Stage 5 – Endurancelife coastal series. Devon, Beesands coastal trail

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5 Down, 2 to go!

This is getting very deja vue – another great event from Endurancelife!

Number of miles -28

Number of Meters climbed – 1750 meters

Litres of water drank – ~2 Electrolyte, 1 water

Food – 1 cliff bar, 1/2 pack of vegan gummy bears, 1/2 pack cliff gel shots, handful of jelly babies at the aid station.

Well, we lucked out with the weather again for the first 3/4 of the race at least. Great for my photography, though Kelly came to the rescue with a spare memory card from her camera after I realised I had left mine at home – phew! Today I ran the marathon with Kelly, girlfriend, hungry runner and trainee Personal trainer/ nutritionist/ sport science (which there was no doubt about as I have never been told told so many nutrition factoids before!). It was like running whilst listening to the discovery channel!

Endurancelife had as usual put on a very good show at the start, the cliff rep chap was there to provide me with my breakfast which was a handful of Cliff energy bars, oatmeal and walnut. My only one comment was that it would have been good to have some music playing, i’m sure they had this at Northumberland and Gower.

It turns out that Matt was there but I missed him which was shame, we only catch up at brief times on the run but after 5 races it’s nice to see the familiar faces. Tobias was there, running the ultra, I also caught up with Saxon (chap with the converted sleep-in Land-rover, complete with wooden stove if you recall from Northumberland!), I introduced myself to Oli who will be running also with his girlfriend in September at the Gore-tex Trans-Alpine stage race, so it was good to meet him. Jen from the Serpentine club was back for another race and she too was running the marathon only but she did have another one the day after.

I always try to be organised but it always seems to be a rush at the start and what with telling the staff I would be running the marathon not the ultra, purchasing some goodies and compeed for the inevitable blisters (I was wearing my innov8’s) I ran out of time fast. We visited the toilet (a few times (sorry)) after the massive curry the night before in Kingsbridge (the pub-hotel was a disaster), the curry was amazing.

Here are a bunch of pictures from this first 1/2 – they tell the story, a brilliant one – couldn’t stop smiling 🙂

By the half way point the runners had left the gob-smackingly gorgeous coastline and started to hit the road and head slightly inland, we’d been running fast, Kelly had been pulling in some great times over the more technical (she hates that word) sections of the course and we were well matched as she is also fast on the down hills – but not quite as fast :p We had met and spoken to many runners on the course and were having a great time. Runners are so friendly. Interestingly all of them were either training for some major event in the summer (UTMB etc) or had run ironman challenges or similar in the past – this was an experienced and fit field of runners, reflected by the difficult of the course, one that was not for the fainthearted. I had a near death experiance taking a blind corner too fast and having to run full speed down rocks unable to brake – pretty close there for a moment.

Unfortunately, after 10-13 miles of fantastic coastline, the inland roads were very dull in comparison, although there were some really nice trails, marsh lands and board walk sections which really broke the run up into manageable sections. Kelly’s old knee injury returned and things became tough for her. Our pace slowed and for a brief while and I thought she might pull out. She had her chance at the 16 mile water station after a few slow walking/ jogging miles, but (and here’s the best bit about endurance runners), somewhere she found the strength to keep going and did not (or should I say Never, ever ever) give up. She was in a lot of pain but basically legged it for the next 5-6 miles swearing to herself on the way. Happy when she realised she’d made it to mile 20 it was just a case of finishing it, 8 long miles but it was inevitable she’d finish. The weather turned, the rain came out and the last 6 miles were a genuine tough tough slog with high winds. What’s more I couldn’t get my ipod to shuffle the songs on my playlist which was really annoying.

The Beesands Devon course was very different from the rest and quite spectacular. I tried to make more time for some better pictures than in Gower and I was able to chat more to people which made for an enjoyable run. Having said that my legs were still feeling the strain and by the end and I would have really struggled to complete the Ultra, not least with the weather getting really horrible, I don’t think it would have been very enjoyable. Here are the pictures from about mile 17.

2 Replies to “Stage 5 – Endurancelife coastal series. Devon, Beesands coastal trail”

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