Nothing great is easyCaptain Matthew Webb, first man to swim the English Channel
On Saturday 18th June my dad and I jumped into the car and drove to Denbies Wine Estate in Dorking so that I could run a 100 mile foot race over a one mile lap. That’s 100 laps in under 30 hours.
I arrived at about 7:30am so that I could register and get my timing chip. Then I checked out all the important stuff like where the toilets were and where I could store my bag so that I could access it easily during the race.
At the start of the race there was a mini camp site where everyone set up tents, but I just had my holdall in a black bin liner. Lots of people were doing the P12 and P24 challenge where they ran a mile on the hour every hour for either 12 hours or 24 hours. It was lovely as it gave the place a real festival vibe, especially over night.
The weather at the start was really hot and although the first thirty miles are normally quite comfortable, I was struggling with the heat a little bit. It was very much appreciated when the organizers cracked open the ice lollies.
The lap became very familiar and I found that I could walk the slight incline and then jog the downhill and the flat. This rhythm became really important as the night set in because it’s easy to start flagging.
During the night we had a massive electrical thunderstorm and it got a little bit scary as we ran out into the rain and thunder. It didn’t help that I was so tired I was starting to hallucinate. This can be a really scary experience, but I’m learning to push through and the sun coming up in the morning makes you feel so much better.
It was another warm morning and I had about 20 miles to go when the sun came up. By that time most people were doing the death march and I just had to dig deep and keep going.
Dad arrived with Noah when I had 11 miles to go so they went into Dorking for a little look around while I continue to stumble on.
Those last 10 miles were shocking and if it wasn’t for the wonderful volunteers on the checkpoint, I don’t imagine I would have made it. They cheered me on every time I passed them and it just lifted my spirits. The other people on the course were all shouting encouragement to each other too, and I could really feel the love.
At 11am Noah and dad came back and I asked them to walk the last lap with me. We marched around together and I crossed the line in 27 hours – it was roughly a ten minute PB.
At the end I literally fell over the line and was presented with my beautiful buckle (most 100 mile races have a belt buckle instead of a medal for finishers).
I was in a bit of a bad way when I got back to the car and I know I was smelling really bad! I buried myself under my dad’s coat and tried to close my eyes and ignore the pain as we travelled home.
Monday was a write off and I had to take a day off sick. Noah was worried that if I tried to drive in I might get lost on the way. My brain was so fuddled that I barely knew my name.
It’s now Wednesday and I’m still a bit stiff but I’m starting to feel more human and I’ve been into work and not done anything too stupid. The only problem is that when the pain begins to fade the need to sign up for another one returns. Should I?