Monday, 3 October 2011

The Great Barrow Challenge, Continued...

The Great Barrow Challenge – Day 2

I awoke in the middle of the night and my stomach felt awful :( The driving, the running, the food: something, one of those things, maybe all of those things didn’t agree so much with me on the previous day. Bleurrrggggh! I felt really terrible. However, once I had gotten a bit of sleep and taken something to settle my stomach, it did start to feel a little better.

I hadn’t planned on starting at 7am, which was the earliest starting time, but once I was up I figured I would be better off if I started early. After all, I wasn’t feeling the best and just prolonging the start of marathon 2 would probably be worse than simply getting on with it. Starting early turned out to be the best idea because I got to start with some friends I know and stuck with them throughout the day. We simply took it easy; made sure we took some food in and hydrated properly. Actually, it was so warm that we even had a beer stop later in the day. It was much needed and appreciated.

Day 2’s route was just lovely. It took in the sites of a stately home and a National Trust park. I also had great company and lots of lovely homemade flapjack. Stopping for a beer in the latter stages (around the 19mile mark) was simply the icing on the cake = big smile.

The Great Barrow Challenge – Day 3

I had developed a bit of a sore spot on my left heel. I don’t really suffer from blisters that much, which is really lucky. If I do get a blister, I mainly seem to suffer from them when I’m on the road rather than the trail. Day 3 was mainly on the road, whereas the previous 2 days had been made up of equal parts road and trail. In fact, Day 1 was largely trail. Anyway, my heel was hurting a bit as it’s such a thick skin on the heel and a weird place to start to get a blister. I covered it in Germoline and hoped for the best. Ultimately it was fine. It just made me walk funny a little bit later in the day. The good news was that it was far less noticeably sore when I ran on it :)

Day 3 consisted of more great company and lots of sunshine. My stomach felt better and I felt livelier. Happy days.

The Great Barrow Challenge – Day 4

I started mega early again. Well, my definition of mega early in this instance was 7am…early enough to feel the dewy cool morning air - quite refreshing really in comparison to the hot sunny days. Now, there were bits of Day 4 that did drag on, but equally, there were parts of Day 4 which were visually stunning and interesting. We passed through Newmarket and since it was race day, we got to see some amazing race horses. However, it was quite unnerving to pass some of these expensive horses. At one point we had to pass down a tree lined path way parallel to a main road. This track also happened to be a well-used bridleway and we came upon lots of jockeys riding their horses down this stretch. The horse trainers/ owners did not look too amused to see us there. I didn’t look too amused to be surrounded by massive horses. I don’t think the horses were too happy either. One got a bit over-excited and reared up…so scary. I decided to wander into the brambly bushes at the side of the track to avoid more horse encounters. Being so close to them, you could really appreciate the pure muscle and strength of these creatures – beautiful, but not something that you would want to get in the way of if you wanted to live. Made me see horse-racing in a whole different light and just how terrifying it must be to fall at a fence, such as in the Grand National.

As on Day 2, Day 4 also saw a visit to the pub. This was much much needed as temperatures continued to soar.

Overall, this was such a brilliant event. Really well signposted, good descriptions, great value for money and a really good atmosphere. And the medal ‘aint bad either :)

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