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Jul 02

Cotswold 100 – What doesn’t kill you…….

When this site title was first dreamt up we called it “Just Because Its There” and no-one could ever explain what it meant.

Having just completed our first “centurian” run as part of the 2012 Ultramarathon series in the inexplicably hilly english countryside this is exactly how I feel. There doesn’t seem to be any other reason for it.

“Rory’s Pocket”:

Having made our way up to Stratford-upon-Avon on Friday 22nd June we met our hosts Rory and Jen Coleman and the other runners whereby Rory started to tell us about the horrific weather conditions of 2011 and how we were going to be spared this trauma as a “small pocket of half-decent weather” would unduly follow us around. As we somewhat discounted this as poppy-cock we coined this pot of gold as “Rorys Pocket”

So it was time for our final picture where our innocence would be left behind and this website title would never been treated so lightly ever again:

100 Miles running Strategy:

Ok. So you’re about to run 100 miles and the organiser Rory (whose email footer tells you he is one of the most qualified ultra runners ever) says “I say this every year but no-one ever listens – PLEASE DO NOT GO OFF FAST!!”

So what are you supposed to do but crack on and complete the first 10 mile check-point in 1:40 minutes where we met Rory and he said “Boys Too Fast”. We were using the Endomodo app to track our run for family and friends http://www.endomondo.com/workouts/65706036 and it was almost as if this thing was driving us on from Checkpoint 2 to 3. We realised that we were on for a semi-decent marathon time….so rather than using this as a sign to tell us to slow down we actually kicked on and finished it circa 4:20 and immediately the banter was “how quickly do you think we’d do the second marathon”

Support Crew & Le Train:

Unlike all the other poor buggers in this crazy race we were the only ones with an elite support crew consisting of Jamie’s brother-in-law Tim driving ahead and then cycling to 5 mile split points to feed us with electrolite potions and valuable route info and Jamie’s beautiful missus Chevs who kept the spirits high when the spirits were anything but…

Just to show we were ‘affected’ and that we were the only group of 4 sticking together we would pretend to be a “train” if we saw someone up ahead and in true Ringo style would chugg our imaginary chain and make “choo-choo” noises…we should have taken this as a sign that things were not well.

Around Checkpoint 4-5 we began to realise that the early pace meant that we were in the Top 10 of the field and this more than anything became the real carrot for us just to kick-on.

At mile 40 we sprinted into Checkpoint to be greeted by a whole host of family and friends (and celebs!!)

Running Mantra:

Head is Strong – Check

Heart Muscle is Strong – Check

Body feels Strong – Check

Feet feel ^&^”*&&”_)&_”)(&()”&

Ok. So as we made our way through to the vital half-way point and the night-time adventures it was now that the first mileage and happy running mantra banter began to give way and the worry signs were going closer to the Body & Heart muscle areas!!! As we discussed at length throughout our preparation (ok I’m lying we only first chatted about it on the train up) apparently there is power in Beet-root and we needed to unlock it..

Dark Dark times:

It was never going to be easy and the wheels started to come off during the onset of the night. In all honesty the first bad patch was when I suffered from “le bonk” and drifted down towards a meeting point with Chevs where I proceeded to eat loads of junket food from the back of the car. Next thing I knew the guts were doing their own ultra and wanting me to set up regular rendez-vous in the bushes.

Mile 80:

Worst part of the whole event came at mile 80. Steve suffered a nasty blip at the checkpoint and we all agreed that we should take things extra carefully for a while to check he was ok and good to carry-on. It’s only through conversations with our brilliant support crew Tim & Chevs and only after the whole event did they tell us just how bad we really were….. at the point almost of delirium….but thankfully we were totally naive and with blissful ignorance we continued to amble./stumble through this painful section of the race

At one point were treated to the beautiful sight of sunrise over Cotswold:

The other guy with us actually was suffering so he asked to have a nap in the car to recharge his batteries (in hindsight maybe this is something we should have done)

Around mile 85 we were once again met by Tim who had kindly joined us with his bike and this time marshalled us not only on track but also at a speed that actually made us feel that we were once again going to finish this thing. PS by now the heart muscle was well and truly telling the head to give-in. Thankfully Chevs sped off to a nearby McDonalds drive through for four sugary teas.

Finale:

With the wind in our sales and Tim telling us that no-one was going to overtake us now (paranoia told us that this wasn’t true) we made our way around the last five miles circumnavigating Stratford before heading into the town itself and the joy of all joys the final few yards back to the finish:

A great event and an unbelievable experience. Rory/Jen – well done to you guys and I hope this and the Ultra series goes from strength to strength:

http://www.flickr.com/photos/ultraracephotos/sets/72157630244526740/?page=3

We actually finished and incredible 6th place!!!!!!:
http://www.ultrarace.co.uk/events/results/

Some of the emails we exchanged post event which show what it meant:

James: “Indeed it was very glorious – Im amazed at how well we did, but also how well we could do if we had more time to train and actually tried to come up with a real strategy and diet that avoided pop and sausage rolls.
I agree with Rory, our team spirit makes it possible. There were times when I’m sure we all came close to calling it a day – I know I nearly puked twice at 70 and 87 miles and in my mind was thinking if I did, I wouldn’t be able to go on… but we managed to pull each other through somehow.
Despite that, I too felt remarkably well yesterday once I walked around and the initial stiffness eased off…
Well done to all – and super thanks to Tim and Chevs for once again being absolute stars, it really wouldn’t be possible without you.
We should do the whole championship next year. I reckon we’d be close to winning it.
Jx”

David:

“So much pain but so worth it
I wonder what it would take for you Jamie to look remotely in trouble
– you are a beautiful march hare
James you also looked in mighty fine form out there – quite incredible
stuff when thinking back to the Brighton marathon bud
And Stevo simply quite inspirational – not sure how you managed to dig
so deep to get those last 30 done – wish I had cried too
Let’s enjoy it over a beer soon
Maybe invite the wives to work on project Sparta!!!!
Love to Chevs and Timmy Jamie
Recover well buddies
D”

Steve: “Chaps, A big thanks to you guys for helping to get me through it, the support from you guys and Chevs and Tim was just fantastic.
Hope you are all mending well, I feel pretty good compared to yesterday when I had to borrow some ski poles to get around.
Sorry about the tears, but you were running with a guy who cried when he watched Body Guard, so not that surprising!
Would be great to catch up over a few beers in the near future
All the best”

Jamie: “What a glorious weekend.  Not great yesterday morning, but after a couple
of warm baths Sparta feels all very do-able!!!!!!!!
Something wrong with my foot, but starting to ease nicely and thighs are
miraculously well – I am sure that muscle roller thing of yours James did
the trick there.
I loved the crying – very jealous of you Steve.
What an incredible team and that very much includes Chevs and Tim.
Superb.  100 mile run ticked off my Bucket List – just the 156 mile run
left on there!!!!!!!!
Jamie”

Tim: “Gentlemen,
It was a real pleasure to support you and to be able to witness such an extraordinary achievement.  However,  to see the body disintegrate so much both physically and mentally was alarming and was a clear sign to me that this was a step too far, as witnessed by all of you as you crossed the finish line saying “Never again”.  To therefore read your comments that you are seriously thinking of doing Sparta is frankly “insane and bonkers” but if asked nicely I would be prepared to take the bike to Greece to support you!!!!!!!!  Sorry Chevs!!
Well done again boys, an unbelievable achievement.
See you all soon
Tim”

So what next for “Just Because Its There”……..SPARTA 2013

2 comments

  1. Alice @ HemiHelp

    You just about had me in tears with that one… You guys are just incredible! You were all in our thoughts while you were doing this latest, most amazing challenge. I honestly don’t know how you do it. You are utterly awe-inspiring. Well done and I hope you’re all feeling well after a good rest (although something makes me think you were straight back to work the next day!)
    From Alice and all the team at HemiHelp x

  2. Gaby

    A great read from an amazing, inspiring bunch of crazy guys.

    I fear you will repeat a similar challenge in the not too distant future when your legs have recovered.

    I hope you’ve framed those stinky trainers!

    Big hugs and love
    Gaby
    xxxx

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