I hadn`t really planned this one until Richard Boese brought it to my attention. I had run the 20 mile version in 2011 so to go back & finish the job was a major plus. I had planned to run a muddy Cross Country that day anyway so I guess all I changed was the pace & distance of the run…
We planned to set off as early as possible to make use of the daylight, so I collected Richard at 7.00am & set off towards the start at Leatherhead Leisure Centre, by the time we got kitted up and sorted & wander off to the starting hut & collected our numbers it was just after 8.10am. I caught up quickly with Rob Jones just before we set off – I knew I`d be seeing him fly past us later anyway.
The thing is with these LDWA runs is the instructions, well to be more precise the understanding of the instructions…
163559 From the pavilion entrance – facing the football pitch, TR twice to pass the pavilion on your R & tennis/netball courts on your L. At fence corner, TL to keep courts on your L. In 20Y, TR on tarmac path thru gap in treeline then TL along tarmac FP. When tarmac ends, TR on X-TK (FiPo:HAWK'S HILL). In 275Y, over railway, over water works drive & ahd across grassy area (short cutting BW). 0.4 Miles
160555 Join TK from your L & swing R uphill with young plantation on your L. Keep to the TK nearest the trees on your R to pass redundant gate on your L & immed FL. In 15Y join TK from your R (FiPo:YOUNG STREET). In 650Y, cross BUSY A246 WITH GREAT CARE & along drive opp which immed turns R past gate. 1.0 mile
See what I mean and not bad for just the first mile !!!
We agreed that we would do our own thing for the first few miles rather than following the runners around us so we could get used to these instructions. This seemed to work rather well and to be fair Richard did most of the map reading and I enjoyed the views..
This is the view we saw at around the 2 mile point – pretty awesome & made getting up early worthwhile.
Time & mile splits were really irrelevant as the terrain & conditions were never the same – we walked when we had to & ran when we could. Time just seemed to tick over. We covered the 1st 4 miles in just about a hour. Soon afterwards we had to go up `119` steps (I will take their word for this but there were quite a few). The 2nd hour came around just as quick as the 1st hour (8M) plus we were awarded with the first checkpoint – jaffa cakes & orange squash never tasted so good.
Just after this (& I could blame `Jaffa Cake Rush` - a little unknown medical condition that effects your eyesight) at the point…..“Keep ahd on BY for 540Y then (70Y after BY starts to descend steeply in sunken section) take the r of 2BWs either side of the BY. “ ………well I missed the “r “ (I guess like you did too) so we carried on down the North Downs Way for a few hundred yards – I do have to say it was one of the best trails to run down in the day but not only did we have to walk back up but I also took Richard & another group of runners with me – not a popular chap !!
Shortly afterwards we said farewells to the `20 mile` runners….
I think it was just before the 12 mile point Rob came skipping past, well maybe not skipping but making it look very easy and his 5 hr 50 min time backs that up...great running. (Rob`s Blog)
At around the 14 mile point (3.5 hrs in) we ran down this `driveway` and the Lady of end house were was working outside asked if we ran on the driveway (rather than the grass) – we replied we did as we love road. She also asked, after first asking how far we were running, if we were running for a cause – I replied “No, just fun” – well I don`t think could comprehend that response but wished us well anyway.
Soon afterwards – well I guess about 2 miles later – we came across the 2nd checkpoint (nice photo of me eating malt cake whilst Richard studies the map) – 4 hrs in. The next section from 16 – 21 we were climbing uphill – and even more stiles or as I become to dread (I mean loved) seeing “ST”on the instructions. Just after the 23 mile I found Richard asking a local for directions….or maybe asking him if his jokes were funnier than mine !! * (7 miles to go & 6 hrs in)
Shortly afterwards at around the 25 mile point the weather closed in as we almost started on this uphill section. Don’t just take my words for it….
138500 Cont steeply uphill on FP with wooden handrail & wire fence on your L. When handrail ends, up 2 steps & over ST. TR to shortly go up 51 more steps then cont ahd steeply uphill for further 20Y. TR along crossing TK (ie DO NOT go thru KG into wood ahd). Contour on open hillside with fence & wood on your L for 200Y then BL with FP thru gate. Up 4 steps then cross STEER'S FIELD keeping ahd on grassy TK going steeply uphill at first to leave via KG. 25.8 miles
“Steeply” is mentioned 3 times & “up / uphill” is mentioned 6 times !!! But we were awarded with `Checkpoint Charlie` - the last checkpoint but more importantly the checkpoint with the tea & coffee J (4 miles to go – 7 hrs)
We got going but we soon came up to the Tanners Youth Hostel (27 miles) where Richard became an Ultra runner – I shook his hand as we jogged along but we duly stopped for a second or two for a photo
The section from 28 to 28.5 was a bit tough as it was uphill & the very sticky mud (& I haven`t really mentioned the mud but it was everywhere in this mud – a complete mudfest). I lighten the mood by saying to Richard “28.5 miles in and we have finally broken the back of this run now” * At the 29 mile point we basically run the first mile backwards, we got back to the hut with I guess minutes to spare before it got dark.
Richard looking very pleased (& tired) with himself & rightly so.
Well done Richard, it was a pleasure to run with you in your 1st Ultra ………….you now have a 30 mile PB to beat.
We got back to the car & had a well-deserved coffee & `proper` food.
Official Report - LINK
Results / Pictures / Archive - LINK
Next up is the `Déjà vu` weekend – Pilgrims Challenge Weekend – and a chance to log even more hours along the North Downs Way…gosh this almost sounds like a plan.