I must say I enjoyed The Druid Challenge at the weekend especially as it was my 250thULTRA-marathon. It gave me the opportunity of meeting up with a lot of clients both new and old as well as some very special friends that I’ve met and ran with over the years.
The event celebrated its 10th Anniversary in style and it’s amazing just how fast those 10 years have flashed by. I remember one lady runner from the first year that impressed me so much that I ended up marrying her but that’s another story. The chance to talk to the runners on the Saturday Evening, got me thinking about how much has changed not only over the past decade but also the twenty-five years I’ve been running off-road marathons and ultras.
As I put on my trail shoes, calf-guards, speedos, compression shorts, short-sleeved shirt, long-sleeved shirt, running-jacket, rucksack (packed with mobile, battery-pack, headphones, gels, energy-bars and a hat – I smiled thinking about the short-shorts and vest I wore in my first Ultra along the Grantham Canal back in 1995.
I ran that race marathon-hard on a very warm August Bank-Holiday without any of the above kit or supplies as I remember. There might have been some Soreen at some checkpoints and some Jelly Babies but it was a lifetime ago and the race has blurred now in my rear view mirrors. The feeling of accomplishment remains though – Races like Rowbotham’s Round Rotherham 50, The South Downs 80 & The Grand Union 145 are all deeply etched into my DNA having raced and given them my all.
In my opinion there’s nothing better than to have given your all. For instance, hitting the finish line after running the 55 miles from London to Brighton, (on the road) having run all the way is something I’ll never forget. Rocking backwards and forwards with my adrenaline still pumping and heart-beat throbbing was a wonderful feeling – those London to Brighton Medals (I did it three times) ers hard fought especially as you had to RUN the whole way and have a sub 3.30 marathon time even to qualify. Walk – and you were picked up by a minibus. I wonder how many modern-day ‘ULTRA-runners’ could manage that?
Did I run hard at Druid? I sure did, and I gave it everything I’d got which isn’t much post GBS I can tell you.
I believe if you are going to do something, be something or achieve greatness within – you have to live ‘The Dream’. I’ll be living ‘The Dream’ again tomorrow and will add more then.
1027 Marathons, 250 ULTRAS, 9 Guinness World Records & 15 Marathon des Sables