Pilgrim Challenge 02/02/2013

The alarm went off at 5.10 am and I slipped from bed already dressed. I quickly got my kit together and set off to catch the 309 to Bethnal green as the district line was down. I got to Morden really early and got a coffee and a pie from a newsagent. It seemed very cold in Morden I was quite frozen by the time I was actually due to meet sandy and Marie. The drive to Farnham was pretty short and we arrived at the place about an hour before the start. We had time for a couple of coffees and a 9 bar, and said hello to tom and Daniel and Simon. Who were also running it in preparation for the marathon de sables. I was wrapped up pretty warm for the start with a full set of thermals and big gloves and a big jacket and t shirt and jumper. We took a slightly different route to start as the North Downs Way was waterlogged. We started off pretty well and kept leapfrogging around tom's group and chatting to them. It turns out that we were on the easy part of the course. As it was quite flat and relatively mud free. As we moved into the second half of the course things changed significantly. We had to deal with 268 steps of Boxhill which caused Sandy a problem and then there was a lot of mud. My neoprene socks worked well though and I managed to get through the mud without falling over. It did slow us down a lot however and it proved tough on Sandyís knee which eventually gave out at about 25 miles and we had a very long walk in. It started to get dark and extremely cold I had all my kit on and my snood over my ears. But we made it to the school before it got really dark and celebrated with a couple of bottles. Tom and his team had arrived about half an hour early and had got a warm spot. I didn't realise till later that when I set up the new camp bed near the door that I had picked a very cold spot. We had dinner of Bolognese and crumble and custard which went down well and watched a couple of bits of rugby on the big screen, but we didn't stay for the motivational talk. Lights went out about 10pm and I got colder and colder eventually waking up with 5 tops on and with 2 coats draped over me. Not a great nightís sleep.
03/02/2013 Sunday
The lights went on at 6am we all got up and tucked into a breakfast of porridge, toast and bananas, and in my case a cup of lemsip as my throat was playing up. Luckily the lemsip seemed to do the trick and I wasn't bothered by my cold the whole day. The start was at 7am so we set off in darkness but without sandy whose knee had proved too painful to continue. It was cold the weather forecast said that it felt like -1. This proved useful as the muddy bits that had proved so difficult the night before proved much more negotiable so it seemed like we moved through them pretty rapidly, but our final time disagreed with that assessment, we were much quicker to stop and walk compared to the previous day and Tom was having some difficulty and was taking painkillers to cope. As it got light it proved to be a beautiful day on the north down's and I really quite enjoyed myself as the pace that Tom's team set was very comfortable for me. There was 4 check points again and we met a s1500 metre sprint champion who was in his 80's. The elite popped past us at quite a pace but it took longer for them to catch us than the day before so they must also have suffered a bit from the previous days effort. We met Simonís family at a point near the end and they revived Tom with some magic tea and he went on to drive the team to the line. I wanted to get there quickly as the watch battery was dying but it died within a mile of the finish. We got across the line ok, then Tom gave me and Daniel a lift to New Maldon where I caught the train into waterloo. I then had the hassle of carrying my bags from Bethnal green. But I picked up a stuffed crust pizza and some ice cream on the way.


8th Day UK