Race stats: 700 people entered, 500 were mad enough to show up, 5 people didn’t make it to the end, I finished 224th place from 500 runners.
It’s 6 am and I’m wide awake, checking and double checking that I have packed everything I need to complete this challenge: my first ever ‘adventure marathon’. After a healthy carbohydrate-packed breakfast, 5 cups of coffee, 2 Imodium tablets, and a kiss from the wife I was off to find the start line (the edge of Morecambe Bay). As I’m standing at the start line I notice there is a real similarity with competing in a kickboxing tournament. Everybody is looking at each other wondering ‘Have I trained hard enough? Can I beat that guy?’. Then you look around and see a few people who look like a real, fit, seasoned pro and I can’t help but think that I am really out of my league here. Just as I start to doubt myself I hear Master Raf’s voice in my head…
‘Start like a mouse and finish like a lion’ (See Sensei I was listening!).
The start gun goes off and I find myself right at the back of the pack, watching the 400+ people ahead of me sprint off into the distance across the 6-mile-long bay. It took every ounce of strength I had not to sprint off after them. The 6-mile bay crossing was an interesting mix of freezing cold water, quicksand, mud, and thigh-high strong currents which slowed everybody to a walking pace at one point. Once out of the bay, what followed was a 12-mile off-road run through breathtaking scenery, cutting right through the Lake District, over mountains, through forests, multiple farms, streams, freezing cold lakes, and thigh-high muddy puddles until we reached the first ‘fun stop’; a rope swing from a crane back into the lake at mile 18.
For the remaining 8.2 miles I managed to switch from mouse mode to lion mode and started to overtake large groups of people who were starting to fade badly. A few cries and swear words could be heard all around me as men and women started getting cramping and seizing up due to the cold water, hill runs, inflatable obstacle course, and mudslides. Somehow I managed to keep going and going and going until mile 22 when I hit the proverbial ‘Wall’ and developed an interesting running style that can only be described as a ‘waddle’ of sorts. From the waist up I was as fresh as ever but my legs had completely given up on me.
The last few miles seemed to drag on forever as we followed the shoreline of Lake Windermere but I could hear music playing ahead and knew the end was very close. As I turned the corner I could finally see the inflatable finish line ahead but the marker arrows we had been following the whole race were pointing in the opposite direction. I turned to look and there was one last uphill climb to complete which caused me to curse out loud. Finally, at the top of the hill, I was greeted by a giant water slide that slid me down the other side of the hill and across the finish line! Battered and frozen but feeling very proud of myself I collected my medal and the best cup of hot soup I have ever tasted!
Finally, I would like to say a big thank you to everybody who has helped to raise over £1100 for a great charity ‘Sparks‘. You are all amazing. One last thank you goes to Master Raf for instilling a ‘never say die’ attitude in me from an early age and a big thank you to Andy Saville for all your great advice and running tips.
This article is based on opinion:
– the author is not a qualified doctor or anyone who can dispense medical advice.
– any opinions stated are just that and people should consult a doctor before making any dietary changes or changes of any nature prompted by the articles published by or on behalf of Xen-Do.
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