Please accept my apologies, I've neglected my blog for far too long. To be honest, there's not much to report between events. It's the usual story, not putting in the training then a suffer fest.
29th October - Jedburgh 3 Peaks. I took another Friday off work, this time to make my way to Jedburgh for the 3 peaks ultra marathon. You may recall - Lynne, Skye and I marshalled at this event last year, marshals are offered a place for the event a year after.
On the way down I passed the Eildons, the hill range the ultra is named after. They didn't look too bad, but they would give me a kick up the backside next day.
I arrived at the registration car park late afternoon and with nothing planned volunteered to help set up registration. I left at eight to make up drop bags and consume a fish supper. With no TV signal, I hit the sack, hoping for a good nights sleep.
At six my alarm went off, not long after Richard arrived after driving up from Leeds, a late entrant to the race. It was good to catch up with my WHW support runner before making our way to race briefing. It was short and straight to the point, basically "Don't be a dick".
The running field were taken to the start line across the road. A squirrel dancing to YMCA, backed up by a couple of unicorns ensured a warm up before starting the race. At eight we were off, running through the main street of Jedburgh which was closed by police.
It wasn't long before we were running into the borders countryside, bridges, streams, rivers, trails and woods. I settled into the run, not really knowing how to pace it or how I'd get on. I was wearing Hoka Speedgoat trail shoes, only their second outing. The trail was very muddy in places where the Speedgoats held up rather well. They weren't as sure footed as my Saucony Xodus trail shoes but they offered more cushioning for road sections.
Maxton, first (and fourth) checkpoint. All was going well, I downed a milk shake, can of coke, bag of crisps and a couple of mini rolls before being spotted by John and harassed to leave the checkpoint, old habits die hard. This next section quite literally blew me away, wooden walkways skirted the river tweed with sun kissed tree canopies of green through to gold reflected off the water. The trail followed the meandering river before skirting a golf course and making it's way to the hills.
Rhymers Stone, checkpoint two. Another milk shake, can of coke and bag of crisps before heading up. The first Eildon was steep, steeper than it looked from a distance. After eighteen miles and a lack of hill work I had to take a couple of breathers on the way up. The views were incredible on such a clear day, I paused at the top of all three peaks to soak up the view, and get my breath back.
Bowden, checkpoint three. Don't take things too seriously. After the hills we made our way to Bowden where Noanie and Angela had a special treat for runners. Tape guided runners into and onto the play park, a mini assault course allowed runners to stretch their muscles before sliding down the chute, a brilliant and bonkers addition to the race.
Now back to the Tweed and onto the riverside trail once more, the light changed, later in the day the scenery was even more picturesque, if that's possible. I decided I'm coming back, back to catch this magical glimpse of autumn.
Maxton, checkpoint four. I was pooped, with 10 miles to go. I sat down to drink a milk shake and coke, no food now. Lorna and John were having none of it, up I got and shuffled out of the checkpoint for the last stretch back to Jedburgh.
Even though we were returning on the same trail, it felt different, as if running it for the first time. My legs were sore and tired but I managed to run most of the way back. At the road crossing was a bonus watering station, with three miles to go a scoof of coke was just what I needed to get to the finish.
Down the leaf carpeted tree lined avenue I ran, back into Jedburgh, along the main street, up the grass bank and across the line, 8 hours 20 minutes after leaving. I was done in, I lay down on the grass to recover before making my way back to registration for coffee and soup.
Unfortunately I didn't make it to the bar that evening, after getting back to the camper it took me 3 hours to finish a bottle of beer and with no appetite I retired to bed missing the celebrations.
Now it's time to thank Angela and Noanie, for organising a race with passion and compassion, reminding us not to take things too seriously, and hosting an ultra in one of the most beautiful parts of Scotland. Thank you to the team of marshals and helpers, the amount of people willing to volunteer shows how popular this event is. Roll on next year, do I marshal or run? That's the question.
Week ending 9th Oct - Mon 3, Wed 3, Sat 6. Weekly total 12 miles.
Week ending 16th Oct - Wed 2, Sun 11. Weekly total 13 miles.
Week ending 23rd Oct - Mon 3, Wed 3, Sat 15. Weekly total 21 miles.
Week ending 30th Oct - Mon 3, Sat 38. Weekly total 41 miles.