It was the 12th of January, snowing and I was sitting in bed
with a cold. What better thing to do than pack your gear,
head to Wendover and run to London along with 300 other eccentrics
including your wife. 45 miles of cross country bliss and a
day without children, could it get any better? Actually yes,
what other race starts with bacon rolls and a cup of tea? I'm
not sure I can remember being in a pub, teeming with such energy at
7:30 in the morning but then again if the night had been that good
I wouldn't have remembered!
These days one can't take these things too seriously, so starting at the very back of the field we ambled down Wendover high street to the first style - now it takes some time for 300 people to cross a style who all arrive at the same time. No worries, time to stretch, have a chat and ponder how the water will get out of your water proof shoes when they fill up from the top!
It's always nice to spend time with your wife, enjoying the countryside and the company of strangers with interesting stories about how they don't have heating and are using this as preparation for their run from Birmingham. Things didn't change much for the next 25 miles, run a bit, wade through some mud, have a chat, look at a map, wait at a stile and repeat. The weather did improve and at checkpoint 1 I discovered the best cake ever made which included some magical ingredients that I'm sure were designed to uplift one's spirits - the world took on a 60's glow!
Now there is nothing quite like a light Siberian breeze hitting you in the face for a day which contributed to the downside of the race when I failed to motivate Mrs G to go any further than the Marathon distance, which left me to go it alone. A stubborn one that Em but the look of grey disgust and inability to pose for the photographer meant we had failed on our mission of quality time together so I may as well punish myself a little! 75grams of carbs and 500ml of fluid per hour and the knowledge that if I get through the 30 mile point I had enough jelly snakes to get me home, not forgetting the joy of more cake at the next stop was plenty of motivation.
A Canal can be quite boring but not the Grand Union Canal, that has a few house boats, the occasional BMXer, water, footpath, disposed toilet, dead fish, misleading sign or two, tree, derelict property and at least 2 Sainsburys - now that beats seeing nothing swimming for the same amount of time any day! And then came the finish, at just over 8 hrs I crossed the line and went to the pub - beats a round of golf but not quite as good as an Ironman so I'd give the experience 6/10 but 10/10 for value - Race T shirt, medal, mysterious cake, gels, and 8 hrs of entertainment all for the bargain price of £40 odd quid - now that is a deal and better than anything I got in the post Christmas sales and it gave me an excuse to miss the Swimming Club's T30!
Jamie & Emma Goodhead