London To Brighton Ultramarathon

Date: 30th September 2012 LOCATION: Blackheath,Bromley, Kent, North & South Downs, Brighton Weather: dry, very windy Terrain: Tarmac, bogs, gravel, grass Elevation: 4670ft Time: 13 – 13 1/3 hrs

This event is a totally new experience for me as you have to navigate your way from London Blackheath to Brighton with a OS 1:200 map.

Which is a big challenge as they are hard to read.

The race was also completed by a friend of mine Sam Wilson who was also raising awareness for BYB.

So Race day.

I got up at 3:15am and had already sorted my things the night before as to not be in a rush on race morning.

For breakfast I had a massive bowl on Muesli, Soya milk, bananas, macca powder, cocoa nibs and honey and a big carton of pure apple juice.

Went to meet Sam at the bus stop near my flat to get the bus to blackheath.

Got to the start location on Blackheath which was at the T.A centre, nice and warm with plenty of toilets, which is always handy on race morning.

Got registration done and did my last min race prep I also met Annie Foulds who is a friend of mine on Facebook who was doing the run to raise funds for Great Ormond Street Hospital. Such a great charity !!!!!

So as 6am drew closer we all made are way to the starting area, I must say it was rather cold but I knew it would not take long before I warmed up so I didn’t wear more than I thought I should do.

10,9,8,7,6,5,4,3,2,1 and we’re off !!!!!!

I started of at a good pace between 8:30-9-30 min/miles with the first section being a rather steep down hill, which as you may know is just as hard on the quads.

The field looked like it was a mixture of serious runners that had done races like this before and runners that were trying this out for the first time.

It was dark when we started and running through the streets while there quite is funs cause there is much less traffic.

The field started to spread out pretty much straight away with a few people running what must have been 6 min/miles.

As you know we had maps to guide us on out way.

Me and Sam went to run of part of the course about 15 days before the race, the aim was to follow the route that had been marked out for us on our OS maps..

We started off ok but got a bit confused rather a lot of the time.

It was good however that we recognized a lot of the course that we had completed before.

I realized about 30 mins into the race that I forgot to start my Garmin, in which it would tell me my pace, time,distance etc.  SILLY ME…

Got thought checkpoint 1 (10.5) miles in a good time and went straight through, no stopping for water or other fuels as I had a full water bladder in my rucksack.

I got into a good steady pace and continued this until the next checkpoint,

Checkpoint 1- (10.5 miles) cut off time – none Checkpoint 2 – (21 miles)  cut off time – 4hrs Checkpoint 3 – (29.5 miles) cut off time – 6hrs Checkpoint 4 – (38.8 miles) cut off time – 8 1/2hrs Checkpoint 5 – (48.7 miles) cut off time – 10 3/4hrs Finish (56 miles) cut off time – 13hrs

below you will find a link to my run

All was going really well and I was with a group of around 15-20 runners who were all working as a team to make sure we were going in the right direction.

The scenery was absolutely stunning, the course was very open running through lots of field and lots a stiles (my god there were a lot of them !!!!).

The stiles were a tricky part of the course in the fact that they stopped your running rhythm, but all the runners were in the same boat and all had to deal with it.

There were also parts of the course that were very boggy and you got ( from the knees down) covered in mud which was nice (NOT) and the water was pretty cold too.

There were also lots of parts of the course that were through low trees, sharp muddy descends, stinging nettles, bushes with lots of thorns on them.

So my legs  came out rather scathed, but when the adrenalin is pumping you don’t really feel it.

As I said all was going well and I was still with a group by the 4th checkpoint and making good time, I remember I  got to all the first 5 checkpoints within over 1hr left to the cut off.

It was about at the 41.5 mile mark that I decided enough was enough with a pain in my right foot that had been bugging me for about 8 miles now, so I stopped and the group I was with carried on.

I took my shoes off to find the very early signs of trench foot, I tried to put on another blister patch on my foot but it wouldn’t stick because of the dampness of my foot, so I just taped it on with blister tape and put a fresh pair of socks on and my shoes back on and carried on route.

During the time I had stopped no one had passed me.

I got to a pub called the Sloop Inn and was very kindly told by group of walkers that the runners had gone a certain way.

I followed their direction and went on route.

For the next 6-9 miles or so I went completely off course. It took a while for me to work out what road to take when I got to one.

I eventually got to Mill lane which was about 47 mile in (If you followed the course) so for me I was at mile 57 ish.

From here on in was a very painful part of the run I got to the last checkpoint which for me must have been 58.9 miles rather than 48.7 miles.

So I was in lots of pain and there was apparently less than 10 miles to go.

I went through a big field and got crossed the B2116 and this was the start of the most painful part of the course BLACK CAP, a part of the the course from what I heard later is a part that no one has ever run up before .

The terrain with a white clay path with very a big rocks making it very hard to run and even walk.

The journey to the top of Blackcap was a very painful one !!!!!!.

And when at the top I was greeted with a very strong side wind which was hard to run on to.

From now until the finish at Marina Way Brighton I just kept my head down and just kept saying to myself and out loud “No Pain” No Pain” “No Pain” !!!!!!!!!!!.

It was a very painful last part of the run a pain that I a never experienced before.

But it was less painful to run at a fast pace than to walk.

Some of my min/miles up to the point that I knew I wasn’t going to get to the finish before the cut off were around 8 mins.

The feeling that you aren’t going to make the cut off time is a hard pill to swallow but to carry on and finish I a good time considering I got very lost was a great achievement.

I believe that had I stuck with the group I was running with and stayed on the right course I would have finished In under 12 hrs.

My mileage was for the run was around 67miles and my time was 13 – 13 1/2 hrs.

I’m very happy with the fact that I kept going through so much pain in the last 10 miles.