Woah, that was tough. Real tough, like running through treacle for 153 miles tough. That race is a bastard. Roads, uphills, sun, night, cold, downhills and a death bus chasing you along.
I have written a full article to come out in Outdoor Fitness magazine to describe in great detail the beauty/evil of this race so with the risk of sounding like a broken record I’ve attempted to put down a few words here to those that know me about what happened on the streets of Greece.
I won’t lie to you, I set out fast, hitting the first marathon in 3.30 and getting through halfway in 12 hours. I had my eyes set on a sub 24 hour finish and I’d gambled my lot on this working. Basically I underestimated just how tough this race is. The hills are constant, gradual ups and downs that wear down your body, the heat makes you work out of your comfort zone and the strict cut offs force many to look over their back for the Grim Reaper Death bus, picking up all those who falter, if only for a second.
What followed was a 153km trail of vomit from 100k onwards and a battle to motivate and push myself to go forwards and not just sit down and give up. It was a different beast to all of my recent races and I was determined to prove I could suffer with the best of them.
I will be back in Greece for this race again, maybe 2014, maybe 2015, but I will be back. Do I regret the gamble, would I do it differently if I could rewind to that Friday morning? Nah, I’d still fly off, chase Mike Morton and go for a sub 24hr finish. I’ll learn much more from vomiting 30 times than if it all went swimmingly and the prize was a pretty cool thing to chase!
Basically I got my ideas a little above my station but I’m not going to change my ambitions, I’ll just have to try a little harder. A lot harder. Finishing that race reminded me why I love this sport and will drive me forward to greater things.
My support crew were invaluable at times in Sparta and were the always laughing, joking and helping me in any way they could, even Mick & Rebecca rubbing my vomit covered legs and then eating some crisps (I don’t know how that helped but they did it anyway). The pros and cons of having a support crew are many but that’s a whole different blog I reckon!
Anyway that’s my season over, it has been a great one but bring on 2014. It will be better, I promise.
P.s. Thanks to Louis Waterman-Evans here is some evidence that shows how I felt through the race…