‘The Wall’ Ultra 2012 – A review… the pain has diminished with time.

“I’m like a freight train, feeling no pain.” Ronnie James Dio

Got the finishers medal. Yup. Placed 189 but that really should have been 190 as a lad I’d met during the race, a certain Tom Coe, waited at the line for a couple of seconds to enable us to finish together. Tom – I can only apologise for giving the check-in girl my tag before you.

What’s to say about something like this? I should have put finger to key in the few days following the event but life has been a bit chaotic and there’s also been a trip to the Alps to negotiate. The best of times, the worst of times? Aye, that it was.

I still have no idea of what to write or in what order and I thought that that would come with time but it hasn’t. Rat Race, whilst charging a fair few bob for entry, put on a well organised event that gave everyone a great chance of getting to the finish line. Oh, the rain played havoc with flooding everywhere that weekend and yes the start was delayed but the course was marked well, the pitstops perfectly placed and the food laid on by Rat Race was, to me, unbelievable! At the end, both Tom and myself received Women’s size Large t-shirts and these were replaced instantly following emails from us both. I felt I had full value for my £150 or so and would heartily recommend their events.

The Highs.

From Vindolando to Hexham. I’d just had a decent refuel and short rest, the short and steep hill away from the Fort woke my legs up and I was away. Running in a way I never have before. It just felt ‘so’. I put the iPod on about then and a decent blend of rock, metal and dance to keep me moving, I really enjoyed this segment.

Cameraderie. Everyone was so friendly, encouraging and  positive. I ran at various times with others but some were always around like Mr Coe. When Tom came wandering into the drinkstop after Hexham, wearing all his clothing and still shivering whilst looking like death warmed up, I offered him the poles that were tucked into my pack as I wasn’t going to need them. In the end, I walked with him until he started to recover and his legs again gained energy and strength. I’d been going well at the time but I’ve always felt that you should treat others as you’d like to be treated and Tom didn’t need much, he was always going to win his battle with his personal wall but a bit of company never hurt anyone. We stuck together after that and there were times when both of us struggled and for me personally, whilst I know we’d have both finished – Tom made that last twenty miles bearable.

My dad. It was nice to spend some time just with him, he drove up from the south coast and was at the start, the finish and halfway. Thanks dad, you were brilliant and I love you lots.

The Low.

The pain. I ran pretty much to 43 miles but after that the pain in my Tibialis muscles, the cramp in them was beyond belief. I said to Tom at one point that it was the worst I’d ever experienced and when you’ve broken bones like I have, that’s saying something.

I got to see a part of the world I’d never been to before and some of the towns and villages are visually stunning. It was even odder to look at parts of the Wall and wonder why they were ever needed, I’ve just driven across western Europe and not even worried about borders. Some things change for the better.

There’s still lots that could be mentioned but Tom, my Dad and Rat Race have already been thanked.

There’s a big hole in my life now, it’s lost its focus. The downer happened in the Alps. Time to set some new goals.

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