Steven had cycled through Africa, Ross had completed the Ultra Trail Mont Blanc, Mountain Goat Maeve had just got back from running Scaffel Pike Marathon, Will is normally found smashing up the track with very fast 5000m races and Andrea and Tom AKA ‘The Heavies’ are Crossfit extraordinaires who were used to squatting mountains not climbing them. This was going to be a fun few days.
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!
On Friday someone at worked asked what I was up to on the weekend and it suddenly dawned on me that I had absolutely no plans. I had wanted to go on a little microadventure for a while and what a perfect opportunity to go on one! My first idea was to run to Paris but as it was already midday and I hadn’t packed any running kit and wasn’t sure that I could get the afternoon off work, run 50 miles to Brighton and make the 11pm ferry…I carried on thinking. I kept looking at my map and was trying to decide what to do when the Isle of Wight jumped out at me. I did a quick search as to the distance around the island, 70 Miles, perfect I could easily do that over a weekend. I booked a ferry went home and packed my bag for the weekends adventure.
The Comrades Marathon is an ultra marathon of approximately 89 km which is run annually in between Pietermaritzburg and Durban in South Africa. It is the world’s largest and oldest ultra marathon race with 20,000 people entered into this years race. The direction of the race alternates each year between the ‘up’ run starting from Durban and the ‘down’ run starting from Pietermaritzburg. This year I would be towing the line and attempting the Down run!
Fancy darting through Sherwood Forest as fast as possible whilst trying to read a map, firing bow and arrows and climbing up castle turrets then this race is for you!
Read my full write up of this adrenaline pumped and Red Bull infused orienteering race on Hard as Trail
After a summer of running around and up and down mountains in the Alps I got home and decided to look for an autumn marathon to run. Chester marathon caught my eye as a lovely marathon that started in a pretty historic town and then wound it’s way through scenic country lanes. With 7 weeks to go I signed up and started training. I also moved house and found a new running club to run with – Windsor Slough Eton & Hounslow (WSE&H). Conrad Milton took me under his wing and helped me with a marathon-training programme that would provide a much needed shock to the system. I instantly loved the WSE&H training sessions as the training group I was put in. I had a lovely group of girls to train with which was a welcomed change especially to Sunday long runs.