Written by Sharon Wells - https://shazruns.wordpress.com

Well it all is a blur now. Last night  I completed the 100k Jurassic Coast Ultra (61 miles according to Garmin), never at any point did I think ‘I’m a knackered runner get me out of here’ and I didn’t fall over so I think I can count this as a success.

Friday night hubby took me to Exmouth to catch the coach to the start. We sat in the car waiting for it to arrive. There was a gaggle of Hi Vis bodies loitering nearby, eating Pizza and watering a tree! I scanned the group. Not too many beards, that’s good (FYI serious ultrarunners all have beards-fact) but hang on a minute I can only see a couple of females, oh dear and not a white hair in sight on anyone. At this point I could have run for the hills. Shaz what have you done? Whatever were you  thinking? You are out of your league with this one? ****!

I slithered reluctantly from the car and boarded the bus, shut my eyes and got some kip.

On I arrival, I peed, registered, listened to the pre run briefing and peed again. 2:07 we were off.

Obviously it was dark and the trouble with that is you can’t see anything and I find this means I listen to my body’s complaints. Oh my did it complain. The right Achilles spent most of the first 10 miles moaning. It kept ouching and I persistently told it to shut up and then it would behave and the knee would start. I settled in to a nice rhythm behind a gentleman who was running a consistent pace. I am sure this was really annoying for him, but it was working for me and the group behind me. This lasted for about 4 miles until he needed a comfort break, slightly embarrassing when I almost followed him!

I was very glad when the sun started to make an appearance

Not sure what the sunrise was like after this, which is the trouble with running West in the morning!

The first part was pretty much flat, but some of the terrain was tough, slippery wooden bridges, narrow paths, tufted grass and then we came to the shingle beach………..

1 mile of this, tough but actually gave my legs a break as only walking was possible. Please note, not a soul out there, spent most of the 100k unable to see any other participator! This was at a quarter the way through, then the hills started to come, with the hills comes the scenery

The way Forward

Looking back

Down to West Bay (Broadchurch)

Then it got tougher

Yep up and over this one!

Finally at Golden Cap the highest point on the South West Coast, but surprisingly not the hardest hill! Still can’t work out why this is! Fantastic view, but unfortunately, I thought it was drop down from here in to Charmouth then Lyme Regis just beyond. It seems not some blaggard had moved Charmouth 5 miles away! Nooooooooooo.

Finally I was at Charmouth, from here a mile on the beach on these

not sure how I got to the end of this section with my ankles still in one piece. Madam joined me on this stretch for a bit which was such a boost. Half way mark on schedule ish at 6.45 hours. Here I changed my shoes and more importantly my socks. Grabbed some food, a coke and then headed off towards Seaton.

The next 7 miles were on the undercliff, I did not enjoy this part at all, mud, tree roots, hills, steps, humid and airless among the mini tropical rain forest! In a minute I will be at the golf club I kept saying to myself! Finally after what seemed like hours and yes probably was I got to the Golf Club and as I crossed the course I prayed I would not get taken out by a rogue Golf ball! That would be my luck, survive the undercliff get killed by some one in check trousers!

As I dropped down in to Seaton hubby drove by, he had been loitering in a lay by. (I’m sure there is a law against that) More fuel taken, and off I trotted to meet my hero and new best friend who had foolishly volunteered to run the rest of the course with me! Such a lift to see him oh and to use the loo and pop some painkillers.

Then off we plodded, my new running buddy and I. The trouble about the last part is we knew what was to come, the positive part was we knew what was to come! So passed the next few hours, up and down to Beer, up, along and down to Branscombe, up and down to Weston beach and then up and down to Salcombe Regis, before dropping in to Sidmouth where I was thrilled to see my Metafit instructor, friend, fitness guru and sports massager! With her lovely black lab Indy. 75K done.

On we plodded my companions and I, chatting. I’m not 100% certain I was making any sense! The hard part was over now, just a mere matter of getting to the end, and trying to fuel. I was incapable of eating anything so relied on gels and masses of water and coke to get them down, far from ideal.

Next stop Budleigh Salterton, my poor family had spent hours in this car park, poor hubby he was with Madam who had no 3G signal! I am surprised he didn’t throw her in the sea with some rocks for company!

Now I knew I could get to the end, 10k to go, but not going to lie, everything hurt, especially my knees when on stony terrain, much walking done, every hill sapped my energy. I willed the Geoneedle to appear and finally it did. We dropped down on to the Seafront, Madam joined us for the last 1 mile. The wind picked up, blowing against us, I wanted to walk, but refused to be seen struggling, where is the finish?

Finally I was there. 61 miles done. I was greeted and congratulated by the organiser, I apologised for my sweaty snotty hand shake and hoped he had some hand sanitizer nearby! I sat letting it sink in. I felt rough. I wanted to cry but absolutely no energy left even to do this. I gave my hero a big sweaty hug, thanked his wife for the loan of him and sat some more.

So I got the Tshirt-very nice it is too

It is starting to sink in that this was an accomplishment, especially when I have just read that out of 200 entries 157 turned up (walkers started 10 pm Friday night) 7 of them were part of a relay team. 95 got to the end! I was one of those. Wow

A well run, organised event by Climb South West, it must be a logistical nightmare but all ran smoothly. Checkpoints full of friendly marshals who filled my pack and tried to feed me. Well done to the organisers.

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