A week is a long time to sit staring at beautiful mountains that you’re not allowed to explore. Every fibre of your body screaming at how lucky you are to be there, and you should be making the most of it but your head is telling you to be calm, relax. You’ve got a long way to run at the weekend — almost twice as far as you’ve ever run before — enjoy the rest; you’ll need it.
Bearing all of this in mind I had spent a week in the fantastic youth hostel in Klosters with only light hiking and the occasional run to keep me sane. This meant I was wide awake and raring to go before my 4:15am alarm on race morning. The hostel owners (absolute saints that they were!) had got up even earlier to prepare breakfast for us runners and I managed to eat a fair bit, despite the nerves.
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A friend at work introduced me to this one, billed as a “demanding scenic route” with written route description, it was going to be completely new experience for me so I eagerly posted off my cheque (the only use my chequebook gets these days is these types of events) and awaited my confirmation.
This is a point-to-point run from Cold Christmas in Hertfordshire to Good Easter village in Essex, mostly across farm tracks, organised by Springfield Striders.
We’d had weeks of record rain and my regular running routes have been ankle-deep in water all year so it was a coin-toss to decide between trail shoes and waders. Luckily the week before the race the weather calmed down a bit, Noah stopped hammering his boat together, and trail shoes were back on!
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This race was going to be the first time I’d opted not to stay somewhere local before a marathon so I knew it was going to be an early start. In my usual OCD state I’d set out my race kit the night before and had my post-race bag (with a change of clothes and some food) already prepared. I made sure I got to bed early and didn’t struggle nearly as much as I was expecting to when the alarm went off at 5:30am and I jumped in the car at 6 to head to Eastbourne.
The organisers of Beachy don’t send out any chips or numbers in advance so you’ve got to get to the registration tent to get everything on the day (or the night before). After collecting all my stuff I met up with some of the BOSH team for a chat then made my way to the start line to be greeted by a massive scream and my sister running at me with her arms waving shouting “it’s my brother, it’s my brother!”. My parents had stayed at my sisters the night before the race and they’d all come to see me at the start line. It was fantastic to see them, I’ve never had a group of people to support me at a race. My dad was running the 10k, due to start 30 minutes after, so we wished each other luck, had our photo taken, and got ready for the off.
I’d been checking the weather forecast every day on the run up to the race and every time I checked it was completely different. Friday night’s forecast said prepare for gale-force winds and although we were sheltered by the school and first hill you could tell it was going to be evil.