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Map of Jurassic coast ultramarathon course 2017
Route map

Ultramarathon = runner’s Audax?

Whilst this is predominantly a cycling blog, triathlon (and therefore running) will always feature to some degree. Fellow blogger and running enthusiast, “Shaz” wrote this piece on her blog recently. We were impressed! 100k on a bike is one thing but, on foot? Read on to get the full ultramarathon story……

“Well it all is a blur now. Last night, I completed the 100k Jurassic Coast Ultra (61 miles according to Garmin). Never at any point did I think ‘I’m a knackered runner get me out of here’ and I didn’t fall over so, I think I can count this as a success.

Friday night hubby took me to Exmouth to catch the coach to the start. We sat in the car waiting for it to arrive. There was a gaggle of ‘Hi Viz’ bodies loitering nearby, eating pizza and watering a tree! I scanned the group. Not too many beards, that’s good (FYI serious ultrarunners all have beards – fact). But, hang on a minute, I can only see a couple of females. Oh dear! And not a white hair in sight on anyone. At this point I could have run for the hills. Shaz, what have you done? Whatever were you thinking? You are out of your league with this one? ****! Slithering reluctantly from the car, I boarded the bus, shut my eyes and got some kip.

Some nerves are only to be expected.

On I arrival, I peed, registered, listened to the pre-run briefing and peed again. 02:07am and we were off. Obviously, it was dark and the trouble with that is you can’t see anything. In these circumstances, I find this means I listen to my body’s complaints. Oh my, did it complain. My right Achilles spent most of the first 10 miles moaning. It kept ‘ouching’ and I persistently told it to shut up. Then it would behave and the knee would start. Settling in to a nice rhythm behind a gentleman who was running at a consistent pace, I am sure this was really annoying for him. It was working for me, though, and for the group behind me. This lasted for about 4 miles until he needed a comfort break which was slightly embarrassing when I almost followed him!

I was very glad when the sun started to make an appearance. Not sure what the sunrise was like after this, which is the trouble with running West in the morning! The first part was pretty much flat, but some of the terrain was tough – slippery wooden bridges, narrow paths, tufted grass and then we came to the shingle beach! 1 mile of this. Tough but, actually gave my legs a break as only walking was possible. Please note, not a soul out there, spent most of the 100k unable to see any other participant! This was a quarter of the way through, then the hills started to come, and with the hills comes the scenery.

Reaching a peak.

Finally at Golden Cap the highest point on the South West Coast but, surprisingly, not the hardest hill! Still can’t work out why this is! Fantastic view but, unfortunately, I thought it was a drop down from here in to Charmouth and then Lyme Regis just beyond. Seems not – some blaggard had moved Charmouth a further 5 miles away! Nooooooooooo.

Ultimately, I reached at Charmouth and from here a mile on the beach on pebbles. Not sure how I got to the end of this section with my ankles still in one piece. Madam (my daughter) joined me on this stretch for a bit which was such a boost. The halfway mark was reached on schedule “ish” at 06.45 hours. Here, I changed my shoes and, more importantly, my socks. Grabbed some food, a coke and then headed off towards Seaton.

The next 7 miles were on the undercliff and I did not enjoy this part at all. Mud, tree roots, hills, steps, all humid and airless among the mini tropical rain forest! “In a minute I will be at the golf club” I kept saying to myself! At last, after what seemed like hours, (and, yes probably was), I got to the Golf Club. As I crossed the course, I prayed I would not get taken out by a rogue Golf ball! That would be my luck – survive the undercliff and get killed by some one in check trousers!

All down hill from here?

As I dropped down in to Seaton, hubby drove by. He had been loitering in a lay-by (I’m sure there is a law against that). More fuel taken on board and off I trotted to meet my hero and new best friend (who had foolishly volunteered to run the rest of the course with me!) Such a lift to see him oh, and to use the loo and pop some painkillers!

We plodded off, my new running buddy and I. The trouble about the last part is we knew what was to come. The positive part was also that we knew what was to come! So passed the next few hours, up and down to Beer. Up, along and down to Branscombe, up and down to Weston beach and then up and down to Salcombe Regis. All this before dropping in to Sidmouth where I was thrilled to see my Metafit instructor. Friend, fitness guru and sports massager in company with her lovely black lab ‘Indy’. 75K done!

On we carried, my companions and I. Chatting. I’m not 100% certain I was making any sense by that stage! The hard part was over now, just a mere matter of getting to the end, and trying to fuel. Being incapable of eating anything meant I relied on gels and masses of water and coke to get them down – far from ideal.

The end is nigh!

Next stop, Budleigh Salterton. My poor family had spent hours in the car park. My poor hubby was with Madam who had no 3G signal! I am surprised he didn’t throw her into the sea with some rocks for company!

Now I knew I could get to the end. 10k to go but, I am not going to lie, everything hurt. Eespecially my knees when on stony terrain. Much walking was done. Every hill sapped my energy. I willed the ‘Geoneedle’ to appear – and finally, it did. We dropped down on to the Seafront. Madam joined us for the last 1 mile. The wind picked up, blowing against us, I wanted to walk, but refused to be seen struggling. Where was the finish?

Hurray! I was there. 61 miles done. Greeted and congratulated by the organiser, I apologised for my sweaty, snotty hand shake and hoped he had some hand sanitizer nearby! Sitting down, I let it sink in. I felt rough. I wanted to cry but had absolutely no energy left even to do this. Giving my hero a big sweaty hug, I thanked his wife for the loan of him and sat some more.

The prize!

So, I got the T-shirt and, very nice it is too!

It is starting to sink in that this was an accomplishment, especially when I have just read that out of 200 entries, 157 turned up (walkers started 10 pm Friday night), 7 of them were part of a relay team. Only 95 got to the end! I was one of those. Wow!

A well run and organised event by Climb South West. Runs like this must be a logistical nightmare – but all ran smoothly. Checkpoints full of friendly marshals who filled my pack and tried to feed me. Well done to the organisers!”

This is author, Shaz.

Photograph of runner holding arms up in celebration
Shaz, happy runner!

Shaz blogs regularly about her runs and other adventures so, why not visit her blog and join in the Fun?

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