A couple of starts… I mean how many can a girl need? 😉 two for me!
So start from home with the obligatory doorstep pic – feel like it’s a new day at my new school 😉 😉 and then this prat sees me off, prob just to make sure I actually follow through with the run. Thanks Steve Cole and make sure you get a pic of yourself while you’re at it mate! tsk tsk
Then off we trotted along Baiter Park whilst I start panicking already that the tracker is working. So phone in hand at mile 1 checking to see if the 10 min update shows the tracker is moving. Gotta make sure there’s no glitches beforehand cos there’s sure gonna be loads later on ha ha… bugger. Then as if by magic the red dot flashes along the path away from my home, whoop. We are off!! Phone away and now concentrate on getting to the chain ferry in time for the first sailing and meet my wing man Mark Stacey. Yep, Steve wasn’t my wing man – I mean that guy never really runs with me. He’s always 400 metres ahead, if I’m lucky. So 4 miles of ‘Steve abuse’ started, which is great as it kept my mind off the radio interview due to take place once I reached Studland and disembarked from the ferry. You see different runners bring very different benefits to running. Steve brings a foul-mouthed monster which is completely harmless but great for venting your own demons with. So Panorama Road on Sandbanks Peninsula came very quickly and Steve was not hanging around too long with his hankie and tears flowing to see me off on my epic adventure.
Once on the other side, Mark quickly appeared hyped up as ever: his normal demeanour. Mr Tigggger I call him, just bouncing along non-stop on a permanent happy cloud even on this drizzly and windy day. However, we had to wait for that all important phone call from BBC Radio Solent, wanting to hear all about the mental challenge I had set myself. They were a tad late due to a more important interview involving ‘lockdown hair’! Now maybe Mark should have been involved with that one hmmm… 🙂 https://www.bbc.co.uk/sounds/play/p08hs122 Listen here from 1hr 20mins on the time bar.
Once my ‘just trying to be sensible’ interview was over (that one’s for you Dougie), Mark and I set off on my Start Start… the 2nd Start. Now we could really get going and concentrate on what was to come. It was very exciting and within a mile we were already being heckled from passing cars – blimey! Wait a minute, Judith Vlaarkamp ha ha. Jude was out for her early morning run across the Purbecks with friends. Quick wave and holler back and we soldiered on this small amount of tarmac before hitting the downs by Old Harry Rocks. Gosh, this is why we do these runs, regardless of the weather, there’s some great views we are lucky to share. Down into Swanage and up to Pevril Point bang on time. Of course first little photo opportunity and to let our club members and family know we were alive ha ha 🙂
Now the next few miles were us settling into our surroundings and back to what we have become accustomed to… yep Mark and his History, Geography, Geology, zoology and the environment lectures. Every day is a school day with Mark and thank god for that, seriously. You never get bored, you don’t have to talk cos he does it all and bosh, you saved shed loads of energy by just listening. When we ran past Dancing Ledge, Mark found the cliff area he once took part in a Blue Peter episode finding the Puffins and you wouldn’t Adam & Eve it, but there were two blooming Puffins swimming right out in front WTF. I have never seen one in person, not even in a zoo, and there were two in broad daylight flapping their wings playing in the water. Bloody brilliant 🙂 Where could we possibly go from there? I know: the rest of the miles I promised to do. Hmmm, the weather was sporadic now. One minute no drizzle but wind still prevailing and the next blustery showers followed by an outbreak of one minute of sunlight. Thankfully, the wind held off on the cliff edges like Houns-Tout, which always scares me being so near to the edge and so high up. But calm befell us on those precarious cliffs, thankfully.
Now, Kimmeridge was within our grasp and a marathon distance for me and about 22 miles for Mark. His family were due to meet us and boy did they! In fact family and friends and what a welcome sight they were indeed. Katie, Mark’s wife, was amazing as always. She can never do enough and is always the friendliest of faces to see when you need perking up. I wanna know what this family feed on, cos I need their food now xx Mark’s parents also came out and to say they are proud of their son is an understatement but they know how to rib him too. The next hour was spent at his expense, bless him! We all took the piss non-stop and I hoped it might hurry him along but noooooo, his diva demands far outweigh Beyonce. This guy knows how to make the most out of the time with them all. I can’t blame him at all and it was awesome to be included in all the fun and attention. In fact I think we nearly forgot we had a run to complete. Alas we bid the nutters farewell whilst Marks son ran alongside us, if only for a short while. However, little did we know another runner was hiding in the bushes just around the corner. Must have been quite a wait but to see Mark’s face when Paula Wright jumped out was worth it, if only to then hear the barrage of abuse that left his mouth too. This guy makes swear words blush and the C Bomb is his fav 😉
Paula and Mark have a run banter that keeps you uplifted. Honestly so far, there wasn’t a dull moment and it makes running divine. Think Mark might disagree as Paula was getting in the miles to keep him on his toes with a virtual run a lot of our club are doing. This became an ongoing tally to beat each other along the way and Paula had only just started to pop up for what would be regular running stretches on this boundary run. Now this woman is smart and clearly knew the best areas to jump in and out. So having wound Mark up for a few miles, Paula strategically left us at Worbarrow Bay and right before the nightmare of a climb at Flower’s Barrow. It was so high and engulfed in fog/mist, we couldn’t see the top. We could still hear Paula’s chuckle ringing in our ears as we attempted to climb with our cheat sticks at the ready!! Wicked woman!!!!
Now considering we had just eaten, I felt that food had all been burned up in that one blooming climb because for the next few miles we were hankering for having an ice cream at Lulworth Cove and it worked. It kept us going so much so that, once there, we forgot the time and that Kate Hughes might be waiting for us at Bowlease. We were behind time now – not that there were official times but the times I had mapped out as approximate. This was mainly due to weather but maybe my poor calculations or just long pitstops which the ice cream was but it was sooooooo good.
We needed this though for the next part of the coastal route which I remembered all too well from a previous Jurassic Ultra. The hills were a plenty but they came and went leaving not too much of a whinge. Obviously, that sugar injection was just the ticket. Now further along the weather started to really take its toll and we were down to a crawl, battling to keep venturing forwards. It was tough going and we both ploughed through just trying to get to another pit stop. This one would be with Kate Hughes and we decided to make that our main stop instead of Portland as time was getting on and we needed a proper meal inside us. If we left it too late at the intended Portland stop, our reserves would be too depleted and we would really suffer. So phone call made and permission granted by sweetheart Kate to make her place our main stop. However, a welcome friendly face got to us beforehand and right when we were hankering for a warm drink. Along came Bev Trenwith, a local lass to Mark, both living in Wareham. She came running along the coastal path and ventured further than anticipated as we were so slow now. But jolly us along she did and within a few miles Kate met us and also our night crew, Sam Adkins and Anita Bailey. My god what a racket too! Anita brought the ruddy cowbells and attacked our ears still traumatised from Paula’s laughing. Noooooo, it was Paula laughing still….. She had come back out for another few miles down into Bowlease where we all had coffee and tea waiting from Bev’s lovely husband Marcus. Honestly, the support was phenomenal and we were loving every minute.
Now onto Kate’s, for our main stop and truly amazing hospitality. This lady had taken every precaution with regard to Covid 19 by opening the massive kitchen sliding doors to the garden, allowing constant flowing air. It was like we were outside with a roof over our heads. Disinfecting everything before and afterwards, Kate truly made us all feel safe and looked after. FFF: Food, Foot care and a Freshen up was our next priority. We were now at 46 miles and needed to get into our night running gear as the weather was due to get worse… Thank god we had a bunch of ‘Riots’ hardy gang to meet us at Portland, as time was late and the sky was getting dark. However, it also meant we would be running with Martin Smith… oh well, there really are very very small mercies out there when you need them 😉 and maybe a bedtime story/adventure left for another day 🙂