3,572 ft Elevation Gain
9:58 min/mi Average Pace
They are the statistics from our training run two days ago, which was to run the Saffery Champness Rotary Walk. As the title of the event indicates, this is a walk, a beautiful 38(ish) mile walk around the cliffs and coastal paths of Guernsey. Warren and I saw it as a perfect training run for our EPIC48 World Record Attempt, and thank-fully the organisers kindly let us use it as a training run. Why was it ideal? For a few reasons, it meant a lack of sleep (4:30am start), it was our longest run ever, it had mixed terrain, we’d have to manage our nutrition on the run and it would push us, really push us physically and mentally.
After a 3am alarm call I was in town and ready to set-off on the run at 4:30am. One thing I learnt from the 7 Marathons in 7 Days last year was to break down the distances, by Marathon no.7 we were doing it down to 100 yard finish lines. I wasn’t sure how best to break down the SCR Walk, in my mind I wanted to break it down into small chunks, but for some reason my gut feel was to approach it as a cliff run and then a long distance run. These are two things that both Warren and I have done a few times before, but never as a combined run. Breaking it down into two sections helped me mentally approach the run.
A few people have said that the run must have been easy for us with all of our training. I can assure you, there was nothing easy about running the SCR Walk. The cliffs are brutal, they are brutal for a couple of reasons, the main one being the inability to get any sort of rhythm to your running. You constantly face steps up or down, twists and turns and inclines and declines.
I came off the cliffs right on 3 hours, and I was feeling ok in terms of nutrition and hydration. My approach was quite mechanical and one that I had learnt from a previous run. Don’t want until your hungry to eat. I made sure I ate a banana, a bit of flapjack or a shot block gel every hour of running. The little and often seemed to work 3 hours into the run.
From a mental perspective I was feeling ok, I had completed the first part of the run and was now focussed on the ‘long training run’. The west coast stretch to Portinfer was beautiful. There was a gentle tail wind, the ice was going out and the sun was shining. For 10 miles or so it was easy to forget and ignore the body starting to complain about what I was putting it through.
The route takes you as close to the edge of the island as possible, which around Grand Havre and L’Ancresse area, plays tricks on the mind. You look into the distance and see a milestone and think “yes, I’m making progress”. Before you know it you are weaving around the coastal paths and it feels like you are running away from the finish line rather than to it.
At about 31-32 miles I had to adopt a run-walk strategy, again, this wasn’t planned, I’d never tried this before as I’d never run this far in one hit. My approach was to run for 1 mile and then walk for 1 minute, just to give the body an element of rest and recovery. It really helped and from just past The Bridge I was able to run at a steady pace to the finish line. A big thank you to Toby Birch who drove past me, stopped and offered me a water that I threw over my head as it was starting to become very hot during the last couple of miles into town.
At the finish line I was greeted by the amazing SCR Walk volunteers that handed over medal, a much needed apple juice and dose of encouragement which immediately took my mind off the enormity of the 48 hour world record challenge.
Running the SCR Walk felt as tough as running our 7 Marathons in 7 Days last year, but it was a great learning experience in terms of how our bodies react to being pushed further than before, how we approach nutrition and developing our mental strength to break through situations when our bodies are telling us to stop, to give and to not take one more step.
It was also a good opportunity to be reminded about the purpose behind our challenge, as this is the fuel that drives us on. Knowing that each training run, each battle of the mind and body that we win and every step we will take during the 48 hours will help change the lives of people that are in desperate need of help and support.
The money raised from our EPIC 48 World Record Challenge will support the following charities and projects:
- The Hub, through the Sunflower Project support children and families who have experienced bereavement or are living with someone they love having a serious illness. The project has supported over 100 families since launching last year and the support has been invaluable.
- This Is EPIC, Help people living in extreme poverty in Africa through Village Savings and loans projects. The aim is to impact over 7,000 people through implementing new Village Savings and Loans groups as a result of the fundraising in 2015.
- NSPPC, Fund many projects which aim to either prevent child abuse happening or to help those who have already been abused.
- Dreams Come True, Help children with serious and life-limiting illnesses to have a special wish realised for them.
Thank you for your support.