Course: A point-to-point route through the countryside from Avebury to Streatley (For the history of the walk, click here)
Organisation and volunteers: Awesome
CPs: Described below.....and has a mythical CP that is often dreamed about by runners
Weather: Cold bitter wind @ 6 degs C going up to @12 degs C - cloudy and sunny at times, rainy sometimes too!
Start Time: 07:42 for me
Start Location: Overton Hill, past Marlborough
Views: Hills, countryside, pigs, more countryside views
Post Runner Recovery: Loads of different types of cakes, biscuits, crisps, fruit and tea
If you find navigational marathons difficult - this one is definitely easy navigation. Just follow the way markers that point towards the Ridgeway Byway.
In 2012, the Ridgeway 40 was evaluated by my Oxon 40 buddy, Michael (see http://www.walking100miles.blogspot.co.uk/2013/05/ridgeway-walk.html for his take on the Ridgeway and photos). After having been lost in so many trail events through mis-interpretation of the directions, Mike assured me
"it's almost all on the same path so the navigation required is minimal (which also makes it a bit boring at times), very few hills and almost no mud."
Those words...."minimal navigation".....sounded so enticing, my fingers could not help themselves and sent a quick email to the organisers if they would accept us (Ecuder and me). The response was:
"We think you are mad but you can enter. You will need to comply with the rules of the event--especially the checkpoint
revealed generous checkpoint times from CP5 onwards. But surely I should be able to make the earlier CPs easily?
At times we can believe we are superheros, anything is possible and I had to question was that the superhero head that I had on, or the realistic head? I've been told I tend to be in fairy land!!!
Reality check.....little navigation so perhaps little chance of getting lost, nice trail route......what did I have to fear???....
TG response: "Trevor thank you so much for my New Year's present. :-)" and I signed up.
Being a little paranoid, I printed off the route directions and maps for a bit of reassurance that if I did go wrong I'd have some chance of finding my way back to the path. Too many people have told me I'd never get lost, and I did....even on a marked marathon! (Modesto). Must be getting older.....
....but perhaps not much wiser, as I still ran around the house to prepare my kit and tyre until midnight.
This year I have changed my attitude towards getting up for an event. Usually I would get up 15 minutes to 1/2 an hour before we were due to leave and drive to the event to get there about 15 minutes before starting. Now-a-days I wake up an hour earlier to prepare my body for the onslaught and at the very least try to get the morning's abolutions done before the event.
Someone said there should be some doc leaves near the nettles, however with a cold cutting wind blowing through and time ticking on, decided it would be best to ignore the discomfort and get up the long starting hill that was calling.
It was a nobbly trail and Ecuder kept tugging back at me. Perhaps he wasn't in the mood for this either or perhaps my tired head was putting a negative spin. I needed to cast out the demons and comfort us with the knowledge there is a downhill. As runners, walkers and fetchies passed me at the start, I began to feel hot. Alas my hands had reynauds. Still the legs needed to be exposed as running when feeling hot slows me down. Due to numb hands, it took me nearly 10 minutes to undo the button and clasp of my trousers and when it came to the zip......well I ripped it off! (mental note do not use buttons and put a tab on the zip) Oh well will probably not need the trousers again for this time.
Finally I could begin to make some waves going down hill. I could hear a "yahoo" from Ecuder. Ecuder was happy now, we were motoring along and overtaking walkers. To further lift our spirits, Ecuder burst into song: "Take a chance, take a chance, take a chance on me......Gonna do my very best and it ain't no lie."
CP1 (@09:15): Was a water/squash stop. I was asked what I was doing. I said I was taking my tyre for a walk as the dog didn't want to come along!
CP2 (@10:00): Was a water/squash and orange stop.
CP3 (@11:30): As above. Tucked into one of the fish finger sandwiches I had prepared earlier on.
CP4 (@12:45): Lunch stop: Jam sandwiches, rice pudding and beer was on offer. Skipped the beer and went for the water.
CP5 (@13:45): As CP2
CP6 (@15:00): Runner's heaven stop: Cake, cake, cake, cake, cake - a cake tent in the middle of no where, with all types of cake!!! This is the type of CP that runners dream of on a training run. All were welcomed with "would you like a spot of tea love?" The tea/cake sirens were beckoning, luring all to stay. It was tough to not just sit down and call it a day. However the caffine in the tea hit the brain. I was awake and after 10 minutes of sampling cake and drinking tea, Ecuder nudged me to move back on to them rolling hills.
(Michael there are LOADS of hills in this event!)
CP7 - CP9: We could relax, as the cut off times were far more generous at this point......but whatever tea I had just drunk pushed me on and Ecuder was being unbelieveable awesome. There was now a group of us constantly overtaking each other. When we went up hills, walkers over took us. However come the down hill, we flew by overtaking back "the walkers". The final hill was a long glorious hill down back to Streatley Youth Hostel. Ecuder was gliding and I was running until we hit the final flat part. We were in Streatley with less than a mile to go. This was probably the only navigational part to be weary of. Thankfully there were plenty of walkers heading in the same direction to follow to the finish which welcomed us with cakes, fruit, biscuits, crisps and of course a spot of tea.
Event completed by @ 19:11. Estimated time for completion was 11:45, knocking off 1/2 an hour off my fastest 40 miler. Another PB in the bag for Ecuder!
Thank you to all the "tyred" and "drag" jokes from passing walkers/runners as well as the fabulous volunteers/marshals for being out there in that bitter wind and rain.