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Ultrarunning News

My First Ultra Marathon, Richard Meade

My First Ever Race Win! Photos Courtesy Extreme Energy


kay, so the title, like the film, Titanic, kind of gives away the ending.

However, as with all good stories the fun is in the journey as much as the ending.

I had entered the Druid’s Challenge an 82 mile 3-day trail race across the Ridgeway, earlier this year, long before I had entered the Amsterdam Marathon, as I saw it as an ideal way to see how my body would shape up to the rigours of ultra running and multi-day racing in preparation for the MDS next April. Once I entered it I promptly put it to the back of my mind, as I focused all my efforts on gettingthe PB I craved at Amsterdam.

It was only after I had finished the Amsterdam marathon and was still hobbling about the following Friday did it dawn on me that three weeks later I would be running this ultra race. Not much training or preparation time. In fact I had two hard weeks of 90-100 miles

each and then a four day taper.

On the Thursday before the race I sat in my Travelodge in Luton and it suddenly dawned on me that I had never done anything like this! 3 marathons in 3 days, all across hard trails, forest paths, ancient roads and tall grassy hills. I was actually scared. I sat there thinking about all the things that could go wrong.

Mostly I was worried about getting lost. I can get lost in a supermarket, even with numbered aisles and shop assistants eager to point me to the sweets section. This race wasn’t marshalled. We simply had to follow the well marked trail paths.

I was always confident of getting through the first day. At 29 miles it would be the longest I have ever run in one go, but I felt with all the long 26 mile runs I had done and my high mileage training weeks I would be okay. I was more concerned about days two and three

and how my body might recover from day one. Especially, considering I have a propensity not to hold back. I knew there was every chance that I would go out hard on day one, run as fast as I could, shredding my legs and leaving nothing for the next two days. I was honestly frightened of failure. I pin a lot of stuff on my running, with plenty of training and boring people to death with my endless chat about it, so I didn’t want to come home having had to pull out or having had to walk the last couple of days due to ruining my body on the first day. So, Thursday was a restless night.

Friday and stage one came. The 150+ competitors were organised into three starts a slow group, medium group and fast group. The slow group were set off at 10am, the medium group at a 11am and the fast group, which included me, set off at 12pm.

February/March 2011 | Ultrarunning World 13

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