Last Sunday was freezing cold, and I was beginning to panic about a long, cold marathon, yesterday was mild but it rained all day and I began to worry about over 5 hours of running in the rain. I was not filled with joy at the thought of leaving the house at 6am to drive down to the Tank Museum at Bovington - I was hugely grateful to be given a lift so all I had to do was relax and enjoy the ride, in the fog.
We arrived in good time, even after a McDonald's stop for coffee and loos, we parked the car within about 20 metres of the start, and went to use the loos in the restaurant of the Tank Museum (which looks awesome and well worth a visit) before returning to the start for the race briefing. There can't be many race briefings where you are told, 'If you see something that looks like a grenade don't pick it up because there is a good chance it is a grenade!'
|A little bit of mud to squelch through|
|The right stuff?|
At 20 miles crossed a road and I heard my name being called out and looked up to see a friend with his camera! He also had Haribos - what a legend! 20 miles in a WSR event means that you are at the Lovestation - plenty of food, drink and banter, I was famished - I stuffed my face and grabbed a handful of pretzels to take with me and we set off for the last 6 and a bit miles.
Quite a bit of this last section was the same as the bit of the first few miles, but in reverse. It took in the deep river we'd crossed. I decided that, as my feet were still fairly dry, I'd take the rickety bridge. It was considerably more rickety and my 2 running partners opted to run through the middle of the water. They told me that it was 'refreshing' and 'just what they needed' to wash the mud out of their shoes. I was not convinced. And I soon discovered that they were fibbing! We had 4 (or was it 5 or 6) more river crossings - and these did not have bridges. The water was really cold and deep!
Our conservative pace meant that we were still trotting along really happily, overtaking lots of people who were beginning to flag, and we still felt strong. Based on prior knowledge of the 'ish' nature of the length of a WSR marathon we got to 25 miles and were debating how much further we might have to run. We saw the '400m to go' sign (which has a history of being fairly randomly placed in the last mile of a race) and still did not really think that we could be near the end, as that would make it a marathon length marathon! But, along the path we went, crossed a road and there was the Tank Museum and the finish flags. It really was the finish line!
Thank you guys for the company (and the lift). https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/MrsBridgewater1