The plan was similar to last weekend, with back-to-back 40 mile Ultra Sat / Marathon Sun again, hopefully without getting lost. Well, the short version: mission accomplished and in a faster time than last weekend’s effort too. I had a fantastic couple of days!
The start was at Overton Hill in Wiltshire. It seemed to be bright but very cold. However, within a few minutes of starting, I had stripped off to my VRUK vest as it was rather warm after all. The Ridgeway 40 does what it says on the tin – 40 miles along the Ridgeway, which is a sign-posted byway stretching across the countryside over undulating but not-too-hilly terrain. The track underfoot was a bit tough at times, but I’ve run on far worse surfaces (see Thames Trot!). It was a lovely course and I felt very strong throughout. I had planned to walk the ups and jog the flats and downs. As it turned out, I also jogged a lot of the gentle uphill inclines too, which I was pleased with. There were 9 checkpoints, spaced from 2 to 7 miles apart, where we had to get checked in and could restock on water and nibbles. At mile 28 they had homemade vegan malt loaf – it tasted fabulous! I spent most of the time chatting to various other runners on the route. There was a final climb after the last checkpoint, then the last 3 miles or so came back downhill in a very welcome fashion (you can see the last hill in the background of the photo). There was however the steep driveway up to the YHA to negotiate (also in the pic – I’m about to head up it), to get to the finish check in – that seemed a little unfair after 40 miles!
I was more than happy with my time of 7 hours 10 minutes. As it wasn’t officially a race, positions don’t count here, but I think I finished second or third female.
On Sunday was the Halstead Marathon, a road race in Essex. A couple of runners said they were in VRUK too, but they weren’t wearing vests and I didn’t get their names.(Nor have they put down VRUK as their club or sent me their results, so I am not sure who they might have been either – Ed). I was expecting my legs to start complaining at some point, but I felt great again, though a bit tired. I chatted away with other runners most of the way again and was very pleased to finish with a time of 4:20:36. Job done.
Rather terrifyingly she adds,
…more next weekend (but it’ll only be one marathon, no ultra this time)…