This challenge by Big Bear Events gave away the majority of places for keyworkers as a thank you – a wonderful idea, and I was pleased I managed to get in a general entry space. It was a spur of the moment booking for me… no real plan.
Having done Silverstone just a few days earlier I wasn’t sure how far I’d go. The laps are 5.3k each.
Salcey is such a gorgeous venue, when I got there I thought I’d try for half again. But in my head I was like… I’d love to do 5 laps as that would be my furthest at a Big Bear event, and 25k would be a good test to see if a very slow and steady approach would be quick enough for the cut off times for an event next year.
Registration was as slick as ever and I placed myself right at the back. Nordic walking and running mixed was my plan for the day.
After 2 laps I took my coat off! It was such lovely weather for the time of year, and I could already feel it in my feet. My goal of 4 or 5 laps felt so far away. But I wasn’t going to give up until I had to.
I took my time after each lap at the aid station- nibbling on chocolate stars and chatting, and having a rest before the next lap. My splits show I generally took a 10-15 min break (with loo, aid station or car stops after each one).
I remember on lap 3 thinking – I’ll be lucky to get to 4, I really will.
4 came and went! My feet were starting to become sore with my joint issues so I stopped for a little longer to change in to different shoes (I changed to some cushy road shoes – Brooks Adrenaline 20) – this always helps give me a weird psychological boost! I ate pizza, chugged some squash and took some dark chocolate for the road.
Lap 5… every step now was the furthest I had been at a 6hr event, and the furthest at any event since my injury. I have only been further twice – Shine Walk 2018 (marathon walk) and MK24 in 2019 (50- something km over a 24hr period- not all In one go).
Every step I was feeling more and more proud. I got back to the aid station and I had enough time for one more lap. I enquired how many people were left on the course… if I went again, could I get last one standing?
Not knowing if anyone else would set off again, I went for it. I might not get it, there might be someone behind me, but if there is? I’d still be damn proud of doing 6 laps.
I ran… no-one overtook me. Ah well, I must not have been the last guy. Until… I realised I was! I didn’t go the furthest, I wasn’t the fastest, but I gave the race everything.
31.8km (33 if you count my trips to the loo and car – I do haha). I couldn’t be happier.
The organisation, volunteers, other runners, aid station and support were absolutely fabulous as always.
What a day!