Wednesday, 22 May 2013

2013 IAU World 24 Hour Championships, Steenbergen

Pre-Steenbergen Rambling

My arrival at 24-hour running has been a bit of a whirlwind. A year and a half ago I took a train to Wales to piggy-back on my sister’s crewing position for New Zealand runner Matt Bixley who was running the Commonwealth 24 Hour Championships in Llandudno. I had no idea this running existed. The runners go around in circles. All night. You had to wipe your hands with nappy wipes so that you didn’t give Matt unnecessary germs. Ok, maybe that was just a Matt thing… There were these three Scottish lassies running; Debbie Martin-Consani, Sharon Law and Pauline Walker. Who were these people? I cheered for them because they were from Scotland but I didn’t really understand their greatness.

There was just one female representative for New Zealand at this race and I figured that maybe New Zealand needed some more lady runners for their team. So essentially I started running 24 hour runs because my country NEEDED me to. What a saviour. Less than a year ago I ran the West Highland Way race in 22 hours and this was my first time running above 13 hours. So then in September I went down to Tooting Bec and scraped through enough mileage in the 24 hour race to get myself a selection for the New Zealand team. And then, WHAM, along came the World Championships in Steenbergen, Holland.

Injuries are my body’s way of telling me to appreciate my running more and this year when I had a wee knee issue arise I stayed positive and did just that. I had two cracking races in March which were run on a mixture of floating in a swimming pool and being overly serious on the stair machine. So while things didn’t go perfectly, I was very happy with the shape I was in for the start line of Steenbergen. 

Pre-Race Rambling

I flew to Brussels with the old folks who are visiting from New Zealand due to a party I’m having in a few weeks’ time. A party for my wedding. Keep up folks (this means you, Kim). I wore my New Zealand uniform in the airport and not enough people commented or took pictures for my liking. You do get free water and sandwiches when you fly with BMI though. I appreciate this. We checked out the peeing statue dude in Brussels and hauled our bags between railway stations. Google maps should really give some advance warning when there are cobblestones involved in the planned journey.

Finding small slurpy water bottles in Steenbergen the day before the race was hard work. I dragged Olivia through four supermarkets and numerous multi-stores before I stumbled across some Robinson’s Fruit Shoots juices for children. Purple bottles too which will compliment my running shoes nicely. Crisis averted. I did not fancy four months hard work being blown just because I could not find satisfactory bottles.

Other runners start to pop up around the town. I can see them looking at me thinking that I’ve dressed up in my Dad’s tracksuit to support him. But I don’t mind an oversized tracksuit, I’m still wearing Amy Campbell’s tracksuit pant hand-me-downs from Krakow. Olivia thinks she’s getting them now that I’ve got my own pair. She’s not.  

Then came the parade. I went to the wrong place, just myself and the Italian team. Although I’m not sure that the Italian team knew that they were in the wrong place as they very leisurely strolled to the starting point while I belted it down in panic. Bottle drama and now I’m going to miss my parade! But I made it and walked along grinning like a maniac and waving to the fans. Actual fans this time. People loved the New Zealanders. The New Zealand team consisted of the following athletes; Wayne Botha, Graeme Butcher, Bryan McCorkindale, Alex MacKenzie, Kim Allan, Valerie Muskett and myself. A good looking bunch if I say so myself. My sister Olivia and my dad (Father J) were to be my crew. Lucky them.

There were tears at 4am on the Saturday morning. I’d only had two hours sleep and my mind had already run marathons. I suspect most runners have terrible sleeps before their races. It’s part of the challenge. Even by my dodgy sleeping though, this was bad. At breakfast the next day I worry that I will want to sleep in the race. I’ve never wanted to before but I give Father J yet another instruction to remember. My food organisation (minus the drink bottles incident) has been supreme. However, I have just sent Olivia down to the tents with my kit and my kit contains my breakfast cereal. Rookie error. Then I shower and shave my legs. I’m making an international debut after all. But my razor is too sharp so I come out of the shower having cut up all my legs. And then I put mango moisturiser on. You’re screaming at me ‘WHY?!’ and I agree, silly idea. So now I have to go mingle with the famous with rashy legs. This is not how I imagined debuting on the international scene. Once I’ve braided and applied make-up I’m finally ready for ‘the day’. People will be taking photos you know.

Coherent Race Rambling

I fly down to the course in time to strip off my tracksuit and worry about testing my timing chip. But they’re not testing chips. What happens if mine doesn’t work? Some people are wearing lots of layers. Do I need more layers? Debbie and Sharon say that because I’m Scottish I can run in my vest and shorts. Do I have time to make it back for a team photo? Excuse me sir, I can’t hear my chip. Olivia does an emergency run for my arm warmers (don’t tell Sharon!!), and Rick Cooke tells me not to worry about my chip. A novice’s concern. I make my way to the back of the starting bunch and chat to some Canadians. Is my shoe too tight? I don’t know where the toilets are. Bang, whish, zing. We walk over the start. 

The short overview of the race is this; I ran well for 22.5 hours covering 200km, staggered a further 1.5km in 40 minutes and then decided that I’d done a brilliant job and would take a nap. Unfortunately, that’s not really how 24 hour races work. You are meant to keep going for the full 24 hours, not make a dodgy judgement call on your own performance and have a premature celebration. Although upon reflection, this is rather amusing. 

But for those of you who enjoy the specifics of a thrilling race, please continue your reading…

Maybe the fast guys sped off from the get-go. I started slow. Unnaturally slow. On my third lap I got lapped. The 2.3km course went like this; start/finish line, wind around past some houses to the communal food tent, along the bike lane past the toilets and team tent, round a corner past tents for runners in the open race, down a long straight road (past my B&B), twist throughout a wooded area, port-a-loo, see a house, turn back on the street with the start/finish line. You can Google Map / Street View it whilst you read this if you are really committed to ‘feeling the run with me.’ :)

Shame the smile didn't last all day

Conserve, conserve, conserve. That’s the plan. Japanese runners are floating past me continuously. I try to copy their feet and keep scuffing my shoes. It’s reasonably warm and I need to get my arm warmers off before Sharon laps me and catches me with them on. Plus, it’ll make for a funny tan line if I keep them on. Polish boys wave as they pass me each lap. I talk to Georgio from Luxembourg. He had a heart attack a few years back so decided to quit the shorter distance and take up ultras. Makes perfect sense. I meet Peter from Belgium. He’s in the open race and it’s his third time running in Steenbergen. Three years ago he did not exercise and made a bet with his brother that he could run three marathons in 24 hours. He did that and then came back last year and ran 100 miles. Next year, he’s running the length of Europe.

Chatting to Peter
Sharon Law

I’ll confess, I’m rather popular with the commentators. It might be the braids, the smiles or maybe the fact that I’ve been waving wildly at everyone as I pass through the start/finish. Spectators are starting to yell my name. Better wave to them in appreciation. This is so exciting. Eeeeeeeee! There are these funny grey fountains on the side of the course. Wow, this town is so immaculate and they’ve even put out fountains for the race. There is some serious commitment from the locals. There are bands, there are choirs, there’s me dancing along clapping to them all.

Toilet time. I’m a trail runner and I prefer to go bush. However, it’s only about five hours into the race so I’ll chance the port-a-loo. It’s available and it’s interior is satisfactory. Now there’s this new phenomenon called the Morton Stretch (see Debbie’s blog post on it). I didn’t know you were meant to stretch during these races but Adrian informed me a few weeks back that it’s a good idea. I’ve never tried this Morton Stretch but I figure I’ll give it a go. I’m a bit embarrassed though; I’m not really good enough to worry about stretching. So I hide in the port-a-loo and do the special squat stretch. Except that my legs are out to the sides rather than to the front because I can’t really fit. What a tit. Oh, and those grey fountains? Urinals. Yep, guys don’t even have to open a door to piss. I am in awe. This is probably the best idea on a running course EVER.

Rumour has it that Robbie Britton’s mum is flirting with the commentators. How dare she? Doesn’t she realise that I am their favourite? Robbie’s zoomed past me a zillion times already and will give Sharon Law a run for her money on the cheeriness front. My B&B neighbour is Lojze who is running for Slovenia. I have heard over the speakers that he’s running in Iron Man shorts so I’m looking out for Iron Man shorts to pass me. Then he comes past with these exceptionally long strides and a big wave. I’m making friends already. The Estonian team consists of sisters and their mother and father. That’s what family time is all about.

Kim Allan
Running past the team tents

I catch Peter and we jog a lap or so together. It’s great because all the locals remember him from the previous two years. In his first year he weighed 100kgs and people couldn’t believe that he was going to run the race. Now people are calling him their hero :) Matt Moroz comes past at some point having a hard time. I know, he’s having a hard time and yet still coming past me. I give him a pep talk... Can’t remember what I said but I figure that as long as you tell someone something convincingly then it’s the right thing to say.. The day has not been kind to American runner Chisholm. We discuss that perhaps tomorrow will be kinder to him. That would be ok as there’s still half the race to go tomorrow. I remember being really concerned at the time that I wouldn’t remember his name because my brain would stop functioning later! Speaking of members of the USA team, my idol Sabrina Little is running. She used to be Sabrina Moran but she missed the World Championships last year to get married. I get married in a few weeks, so I think that means we are pretty much identical. Minor issue of her running over 30km more than me but that shouldn’t prevent us from becoming besties. I want to tell her I’m a fan when she laps me but she’s focused. I don’t want to be the reason for her not getting the US record. The American ladies make me want a pair of red eighties shorts.

Things feel that they are ticking along well. The GB physio, Guy, is also my physio. I am such a lucky lady. He’s looking at me funny. He’s not happy with the way I am running; speed is good, form is not. I am so tense trying to go slow. I really need to relax but it’s sort of too late. Stretch he tells me. Not in front of all the people!! I run around the corner and see my mum chatting up one of the marshals. What is it with mothers? I lean on the barrier and do my thing. It doesn’t take long so I throw a few normal stretches in at the end for good measure.

Practicing my Morton Stretch

There are photos in the afternoon of it raining. I don’t actually remember the rain in the afternoon. There are people set up under gazebos around the course. I’m getting lots of support from the Swedish. It’s like my blonde braids make me one of them. There’s also some rotating French support enjoying a few bevvies. When writing this I read the notes written by my crew during the race. There’s a note saying that in South Africa it’s called a monkey wedding when it rains. Just thought I’d add a bit of education for you readers.

My idols: Sabrina Little & Debbie Martin-Consani

As a runner you don’t actually see your teammates very often. As I come to the team tent I get handed a bag of berries and told that my teammate Kim is around the corner so I catch up and have a walk with her (both scheduled walks, neither of us were being naughty!). The lap that we run together is about the only time I get to have conversation with any teammate the entire time! I also must commend my crew on putting the messages into the berry bag... I did smile when I saw that and nodded my head in appreciation of this good idea :) Berries taste awesome after too much soya custard.

At some point it started getting dark. I remember putting on some more layers and struggling to get my tights on over my shoes. Usually this is a pretty swift operation that I highly commend my crews skills on. I do remember trying to be relaxed though. I tend to seize up quickly and therefore not want to stop, however I run so much better when I relax and don’t sweat the small stuff. Wayne’s sister tells me to hang in there. How bad do I look?! We’re not even half way! Wayne really looks after his crew. Apparently at one point he came running into the tent with two coffees in his hand; one for his mother and one for his sister :)

Ten hours in and things feel a bit unfair.  I’ve run incredibly slowly so far as part of my conservation theme. And yet, my legs are a bit tired. And I can’t really be bothered running anymore. I want Scott and I want to be finished. I am scared; what happens if I start walking and don’t start running again? The reality is that you put in so much effort training and yet on the day you still have to put the effort in! What?! No one told me those rules! I catch up to Rick Cooke who’s having a hard time with the cold and his quads. We run a handful of laps together and I put off getting my rain jacket so that I can stay chatting. Eventually I duck into the tent for my jacket and do a layer change and lose Rick to the physio room. The crew were given instructions regarding the rain jacket due to its temperamental nature. Graeme’s wife Brenda tucked me in to keep me warm. I’m secretly pleased that the jacket managed to make an appearance during my international debut. Good for the jacket.

There’s a wee blonde girl, Luanna, 5 or 6 years old, still out watching with her parents. She’s so sweet! They are around in the wooded area and always giving me a big cheer as I come by. Sometimes it’s raining quite hard. Some people are quite cold. I’m half Scottish now so the rain really doesn’t bother me. It’s a case of hood up, hood down. Apparently at one point it hails. I don’t remember. Cosy. I’m an Eskimo. I got tucked in you see. Are you tucked in cold people? The crew are crazy cold but I’m so self-absorbed I don’t think to get them a hot drink. Imagine if I’d run by giving them the choice of hot chocolate versus coffee. Huh, beat that Wayne. There are cup-a-soups in my box; creamy asparagus and potato with leek. They can’t say I’m not good to them.

Incoherent Race Rambling

I’m actually running quite well in the dark now. I put my head down and get on with business. It’s my favourite part of the race. I’m not entirely comfortable but I’m getting the job done. The speakers are off so that the residents can sleep and there is no longer the constant updates on the leaders.. Whilst I did enjoy these, the silence and dark work well for me. Conservation can shove itself in that smelly port-a-loo. I don’t have any energy for conserving anymore, I only have energy for running. I’m a ninja in my hooded black running jacket and I’m going to get you.

Alex tells me to think about something you really want at the end of the race. Like a beer. I imagine a unicorn. And it's flying. 

There’s a Spanish guy supporting a runner in the open race and he cheers for me on every single lap. Actually, has that guy eaten or been to the toilet? Of course he knows my name, everyone knows my name. I am famous, people. I don’t think I am the youngest in the race but I do look like the youngest. Nice eating Antonia. My running is obviously so pitiful that my eating is now being commended by the Spanish guy. Even the tall American manager compliments my eating habits. I’ve got a reputation. How much soya chocolate milk can you drink in a race? More than one would like to. I’m cheating on M&S by eating an instant macaroni cheese.

I don’t know what the time is anymore. At some point in the race I looked at the scoreboard as I came over the chip mat and saw my distance. Then I did some mathematics. Then I panicked. I’m not going to make it. And ‘it’ is 200km.

My running is barely more forwards than it is backwards. Olivia screws her nose up when she checks my split. But I am running! I’m not being naughty! HONEST!!! I can’t be naughty. I won’t make it. You must make it. You are blurry. My eyes, they can’t see you. I keep needing the toilet. It’s hard to make it in time. Then you’ve got to get your wet layers down. My fingers can’t grip properly. They can’t feel. Tights down. Eighties shorts down. Cycle…. Ahhh so close to getting the cycle shorts down but I’ve already started peeing down my right leg… I have officially peed myself. I’m not really fast enough to justify peeing myself. Although maybe peeing myself shows that I have the potential to be fast. 

Unfortunately the dawn party did not send me an invite. I preferred it dark and it preferred me as a non-attender. I eat a Jet Plane sweetie at the 100-mile mark as a celebration and point to it as a supporter nearby shelters from the rain. This was a slightly bigger deal in Tooting. That was the AIM in Tooting.  My legs are relatively good but my mind is not good. I can’t see. My fingers feel funny. Don’t fall over. You won’t make it if you fall over. Run in the middle Antonia. You mustn't fall over.

Support crew survived the night

Wayne Botha

Australia’s David Kennedy doesn’t think I’m going to make it. I’m not going to get to 200km. I’ve been a really good girl running, never a naughty walk break, never a sit down. And I’m not going to make it. People are running in ponchos. It’s a good idea. I can’t see who they are though. We get passed by a garbage bag. Not even a poncho as they haven’t bothered to make arm holes. Someone is literally shuffling along in a garbage bag. And they are shuffling faster than me. I don’t even think that this is real life anymore. I’m surprised I think it’s funny. This should be one of those really low moments in life where you make life changing decisions. Like quit ultra running because you’re clearly not very good at it. 

I ask for my MP3 player but I never turn it on. No music, no watch, no painkillers. It’s a good thing that I don’t turn on the MP3 player with its massive 40 songs as when I try to do so on the flight home I find that the battery is dead. Robbie Britton is angry that his mum hasn’t brought the right painkillers. Even babies can take paracetomal. I can see his point. I still don’t want any painkillers though.

Why is Dan Doherty standing on the side line looking clean?

Two hundred Antonia, you want this. Why does my arm hurt? It’s not even the lazy left arm that goes round in circles when I’m not paying it enough attention. Right arm is so tense. Put it down. Ouch, still hurts. Fine then, just chop the bloody thing off. You think they’re going to give you scissors? You’re crazy. You can’t cut your arm off with scissors anyway. You need a knife. Did you pack a knife? Seriously Antonia, you left your crew without a knife? Ohhh you brought a plastic cutlery set. Special trip to ASDA and everything. Well done. 


Concentrate. Stay on the course. You are still running. Fat girls’ half marathon Antonia, that’s all you have to run. Stop stumbling. You’ll be in big trouble if you fall over. Give people thumbs up as they go past. Thumbs up for the crowd. They want you to do well. They are shouting your name. Why can’t you move your thumbs? What’s wrong with your thumbs? Smile. Don’t spew. Smile. Open your eyes. Back on the course Antonia. You can’t keep running into the ditch.

Can I walk yet? No. You might not make it. You have to keep running until you make it. So scared I’m going to fall over. So scared I’m going to stop running and walk. TWO HUNDRED, MOVE IT. Still running. That was my toenail falling off. Paint over it for the wedding. It will be ok. Legs feel ok.. You’re just a bit wobbly. That marshal wants to talk to you. He thinks you’re too wobbly. Ohhhhhhk. Smile for the marshal. Run away from him. GO. He might chase you. He’s on his radio. FASTER. He’ll catch you. 

Extremely good looking

Open your eyes. Two laps to go. You can have a wee walk. Past the Spanish supporter. It’s time to run. You’re doing it. OPEN YOUR EYES. No, you can’t sleep by that tree. Get back on the course. Don’t fall over. You don’t have the distance yet. Antonia, you need to stop wobbling. There’s your dad. He thinks you’re running well. It’s true that you are passing people. It’s a sprint finish. Ukrainian Alex comes past. He wants you to come too. He’s going too fast. You like this bit; wee house, all the fans, tent. You can have your wee walk again. One lap to go. You have to do this. You can make this but you need to concentrate on your feet. Keep your eyes open. Can’t feel my tongue. Blood in my mouth from chewing on my tongue. Go Antonia. All the way to the 200km marker. Allison Lilley from Australia is going to run with you to the line. It’s so far down the street. You’re still running. You got it girl. Have a sweetie. Walk the lap out.

Just have a walk now. Sore arm. Hold up your arm. You did it. Lovely trees.. Long, long wooded area. So long. So sleepy. Awwwwww. Treeeeeee. Walking sideways. More walking sideways. Stumbling. Don’t fall yet. Sitting. Stand up. Treeeeeee. I love you tree. Where’s Adrian? Where’s Guy? Do they know you did it? No falling over. You have to finish the lap.. It’s ok that the running is over but you still have to finish the lap. You need to see the scoreboard tell you that you have 200 or no one will believe you. Your stick. You need your stick. There’s your mum. She says to keep going. You’ve finished though. You got it. Doesn’t she understand? There’s Val and Graeme. They’re still running. Smile at Wayne. He’s happy. Here are all the people. They want you to keep going. They know about the 200! There’s Luanna, give her a high-five. Go a little bit faster with the walking, there’s the finish. There it is; 201km. That’s your dad.. He’s at the finish for you. He knows you’ve finished. Is there a chair? I need to have a sleep.

Photo from Luanna's mum, Manuela Vergeer

Peter can see you. He’s finished his race too and he’s worried about you. Point to your Dad. Show him that your dad is there. You are walking to your tent. Need the toilet but you need to get to your tent first.  Every team tent knows your name as you go past. They love you. Tell Adrian about your 200km. At the tent. Blankets. Lots of blankets. SLEEP. Lay down but they won’t let you sleep. Drink some tea. Answer some questions. I am 26! Adrian told me what this is. It’s like diabetes but it doesn’t mean you have diabetes. Can’t remember the name. Tell someone. Adrian’s here. She’s ok. Call the doctor. Guy is here. Just have one shoe on now. Probably got sore feet.

Before I lay down the Polish boys saw that I had finished and stopped to shake my hand. Sooo kind. Luanna came over with her parents to say goodbye. I’m assuming that she’s Dutch so speaking in English and then trying to say thank you in Dutch. Although she may have already spoken to me earlier in English anyway but I can’t quite put this together. Once the doctor gives me the ok I’m allowed to sleep. Although I need to get back to the B&B because I’m too cold in the tent. I can walk but Remko decides I’m going too slow and so he and Dad carry me back. Picture this; Queen’s throne (made up of two men’s arms), being carried from the event to the palace (cold tent to the a mattress on the floor of a B&B) with my glorious legs swinging out front (stiff, lycra clad, swollen tree trunks), a captivated audience (probably runners passed out everywhere but my vision was blurred and I can’t actually remember) and a smiling waving Queen (snoring on my father’s shoulder). Scott’s a lucky fellow :)

Who's hiding under the table?

Post-Race Rambling

So I stopped early and went for a snooze. I can hear you all screaming at me; ‘WHY?!’ and to be honest I’ve done a bit of screaming at myself too. Where was that commitment I showed when I peed my pants? Where was the dedication I showed when sourcing miniature drink bottles? Where were the motivational quotes from one of the zillions of endurance books I’ve read? Surely I could have just stayed on the course and walked? If you’d asked me before the race whether I thought that I’d stop early, I would have said no. I was very afraid of walking for hours at the end though. Possibly too afraid as maybe it made me push too early. It took me 40 minutes to do less than a lap. I don’t know what I was doing, I can barely remember being there. Could I have stumbled another lap? Not without someone following me. I would either have gone to sleep in a port-a-loo or tried to get into the B&B. Either way I would have caused people to panic. I wouldn’t have done these to be naughty, I just thought that I had finished.

I’ve had days where I’ve beaten myself up a bit about stopping but I really don’t see that it’s beneficial to do so. It’s good to keep things in perspective. Running a few extra laps wouldn’t have changed the fact that the Autistic children I work with have Autism. And it’s always a nice reality check when you’ve got to come back to your seven day work weeks! I also ran well for 22.5 hours. I wouldn’t have changed that running and it was certainly better than I thought I was capable of. My legs were good, I just need a bit more practice with my head for the long races. And after a bit more practice I’ll get a bit more confidence. Going into Steenbergen, 24 hours really scared me and I do feel like I ran scared the entire time. My understanding of nutrition is basic; I thought that when my blood sugar levels went low that I could drink coke and eat sweeties to get functioning again. Turns out Mr Percy Pig cannot do that alone. And at the end of the day you’ll run for what you really want, and I only really wanted 200km. But as a guy at my work naively said ‘ there will be another one won’t there?’ And it’s true, at 26, I think I can run another 24 hour in my future if I fancy it. Which I will… after a year or two of running OFF-ROAD and on some glorious Scottish HILLS :)

I get my picture taken with Lojze the next morning. He came 11th overall. Ahhhh, amazing. He was just there, as the only Slovenian runner, doing his thing. So now I really want to go run an ultra in Slovenia. Obviously.   

Lojze (11th place!!) and I

My recovery has been disappointingly good. Feet feel a bit fuzzy but the leg muscles are not bad. Maybe that is my reward for the hard work I’ve put in this year. I was a little bit overconfident at the airport in Brussels when I was asked to remove my shoes at the security check point. Usually you’d bend down, unlace and stand on one foot while you take the other shoe off. Well I actually managed to bend down ok. However, I lost my balance when it came to the unlacing and ended up flat on my arse, blocking rich businessmen from continuing in the security line. Thankfully the cute Flemish security guard took fancy to me and helped me back up. I took a seat on the other side for relacing. Later on my knee buckled as I tried to enter a toilet cubicle and I smashed my forehead on the door, pushing it forward and narrowly avoided going headfirst into the toilet. I’m disappointed that I can walk to Scott when he greets me at Edinburgh airport. Do I even deserve my curry?!

I have been running already. I just really don’t like wedding planning. I’ve also purchased and wrapped half of my Christmas gifts because no training means I have a Saturday and Sunday afternoon off and I don’t know what to do with myself. I’ve even made scones.

People at 24 hour races are awesome. What pain? I had a blast. I may have sworn at Debbie at one point in the race (darn her and her inspiration) but I am sure it was emotions running high from all the glee I was experiencing :)

Thank you Adrian, Guy and Remko who all looked after my infant self once I decided to have a kip. And to the former two for believing I could do it when I wasn’t sure I could. My New Zealand teammates were lovely and I’m sorry that I didn’t get to talk to them more. Kim Allan trains horses – I don’t even like horses and I want to know more about that! And what does that Wayne do that makes him so happy? Congratulations to my British teammates who got incredible results. Thanks to Scott for putting up with a night-mare fiancĂ© this year. Seven day work weeks, wedding planning and training for a 24 hour race haven’t made me the calmest person in the world. Thanks to Mum for showering me after the race. Thanks to Dad who looked worse than me on the Sunday night. I hope that you enjoyed the experience and sorry that I scared you by going ga-ga. And finally thanks to Olivia, who put just as much thought and energy into the race as I did. One day, I’ll manage to run a good one for you!

Now excuse me, I get married in two weeks and I’m a bit behind on the wedding planning…

Recovery jog


  1. You wouldn't let me lie down for a sleep, not fair that you were allowed.
    Hand wipes - I am 100% certain they were from Olivia and her fear of catching diseases from me.
    Well Done.

  2. Ey Up Wee Antonia

    Welcome to our world.


    john & Val

  3. Fantastic report Antonia, it so perfectly captures the madness of ultra running and the exhaustion and delirium that can accompany it! Can't think why you've been beating yourself up though, 201.5 km is a stunning achievement!

  4. What a fantastic read! Loved it. I was actually welling up reading it.
    Huge congratulations on a great run and international debut.
    Hope you have a lovely wedding. I'm sure Scott knows he's a very lucky chap.
    Debs M-C xxx

  5. Congratulations Antonia. What a great effort. Loved the report. You have a great way with words !

    Have a great wedding. I look forward to the report and photos.

    John K

  6. Brilliant report Antonia. Really felt like I was there with you. Such a heartfelt piece of writing.
    Hope you recover well and have a great wedding. Those Scottish hills will be lucky to have you :-)

  7. The hills are awaiting as is your husband to be. Have a wonderful wedding day. xx


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