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Monday, 30 August 2010

Ridgeway Race Report; CP8 to CP9

first go at lomo, originally uploaded by ultraBobban.

This was the hardest individual run I have ever done and this was the hardest part. We arrived at CP8 to a roaring fire and Swindon Striders were manning the CP. Flat coke and coffee was all I could muster. I attempted a Jaffa cake but my mouth was not accepting it. We had arrived at the CP expecting solace and all we had to do was soldier on. Bloody friendly bunch though and I made sure I thanked everyone at the station as at 4-5am, what a great thing to do for others. I think that is one of the essential components to the success of this event. The cameraderie and the unselfishness of the supporting crews and marshalls. This cheered me up no end thinking about this.

Dave was poking his head above the flatline where depravity ends and humanity begins. He warmed to the log fire and found some elbow grease from somewhere and off we went...after a piss stop of course!

This stage was a long one and soon off Ashbury Hill at Bishopstone, we descended off the downs from Foxhill to Liddington. The down was an opportunity to have a speedy hill descent and we quickly caught up with Beardy Man who we had seen at Chequers (and had found a £20 note blowing across his path!!) and had a chat with him. He was in good spirits but as soon as we had conversed, he had an impromptu stop and was not to be seen again.

A long and boring stretch of tarmac now and a gentle upwards towards the M4. Crossing this dirty track via a bridge we noted on articulated lorries on the road, pushing on through the night with the drivers in comfort, while we were in agony.

Off the road finally which was a welcome break and another punishing 700ft climb past the aptly named Upper Upham. Right! Dave darted behind a redundant combine harvester, fresh from the threshing of wheat the day before (we did spot one at CP7 working through the night) and alerted me to his toiletary requirements. After this Dave was back from the dark side!

Whilst Immune dealt with the necessary ablutions, 2 runners attempted to steal my PMA and this had a lasting affect on me. Both were suffering. Badly. All they could do was tell me how hard it was and after asking me how far did I think it was to the end, they scoffed and said it was much further? So why ask and why steal my PMA?

Anyway. Dave came back from the rim of hell and we started to get a clip on. Onwards towards Ogbourne St Andrew and we had decided to keep our windstoppers on as they were breathable. If we walked, we would still be sweating and get cold, as it had dropped to 7-8 degrees and we would be more likely to cramp. Light had crept across the contorted duvet of pathwork fields and downs, dithces and woodland. Torches were off, saved now for some other senseless run.

We approached Ogbourne down a quad busting mile long hill and after taking the PMA-stealers, we took another runner, clearly limping and enduring huge sufferage. He was nearly crying. Words of encouragement as we sped past was all of the crumsb that we could offer. Aside for a serious injury, all of my energy was focused on the Self and Immune, who was now very perky. I sensed that Immune was an anti-vampire. a man scared of hard work in the dark! All of these silly thoughts kept me going as we raced past these poor souls. Each time my feet chiming to the rhythm in my head of "Another one bites the dust".

It was my turn to feel the pain. Dave was feeling good and had a fast clip. I lagged behind for longer periods now, having spent a long time focused on both of us I now needed to look inwardly to myself. Sugar and caffiene was lacking from my bloodstream and I knew it.

Lying between us and CP9 was Barbury castle. A 700ft climb of relentless and head on windiness. This was ultra running stripped bare. 7.30am and I found a capri-sun and flake in my back. I necked both, feeling sick but knowing that otherwise a balckout would ensue. I quickly reminded Dave of the 3 in my club who had failed at the final hurdle and to keep an eye on each other, as low blood pressure and the wall were looming ominously on the horizon. My mind was on overtime. At the top, the beacon of CP9 and a luke-warm coffee and the support crew! Susie and Astrid we late and we saw them pull in. We needed to motor on but seeing Susie's eye well up in acknowledgement that the pain written across my face was unbearable nearly made me cry. Onwards...quickly.

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