Along with setting up my own business over the summer, I have started my long road to Ironman Austria (why of course, why wouldn’t I do these 2 thing at the same time ?). I say I’ve started because everything between now and June 2015 builds to THAT race but really my focus for training right now is a running event at the end of November and a swimming camp at the beginning of December.
Along the way, I’ve planned some fun things to take part in, and one of those ‘fun’ things was running one of the 17 stages in the Round Norfolk Relay (http://www.roundnorfolkrelay.com/). It does exactly what it says on the tin, a 24 hours, 17 stage running event which starts and finishes in Kings Lynn, following the entire Norfolk border and you need to safely carry a baton through it all :-).
This was my first year getting involved and when I put my hand up in May to the Garden City Runners’ team captain to say ‘yes I’m in’ it sounded so far away and, of course the training would have been done and of course, a 4.30am start time would not be a problem ! As the day of the event came closer I realised that I hadn’t really thought this one through, surprise, surprise and suddenly it occurred to me what all of this meant – logistics !
A few things I needed to consider :
- Stages did not start and finish at the same place, so how was I going to get my car ? My stage was the 7.27 miles from RAF Feltwell (somewhere between Thetford and Downham Market on the map above) to Wissington and in the middle of nowhere.
- I had also volunteered to cycle with the last few runners, how was I going to get my bike to where it is needed ?
- What do you eat when you are due to run 7.27 miles at 4.30am ?
- What happens if you take a wrong turn and end up in a field with no-one else ?
As it turned out, a knight in shining armour decided to come along with me and all of the logistics were in place – but what do they say, all the best laid plans ? Hmmm enough said I think on that one.
The weekend came and as the team got under way along the coastal sections, I started to get the buzz of race-day ! I think that was a lot to do with the unknown and how was it going to all unfold. I was also getting updates along the way from Sean, team captain and it was good to hear all the news and see all of the photos – couldn’t wait to get out there and take part.
After spending a restless few hours sleeping in a tent in the pouring rain in Kings Lynn, the alarm went off at 2.45am and we headed to my handover point. By now the team was ahead of schedule and I was due to head off at 4.15am, so on arrival at Feltwell it was a quick warm up, a flashing beacon and ‘caution runners’ sign attached to the car, the required ‘stage start’ photo was taken and I was gone…….. into the night !!
If anyone hasn’t run in the middle of the night, you have to try it ! Now I don’t mean 6am or midnight, I mean the darkest part of the night ! After the wonderfully bright full moon of the previous week, there was a tiny crescent moon, no street lights and very little shades of darkness out there, and for Little miss clumsy here, that meant 100% concentration – no admiring the stars in the bright sky – just focusing on the road in front. A little hic-up with the support car aside (what happens in the depths of Norfolk, stays in the depths of Norfolk right ?), the run was amazing, I loved it ! Something about not having massive crowds at a race, but knowing there are other crazy people around you, waiting for car lights to appear / disappear, not being able to see your garmin so having no real idea how far you have run or how fast….. something very special about that and goes on my ‘hardcore’ list 🙂
My stage was over so quickly, felt like about 10 mins but no, I wasn’t that quick – 40 seconds ahead of my prediction and the baton was passed on to my team-mate, who was off on his 10.5 mile stage.
The rest of the race went off very smoothly – a little supporting bike ride, a dramatic sunrise and a yummy breakfast after it all was done !
A great weekend ! Next year ? Why of course, you don’t really need to ask do you? But a little note to team captain, please something in the day light would be preferrable next time !!
Live life loud
Age Group girl