I turned up at a small village hall in Cuxton, Kent where there were a team of people scurrying around fixing tents, computers being connected and flags being raised. I walked in quietly and got dressed in my kit comprising my dear old Monkey Feet, a pair of Union Flag shorts and a light weight running jacket whilst the weather promised to be dry all day I put a pair of gloves and a Buff into my backpack along with a first aid kit and a litre of water.
The job of a course checker/marker and indeed Sweeper are self efficient as you are working before check points are prepared or, as a sweeper, when they are closing down so it is best to carry your own. So with a pre-run briefing from the Race and Course Directors I stepped on the start line just as the sun rose up in the east, a glorious start of a run over the Downs.
Without a blow by blow account of what happened on the course (not very much by the way) it has certainly taught me a lesson not to:
- Over estimate my fitness
- Under estimate the Downs again
Yes it was tough, the hills sharp, the mud gloopy in places and the trail hardened such that my Monkey Feet were not protecting my sole as best they can.
On the more optimistic front I certainly began to realise that I had missed my opportunities to be trotting over the various hills, alone with my thoughts, a map in hand and a beady eye on the horizon.
It is the day after the run now and I have a blackened toe nail (from a trip) and tired legs but I am so very happy that I was able to run 14 miles at my ultra pace with little problems after apart from a pang to get back out there again