Hands down to this day in my top 5 marathons has to be Race to the Stones. This is an ultra marathon distance of 100KM (62 miles) over the Ridgeway National trail usually held on my birthday weekend.
After the Fudgeathon I made a pledge to run three ultras over the summer of 2016 before the arrival of my children. I chose to do Race to the Stones in two stages (2x50KM) with overnight camping rather than in one hit. A different experience where I started to think that this running business maybe getting a bit serious. I never dreamed of running two marathons in two consecutive days and I think my wife was starting to get concerned about the whole thing at this stage. My work also started taking an interest as well as I made the newsletter overseas at HQ! To this day I would love to know what it said if there are any French interpreters out there…
The Ridgeway trail is amazingly scenic, undulating and quiet. As I was by myself it was a lonely experience and some definite time for soul searching and day dreaming about the not too distant future of family life got me round the course.
It was my first proper experience at trail running. By that I mean stinging nettles, badger holes, animal faeces and cows all on the course to avoid.
The event is organised by Threshold events. The same outfit that got Davina McCall round her 7 day triathlon for Comic relief and David Walliams swimming the Thames. They know what they’re doing and are great hosts. The only downside is that it comes at a cost but it is worth it. The aid stations are well stocked. Dinner at the half way point is great and the amount of cake on offer is bottomless! The camping is fun with a mobile pub for a rehydrating beer or two and a massage tent with a 10 minute massage thrown in to the entry price as well.
Surprisingly the running went well. Lessons learnt from previous saw me get the pace spot on each day without being too fatigued despite no sleep whilst camping (not my scene really). I even drove home straight after from Malborough to sunny Surrey without too many dramas. Over the line with a combined time of 12:18.
If you want a tshirt pre order one at the start. They sell out quick and the wait time on the second delivery is long
When getting to the half way point frog march straight to the massage tent and book yourself in.
Whilst this is one event as I did it over two days with each day displaying their own result for the purpose of ‘The 100 Marathons Club’ this event counts as two marathons.
Cake is on offer throughout the day at the halfway point. If you arrive early and are doing it in two stages dinner isn’t served till later. Eat the cake!