I took all my kit into work and changed at the end of the day to running gear. I met Sandy at waterloo and we caught an earlier train to Weymouth. It was very busy for the first stop and we had to sit on our bags but after that we got a seat. We took taxi to the ferry bridge Inn and checked in and prepared our kit then went downstairs for a couple of beers and diet cokes, which was part of my pre-race prep and it did seem to calm my nerves.
We woke slightly before the alarm at 8 am so we had both had a good night’s sleep. We nipped downstairs and had breakfast with the diving instructors. Then we just paid the bill and walked behind the marquee to register. Very easy. There was quite a long briefing then about an hours drive to the start. We talked to some of the other serious runners on the bus. We got to the start and set off just after 12. We were quite surprised to start off dry as the weather forecast had been looking really bad, but we didn't entirely escape rain and we could see that huge black clouds were behind us in front of us and out to sea. However we only got rained on a couple of times and not enough to drench us, my feet remained dry throughout the whole race which was a relief. We were joined at some points by a chap Andy knew called Paul who had a permanent limp because of no cartledge which sounded a bit painful. He was just catching up with us at the 2nd checkpoint where I sat in the back of the van while having a coffee while it chucked down for a minute or two. But we didn't really see him after that. We were running close to a man and an American woman who were running as a team, but apparently he lost part of his running shoe, so that must have been a big problem. We never saw them again. We were joined by an older chap who seemed to be constantly eating as we neared the end of the first marathon and got back to checkpoint 4 which was the start where our bags were. Sandy had pasta but I held off and set off a bit early instead from that checkpoint. The chap who was with us didn't keep up with us then. We had switched from a maximum run 2 miles then rest .2 to a run a maximum of 1 mile before a :2 rest and this worked well. Only problem was me losing my hat to the wind trying to pose for the photographer on Portland, but I retrieved it and caught up sandy. We nearly saw the other chap at the end of the island but he arrived just after we left. We ploughed on then back to checkpoint 6 at the Ferrybridge inn. Andy had started to have a problem with one of his legs being a bit tight from cramp but he seemed to be able to stretch it out successfully each time. When we got back to the marque i took on some pasta and then i changed into my big green jacket as it was much colder than expected. I thought it might have been a handicap but I was rarely warm even with it on so I had made the right choice. I was really glad I was running with sandy as he had a proper powerful head torch that illuminated the way well whereas my torch was more suited to emergencies. I was able to run with it low to the ground in my hand to give contrast to the terrain and be able to spot the bumps. Still without Sandy’s bright beam we would have come unstuck a few times, and it would have been very difficult for people who had not done the run before to navigate as it was pitch black a lot of the times as there was absolutely no moon. I did see quite a few shooting stars though.
Starting the night time section running through Weymouth was an easy introduction as it was fairly well lit going along the town and the beach where we overtook a guy and a girl. It got more difficult when we went off road to the amusement park. I nearly put my foot in a rabbit hole. But we got around the big bright hotel and then into real darkness, we managed with a bit of luck and the help of Sandy’s head torch and memory. Thinks also started to get a bit muddy and sticky and at times we were just slipping along the path making very slow progress trying to stay upright. We also started to hit the 3 amigos and we could see a large group of other runners glow sticks on the hill ahead of us sometimes they felt really close, sometimes far away. As we approached each hill there was a sense of trepidation followed by a sense of relief as you got to the top and it was over with followed by a moment of panic as you realised you had to get down the other side. Luckily it was not so wet that they were not manageable and you could get down then cautiously. We were somewhat closer together on the Oner as sandy had to be more cautious coming down the hills so didn't get as far ahead of me. Then all of a sudden we were on the downward path to Lulworth cove and the second marathon was over. Here we had a long stop and sat in the van for quite a while i struggled to eat but managed to get a sandwich down and some hot drinks. Sandy took a while to make up his powders. So we maybe rested for 20 mins or so. Unfortunately I felt a lot worse after the rest. One of my knees ached and my legs were stiff and I was quite cold. However after a brief waddle down to the beach the hill got me warmed up and the ache and stiffness disappeared.
Mud was again a problem, we slipped and thick stuff clogged our trainers and slowed us down.
We got to the very steep hill that had previously seen sandy crawl up it, but it was not too slippery and it actually seemed to help in the dark when you couldn't clearly make out the gradient or how far was still left to go, sandy did however need a breather at the top of it. But there was a sense of relief when we had passed it and the downhill. I had however forgotten about the sting in the tail before the next checkpoint. Just as you appear to get there the ground plunges down then up again with a hundred plus brutal steps to go down then to go back up again. With the end in sight I made it to the top without stopping. The checkpoint was a relief but not much of one as this one through some mishap was not so well stocked so I only had some coke to drink, also there was no van to shelter in so I soon got cold and had to move on.
It was pretty gruelling running around Swanage but at least the sun had some up and i was able to stow the head torch which I was grateful for but the going was very uneven and constantly our progress was blocked by styles which slowed us even further.
We got to the last checkpoint with the Liverpuddlian woman and her mate and luckily they had a milk shake left which i enjoyed and I walked on and was able to buy a yoghurt drink from a cafe that settled my stomach. Then the 3 folks caught us up, we pushed along the beach then walked up in land a bit before coming to the last hill. Sandy struggled on that hill big time; it took him quite a while to catch up so much so that I had got the phone out to phone him. He was however running when he appeared albeit slowly. this however was enough as when we got to the beach the folks ahead of us ground to a walk in the soft sand, we however thanks to sandy continued to run and overtook them all though we slowed to a walk again when we got round the headland and thought they wouldn’t tried to catch us, one chap was marching like a prisoner of war with his hands on his head and seemed to dazed to reply when I spoke to him.
We got to the finish and dibbed in Sandy went first but because he was first to dib at the start we later came out with the same time to the second. What a relief we got photographed and got our memento, and then collapsed to try and eat what we could. I tended to aches and got changed in the toilets. Then it was not long till the coach was taking us back to hq, then when we got there i just grabbed a cup of milk to settle my queasy stomach then we got bussed to the train station, it had started to chuck down properly now. We got on the train and it didn't take sandy long to nod off but i was unable to sleep. Sandy left at Clapham i carried on to waterloo and caught a taxi which unfortunately took about an hour and a half to get back to my flat and there was 50 quid on the meter. Luckily he only charged me 20. Up the stairs without too much problem and then off to sleep.