Trail Walker 17/07/2009
17/07/2009 FridayOff with big bag to meeting at tavistock house. Then had to carry it back to Sanctuary buildings. Left work at 4pm and caught the train down to guildford from waterloo, met Marcus on guildford platform and walked back to his place were Nick, Graham and Ian gradually arrived, we loaded all our kit in Marcus's large car and we set off for the campsite at the queen Elizabeth country park, just stopping on the way to get some beer.
We pitched the tent quite quickly with 5 of us but it took a bit longer to get registered and get our race chips checked. After that the queue for food had gone down and we had a meal in the mess tent after that it was back to the tent and try to get some sleep, I was partially successful using my ipod to drown out some of the snoring.
18/07/2009 SaturdayAwoke just before 6pm and we got our act together and headed off to breakfast, however we weren't quite quick enough to make it to the start line on time, we heard the start and the bagpipes, but we actually passed the line on our own about 5 minutes past seven we gradually managed to catch folks up and overtake them though. Whilst Ian packed up the remainder of our kit and bundled it into the car to head to the second checkpoint. It was 9.6 km to the first checkpoint and at the Checkpoint there was quite a long queue of people waiting to go through the checkpoint.
As we knew Ian couldn't meet us at that checkpoint we just grabbed a drink and an energy bar and counted the time we had spent in the queue as part of our rest. The weather was still very good at this point and we were moving very nicely, the overall pace of the walkers around us was pretty high and this pulled us along, we saw some smurfs at this checkpoint who were later to dog our footsteps through the race. 10.4 km then to the next checkpoint and at the second checkpoint Ian was waiting with the Car and the kit we took our seats and refueled on liquid and solids and myself and nick shared a bottle of beer as the sun was above the yardarm. 8.3 km more and at the third checkpoint we had a less than salubrious pitch amongst cow dung but the seats were still very much appreciated. We had some sandwiches made by Karen Marcus's wife. There was a gap here when we had no support as the crews switched over, we just sat on a bank for a rest then ploughed on into the countryside. Did however meet Tom Griggs at this checkpoint who was supporting another team, unfortunately they paid for their early pace as only one of their team finished. 9.3 km further then at the next checkpoint we were met by Hywel and Meinwen who had the cooker out and provided us with a pasta meal that was very welcome, and stocked us up with bars and fluids. Graham and Nick had massages then unfortunately it started to rain as we were in the checkpoint and I broke out the poncho. It didn't however last long after we set off. The next leg was one of the longest at 12.5 km and it took it's toll. This was another stop in the daylight and I had a bit of a lie down and raised my legs a bit. Luckily this was a preventative measure as I had no real problems unlike the others who were suffering with blisters and various aches by this point. Again we we plagued a bit by rain at the checkpoint, but not enough to make me switch out of my lightweight running trousers. So we picked up our headtorches and reflective jackets and set off, it gradually got dark over the 10 km to the next stop and we were escorted by a bat at some point. We found ourselves at checkpoint 6 and pushed on the further 9.4 km to checkpoint 7 which saw us get a meal from the ghurkas which was very well received, I also met Rachael from 8thday who was on the race, she seemed in very good spirits perhaps in part due to an extensive drug regime, was nice to see a friendly face and took my mind of my tiredness for a while as we chatted over the ghurka meal. I was a little worried as I got quite cold going towards the car all of a sudden so I added another layer and switched to my waterproof trousers before setting off again into the night.
19/07/2009 SundayStage 8 to checkpoint 8 was a mercifully short 6.9 km long and ended at a familiar point of the jack and jill windmill. Saw Rachael again just as we were leaving this checkpoint who was still in high spirits. Stage 9 was a long one 12.5 km. We saw quite a lot of folks taking shortcuts but we resisted the temptation to do the same as there was not much point in doing less than 100 km, and the gps watch wouldn't lie. Met Rachael and her team again on the move this time they were easy to spot as they all had matching shiny knees. Gradually the sky brightened about 4.30 am and we removed our headtorchs, not that it made much difference to grahams headtorch which seemed a bit week. At the next checkpoint we were greeted with a nice bowl of porridge which was very welcome and thankfully Hywel had managed to charge my phone battery from the car and I was back tweeting and texting. The final checkpoint checkpoint 10 we just touched base at, there was no opportunity for the support crew to get at the point and graham was worried he would stiffen up if he stopped again, so I just grabbed a cup of tea and carried on. By this time I was not feeling tired as such but my brain did feel like it was trying to go to sleep when I closed my eyes and I was worried a bit that I might fall over by just falling asleep on my feet, but I found a nice hill and powered up it and that bit of effort seemed to dispel the feelings. We plodded on and on , the 5.8 km on this stretch seemed really long and we eventually found the racecourse which contained the finish line. Even close to the finish line we saw the smurfs, but we managed to keep ahead and beat them and the bear and bananas. The line was a very welcome sight and we got our photos taken across the line and we received our medals and got further pictures taken on the podium. We popped into the center then and I got my hands on a curry and spotted Rachael who had completed the race with her team in 23.15 which was an excellent time. As we were sitting at the table and Marcus was drifting into sleep it started to really hammer it down outside. So we were lucky to finish when we did. A bit of a squeeze then to get us all in the car and the chaps dropped me at Brighton station and I got straight on a train to Victoria were I caught a cab, was an effort not to fall asleep on the train. Had a nice Chinese after a bit of a kip to aid recovery.