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Tuesday, 10 July 2018

High Weald Challenge - The 'Smugglers Marathon' and a PODIUM!!!

The Weald is a big place and I haven't explored it all yet.....Today was Goudhurst southwards and territory for me and a new route for the LDWA High Weald Challenge otherwise known as the smugglers marathon (after the legendary Hawkhurst gang)

We have just been in a sustained 3 weeks of 30 degree heat. Saturday was 33 and Sunday was 31. I started off early, as the RD said that runners starting the 10am start could go early. I thought I'd loosen up and amble into CP1, of which I did. I ran past Peter Johnson and had a quick chat. He was running with none other than running legend Ken Fancett. Fit as a fiddle 60 year old.

I got to CP1, and the nuggets that were running it stopped me and another couple of runner s for 5 mins "until the CP officially opened". Silly administration really. The RD had emailed to state runner could go early and hadn't communicated it forthwith.

Anyway, through the gorgeous countryside around Cranbrook through to Benenden, the hot weather took its toll. I was just about hydrated between CPs, but the paths were unrunnable 8 foor high with brambles at ankle level

After a slight detour, I went past the last of the early runners. I was on my own.....the next 15 miles were totally alone. Something liberating about that but also self preservation as the thermometer crept up above 30.

So how would you get through this? Its over 10ft high!

Instructions were sometimes hard to decipher....sometimes impossible

See what I mean?!

So after a gruelling 5 hrs 45 mins I crossed the line to great pride of seeing my wife, Audrey and Greta (that totally surprised me) and some very sweaty hugs before heading home.......

Amazing run. Hot hot hot.

Marathon#93 done

Footnote...... It wasn't until about 5 days later that the results were out and I was sort of shocked but I also knew that it was a very tough course through tens of miles of overgrown trail. Results stated that there were 67 finishers. I finished top of the shop - 1st place for me!! 18 minutes ahead of the second place and 1st lady Annabel Stearns. Some very very good marathoners who are genuinely quicker than me took over 7 hours......My second ever 1st place. Unexpected but you have to be in it to win it!

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