“This was my second attempt at the Ultra Tour of the Peak District: 60 gruelling miles of hilly trail running. Up until the race itself, everything had gone right in terms of training and planning – I was definitely in better shape than the previous year! But the weather we had on the day was insufferable (highs of 29 degrees), and I had to retire at 42 miles because of extreme heat exhaustion. I was absolutely crushed.”
You must have gone through some pretty tough highs and lows. How would you sum up your feelings of the race?
“Solitude, pride, survival.”
We definitely agree with ‘pride’! 42 miles is still an incredible feat. How did you keep yourself motivated?
“Being able to chat to other runners and having their support was really important. There were several occasions where I didn’t think I’d be able to continue, but then someone would come along and gee you on and you’d pull yourself together and keep going!
I also had songs in my head, and mentally I was just trying to keep disciplined and focus on the success of finishing. The scenery was incredible too!”
What was the toughest part of the race?
“When I realised I wouldn’t make it to the end, and managing that transition of the dream of finishing, to the reality of withdrawing when I did.”
And what was your favourite part?
“There were points where I was running alone and had time to reflect and take in the surroundings. Those were times of blissful solitude!”
Sounds nice! What training did you do?
“I’d put in a lot of miles just from running each week and then I’d done training runs in the Peak District. Mixing that with the strength and conditioning I felt in really good shape, so it made the overall result even more disappointing.”
What were you most looking forward to at the end of the race?
“To smile! I think once I’d accepted that I wasn’t going to finish there was a sense of release, but getting to that point was really difficult – emotionally and physically. I’ve got a watch that records my heart-rate statistics and it showed that I’d expended over 7476kcal of effort. That gave me a real insight into just how hard my body had worked, and I know that on any other day that would have been enough to complete the 60miles.
It is a shame you didn’t get to finish it, but still such a massive success: your friends and colleagues really got behind you: you raised an incredible 99 pledges. Did any in particular really impress you?
“One person who pledged to lift share has saved over 299kg which is incredible and an inspiration to anyone. It just shows that savings can be huge if we think about our actions more.”
We couldn’t agree more! What advice would you give to those who are doing their second or third challenge for The DoNation?
“The actual challenge is much easier than engagement (even extreme ones!) So I’d say be creative and don’t be afraid to be direct when communicating and requesting pledges.”