So the Wilmot Wander wasn’t a one-off, I feel slightly less like a fraud when I call myself an ultra-runner with having made it to the finish line of the Dukeries 40 yesterday! Can’t say that it was my finest day of running but I’m extremely pleased to have toughed it out and finished.
I do think I have figured out the best way to calm pre-race jitters! My friend Nicole (who also was the one who talked me into this madness and gifted me with entry into the Dukeries) had volunteered to arrive early and help out as needed so instead of sitting around I decided to do so as well. We were put on car park marshalling duties and had lots of fun donning the high-vis and directing the other runners where to park up. Totally took my mind off the craziness of daring to attempt to run 40 miles!
The event itself is both somewhat a blur and very clear…I’m not sure that makes any sense but it’s the way my crazy brain is processing it. The scenery was gorgeous, we ran through Sherwood Pines, Clumber Park, Creswell Crags, rapeseed fields, a handful of villages, and the same water crossing at just after the first mile as the Dukeries 10 (a bit naughty that!).
So to continue, here are a few of my random thoughts about yesterday aka I kind of lost the plot when it came to writing the race report!
GOOD: Ronnie/HOBO Pace puts on a top-notch event. Laid back but some of the best bling with a bespoke medal and a race vest that actually fits. Also the best ever pre-race briefings!
GOOD: Gorgeous route through forests
BAD: Having to find a tree/trees to hide behind when you need a loo stop. Which I had to do FIVE freaking times starting at around mile 6.
GOOD: Absolutely fantastic volunteers, one of which sorted me out with kitchen roll to stop the very impressive bleeding I had on my legs from bramble scratches due to the first dive into the woods and she made sure to check on me again with the 2nd stop at the aid station.
BAD: I managed to get bramble scratches on my bum as well as my legs, OWIE!
GOOD: Well stocked aid stations with jam and peanut butter sandwiches, the usual fare of jelly bellys and biscuits as well as savoury in the form of Hula Hoops crisps. There was also water, squash, coffee, and coca-cola available. The latter is what saved me, it was the only drink that I could manage to get down after the 3rd trip to the woods.
GOOD: The other runners, lots of chit-chat and encouragement.
BAD: The field thinned out somewhat after the 30 milers split off so there were some long solo sections which in hindsight was not so bad because it offered a bit more privacy in my gut-wrenching (literally) and mardy moments.
GOOD: Beautiful sunny day.
BAD: A little bit of sunburn on my shoulders!
GOOD: The ever-changing scenery kept things interesting
BAD: A wee bit too much tarmac to suit me for that distance.
GOOD: A (mostly) very well-marked course with the tape and the hot pink spray painted dots and arrows.
BAD: There were a handful of places that could have done with one of the pink arrows. On one of them a group of cyclists saved me from going the wrong way and out of a mess of nettles that another runner ended up in. Some of us are a bit more directionally challenged than others 😦
GOOD: The First Aid Responders on cycles were very friendly and took the time to encourage the runners and ask if we were ok.
BAD: My right calf tightened up just before the first aid station and it made running slightly uncomfortable (understatement) on the areas with uneven ground.
BAD: Getting a rock in my shoe and when I stopped to remove it I re-laced my trainer too tight which has left me with a very sore spot on the top of my left foot (total rookie mistake).
GOOD: The other runners giving encouragement during the last few miles as we made our way to the finish.
GOOD: THE FINISH LINE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
GOOD: The blissful cup of tea after I hobbled my way over the finish line
THE BEST: The support of my running club mates. Priceless. But now we need a mascot!
Well done to Andrew, Nicole, Caz, Ian, Lora, Daniel, and Richard, my clubmates who also ran the Dukeries 30 and 40 yesterday!!!!
The boring stuff: 40.7 miles in 7:32:58