A massive turning point for me was this event which goes down on my vetting list for ‘The 100 Marathons Club’ as number 3. This was to be my second official marathon in 2016 however we had covered marathon distance a couple of times in training.
My wife Alex was four months pregnant with TWINS!!!!!!!!!! Over the dreaded first trimester we were enjoying the bank accounts slowly depleting as the nesting phase started. We decided not to find out the sex which probably saved us a few pennies. JoJo Mama Baby, Mothercare and the likes all licking their lips every time we walked in the store announcing that we needed two of everything.
After running Brighton a second consecutive year (I blew up in the graveyard and had to walk it in with a time of 3:49 due to a lack of training) a good friend of mine Ben Steel mentioned that an old school friend of ours based locally to me was looking to run for 8 hours straight. This was unheard of to me and instantly I was in. I contacted Oli Bell and politely asked if I could steel his thunder and do the challenge with him. I had not seen Oli properly for around 10years and catching up with him on those training laps around Ashtead common once a week was a great experience. Maybe not for Oli who admitted he threw up after the first shock training run but later thanked me as it served as an eye opener as to the work that needed to be done.
Oli taught me about pace. My technique prior to this had been to slog it out for all races and fingers crossed, make it to the end. Running ultra marathons can be frustrating to speed merchants and the lesson is that it is a journey rather than a race. Oli also introduced me to hydration packs and other ultra running gear. Neither of us were experts but I think we both learnt how to become self-sufficient on longer runs. The catch ups we had were great, they had to be, we were putting in 6hour training runs.
The Fudgeathon was a great experience hosted by a very friendly team called Saxon, Viking and Norman who base all their events in Kent. As the title of the race suggests, Fudge was on the menu at the aid station in a big way.
Unbelievably to me the Fudgeathon was being held on a weekday. We had to take a day off work to run! Madness! Looking back at this now I’m sad to say that any aspiring member of the 100 marathon club will at some stage burn a bit of annual leave for the cause.
The event was held at Kings Wood, near Ashford in Kent. Several laps round the route would see you at marathon distance. 8 and above was an Ultra. Oli and I had aimed for 40 miles. As soon as we arrived and saw the inclines we quickly realised this would be a massive ask. It’s one of their more hilly courses.
Another thing we did see was a number of people sporting these running tops. On them written in gold “100 Marathons club”. We couldn’t believe the people we were running with. These Spartans had ran 100 marathons. Why??? Others there we managed to talk to had ran the event held by SVN the day before as well. Two marathons in two days? We couldn’t believe it.
I think it was here that the seed was sown for me and the idea implanted deep in my brain to one day aspire to this achievement. Not knowing it and looking back at the names from the results listings some of these runners are now friends of mine. Anyway we crossed the line in 8:10 clocking up 37.5 miles and very proud to be in 2nd and 3rd in terms of distance covered http://saxon-shore.com/results/fudgeathon.html
I haven’t seen or ran with Oli since. Hope he’s alright!
Ultra running is a massively friendly environment
It’s great to catch up with old friends
Expecting Twins is a privilege