Gower and the wower 1/2 marathon

It all started at 7am, looking over the breakfast table at each other whilst enjoying a glorious bowl of Marcia’s creamy porridge with blueberries, and listening to the howling wind and rain outside.

We drove less than 5 minutes to race head quarters; getting out of the warm dry car was difficult, but we decided to push on anyway, true warriors we were! 

Thankfully, the ferocious wind and rain calmed as we boarded one of the 6 coaches that bussed all the 1/2 marathoners to the start of their race.  At this point we all felt for Anne-Marie, who had already been running for at least 100 minutes, and for Mick who started some 30 minutes after her.

Within minutes of getting off the bus, we all witnessed a chap slip over – thankfully he encouraged everyone to laugh with him, but at this point we should have guessed what lay ahead for us!

Why oh why, but everyone thought it would be a really good idea to pick our way up a narrow path in single file, trying our best not to get our beautifully clean and dry trainers wet.  Thirty or 40 minutes later we reached the base of the highest peak, again everyone agreed that the best attack would be to conserve energy and walk up the mountain (actually it was a hill!). And for me, that’s how the first 7 miles proceeded, walking up the small hills and, when possible, running downhill. Oh, I forgot to mention the obligatory selfies at the top – the scenery was stunning at every twist and turn!  I had really started to enjoy my jolly rather than an Endurancelife race that I signed up for.

First check point done, and we carried on and very slowly for a further couple of miles until I found my mojo; at this point I decided to run off in the wind. Not long though before I had company, the one and only Anne-Marie!   What would you have done in my position, allow AM to overtake or try to run faster? (Note from AM – she ran faster!!)

The mud was certainly creating havoc, I looked hard and I can assure you there was no path around the mud bath, and thankfully I didn’t land on my bottom (unlike many – she’s also now referring to AM). However, I was creating some beautiful body shapes just trying to stay upright, everyone was ‘strictly mud dancing’.  Also, I was one of the lucky ones who didn’t walk off without a trainer, but the mud was certainly ankle deep and extremely gloopy! 

On to a beach, then steps and another checkpoint.  OMG, I never realised how gorgeous ready salted kettle crisps could taste. I had to stop for several minutes to fully enjoy and stock up the reserve tank, then on I go.

The last mile was testing, lots of steps and then some more steps up, along a bit and then back down the narrow, muddy and very slippery steps to the beach (with large pebbles to negotiate) until I reached the finish line, some 4 hours and 15 miles later!

At this point my mind turned to Anne-Marie, she had to run past the finish line and complete another 10k just as the heavens opened and the wind picked up again.

Back to our accommodation, all of us desperate for a hot shower and a cup of tea, unless of course you are Mary who was pouring the Prosecco! Mick and Andrea then faced another marathon, cooking yet another glorious meal; a variety of curries, dal and homemade chapattis – thank you both so very much!

The accommodation was perfect, close to the starting point of the race, very warm and dry! Big thanks go to Michelle for organising!

And if you’re wondering what the others thought of this – here are some words….

“The race that broke me….tough, lots of hills and mud, but beyond, beautiful coastline and views. Lots of really lovely fellow runners too. Well signposted and fantastically organised. Great t-shirt, but the medal could’ve been bigger,” Andrea Playle.

“There was mud, it hurt. Only the company of my lovely running chums made it all worthwhile. And it rained, a lot, and then it didn’t…. There were massive mounds of mud for miles and miles and more miles. After that, there were steps. Seriously steep, slippery steps and the I was broken. Would it do it again? Of course I would!” Michelle Earl.

happy runners

So what is your conclusion: do you think we enjoyed it or not?  Just in case you are wondering, we have already started planning for the next Endurancelife event in Exmoor on the 04.04.20. What’s stopping you – are you joining us?

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