Raw Food Aids Running in USA 50K

Ed: Cedric & Helen report on there adventure to the Woodstock Fruit Festival, New York

Cedric and I have just returned from the Woodstock Fruit Festival, held near Woodstock, New York. This was the first year the festival has been held and brought together people from around the world who are interested in the ‘Low Fat Raw Vegan lifestyle’. The pioneer of this movement is Dr Doug Graham who wrote the book ‘The 80/10/10 diet’ which is an amazing book and has all the answers regarding this way of living. Cedric and I have began eating predominantly raw for about 2 years and since reading ’80/10/10′ and adopting this way of eating our running has improved immensely.

While we were at the Fruit Festival, there was a variety of races planned from 10km, half marathon, marathon and 50km ultra. In the weeks before we left, I’d planned and trained for the ultra, however we went over to the USA a week before the festival and with all the travelling round etc we didn’t manage any running at all. I didn’t even do any running in the week before the race, but I did take part in ‘Dr Doug’s exercise class every morning which was tough!

On the morning of the race I was thinking of doing the half marathon race instead. The route was actually a 1mile lap around the retreat, which I initially thought would be really boring an monotonous, but it turned out to be perfect!

Everyone started at the same time with the proviso from the organiser to push yourself to the limit, the motto being ‘you’re faster than you think you are, you can run further than you think you can!’ The organiser was Michael Arnstein also know as ‘The Fruitarian’ who is an experienced ’80/10/10′ ultra marathon runner, just days before he had run a 100mile race in Colorado. Michael is one of the USA’s top ultra runners and has won many ultras in the past on a fruit based diet.

I set off thinking I’d do the half marathon as it was also a very hilly course. The first half a mile was gradually up hill, with the final 100meters being pretty steep, then it levelled out with a bit more ascent, then the final 200meters went downhill to complete the mile lap. There was a water station with plenty of fruit, watermelon, dates etc and friendly cheer, however you then had to encounter the same steep hills every mile.

After a few laps I found myself running with a lady called Janette Murray-Wakelin, 62, who in the year 2000 had run with her partner, Alan, 66, the whole length of New Zealand in 50marathons in 50 days. We ran a few laps together before she made a stop to sort out her shoes. I was beginning to get lapped now by runners doing the 10km race, but I didn’t mind it was great to see the other runners, each with their own goal in mind. Cedric also lapped me and when I said I was thinking of doing the ‘half’ he said I should go for the ‘ultra’. A few laps later, I caught up with Janette’s husband Alan. He was planning to do the marathon, as in 2013 they are running around Australia in 365 marathons in 365days, so this was just another training run for him. We settled into a really good pace together and he had many many stories to tell me, the time just flew by. By this time, we’d somehow managed to talk each other into going for the ultra distance and settled into a good rhythm of walking the steep 100meters of the lap but running the rest. We stopped at the end of each lap to re-fuel with dates and water before the headed off on another lap. Cedric sadly had to pull out after 20miles due to a glute injury. There was gradually less and less people running the race as the hours went by, but as we where running around the retreat, there where always plenty of people shouting encouraging words to help keep us going.

We where half way round the final loop when my Garmin showed 50km, but we had to finish the lap to register the chip time. Then 50meters before the finish line we saw a deer about 5 meters from us at the side of the track, so stopped to admire her. When we crossed the line it was about 51km, but the official chip time was:

50km Helen Watkinson United Kingdom 6:20:00

And I was the 1st lady across the finish line of the 50km!!!! It was such an enjoyable race, great food station and encouragement even if it was a tough course!