This year saw Phil Box (aka morphman) an experienced ultra runner, Lee Riding and Nikki Reeves take part. This would be Lee & Nikki's first ultra marathon.
Lee took some time out to put together a report of the day. So, did he catch the train? Let's find out....
So 16 weeks of training had come to an end and race day had finally arrived, it was time to try and run 36 miles (or 37.7!)
It was great to arrive together with fellow Shabbas, Nikki and Morphman and the pouring down rain wasn't going to dampen our spirits. The main joke was of Morph's training or lack of it, plus Nikki's too due to injury.
The plan was to run together for the first lap - 9.5ish miles out and back around 10 minute miles. That didn't happen due to Nikki pacing us around 9.30 mm! But we felt good so went with it. By this time the rain had stopped and we didn't see much for the rest of the day resulting in muggy humid conditions, not ideal.
Nikki was clearly feeling her injury by the end of lap 1 and let me and Morph carry on, which we did at 9.30 mm pace. I don't really recall much of the second lap other than hitting the wall near the end around 18 miles. This really got to me mentally as I couldn't work out what was going wrong. Credit to morph he tried dragging me along but I think he realised I needed to re-evaluate tactics for getting through the second half of the race, so off he went.
I decided on a strategy of run/walk up to 0.7 of each mile then run the last 0. 3 this was a lot harder than it sounds and I remember seeing Nikki approach and she had a worried expression on her face, so I must have looked how I felt!
Starting the last lap seemed to invigorate me and I knew I was going to finish so I probably enjoyed the last few miles just as much as the first few. The intake of a dozen jelly babies, energy gels and wine gums were in full effect the next time I saw Nikki as I was high as a kite, which seemed to amuse her and her new friend she'd found!
Next I saw Morph who at this point had about 2 miles to go and he looked like me at mile 18! I shouted some encouragement and got a reply of "I'm really struggling" but he was still going and looking at a very good time, the guy is amazing!
The last 3 miles I started to pick up the pace and was feeling strong.
Approaching the finish Nikki and Morph had come to meet me which helped me put in a little sprint finish!
Sharing this experience with these two is something I'll never forget, 37.7 miles in under 7 hours and I'd enjoyed it... No cramp no blisters and all toe nails intact! Adidas Boost rule, sorry Nikki ;)
A special thanks to all who sponsored me too, managed to raise almost £500 for Bliss :) #shabba
Well done guys - as always, your Roving Reporter is massively proud of you - All Aboard the Ultra Train!!