Thursday, October 20, 2016

The Final Countdown

In a few days time I will be completing my 100th marathon.

Did I really type that?

It's only just beginning to sink in and it's exciting and scary in equal measures. I have actually completed 99 marathons!

Without further ado here are my write-ups of numbers 98 last Saturday & 99 last Sunday before I forget the details:

Marathon 98 - The Winnie the Pooh Wander

Well how could I resist that - I love Winnie the Pooh and all his chums plus we were running in the lovely Ashdown Forest which is really beautiful even though some of the inclines are rather challenging!

This event was supposed to be my 100th but even though I managed to absorb the previous crisis by adding in a few replacement events I just couldn't bypass the latest life event which interfered with my schedule. At first I was very disappointed but then I realised that if I made it a week later then that event would have a special significance but I won't share the details until next week.

I've run 2 events here before, each in different parts of the forest, my favourite being the High Weald Ultra Challenge last year (I took lots of photos of the area so do take a look as it's stunning).

Another field. Another event. This event was so popular that they allowed more entrants than usual,  hence the extra portaloos!

There were several special celebrations over the 2 days, the first being Steve's 100th marathon. It was also Paul's 100th but he will be celebrating that next weekend so that his special friend who encouraged him to get back into running could be there too, which is a nice thing to do.

Paul (left) and Steve

As is traditional at Traviss and Rachel's events, fancy dress was encouraged:

Leo and Somei posing for a selfie

Nice tail!

Just to put my 98th marathon into perspective, here we have Brian (he of over 1200 marathon fame) who made me laugh as he went past me and said "it's my 98th today too..........98th this year" Not bad for a 60 year old hey?!!!

You can just spot a WTP and a Tigger in the crowd as Traviss makes the usual announcements!

Paul and I had just spotted the lovely Dee taking photos!

Then Traviss started talking about someone who makes cakes for each of their events and he mentioned my name and he presented me with a lovely zipped hoody with my name on which was such a lovely surprise! I was really touched.

Rachel about to give me a big hug!

The other special announcement was that it was Kirsty and Liz's 99th marathons so they each got a round of applause and special chocolate.

Kirsty's fab skirt showing Pooh's special places

As we lined up at the start, Paul and I were standing on a mound and so waved like mad to catch Dee's attention

How very adult of us!

Then we were off. It was a figure of 8 course, the first bit 2 miles then a road crossing to the next bit which was just over 3 miles, which we had to complete 5 times for marathon distance. As this was a 'challenge' event, some people completed just 1 lap whilst others completed more than marathon distance.

Off we go

My target time was 6 hours which meant I could take it nice and easy on the steeper slopes. I really did not want to fall over ahead of the big 100!

Rutted tracks of lime and loose flint

Quite hazy to begin with. Love the colour of the bracken.

The luminous yellow of the Gorse flowers caught my eye

I'm not sure if this is "an area with big stones and rocks" as mentioned in Pooh.......

....but there was a plaque there commemorating A.A. Milne who gave us all our favourite characters

Wonderful far-reaching views

100 Aker Wood? Could be but the landscape will have changed in the last 100 years or so!

Cattle are grazed there as part of the conservation strategy (otherwise it would revert to scrub land)

There were lots of people to chat with en-route which really helped pass the miles and Kat very kindly kept me company for my penultimate lap - thanks Kat. Lovely to catch up with you and Jools.

Kat had brought her Aviator Pooh along for a big adventure!

Most of my last lap was spent just soaking up the atmosphere there and drinking in the views. We are so lucky to be allowed to run in such a beautiful place.

I finished in 6:05:25 so was pleased with that. I headed off to get some water but my hands are quite stiff at the moment (stupid arthritis!) and I couldn't get the top of my water bottle so Helen very kindly obliged.

 With Costa and feeling proud wearing my beautiful medal

This time it was less than an hour's drive home which was brilliant. Then Mike and I had a nice relaxing evening ahead of the next one.

Marathon 99 - The Tigger Bounceathon

Here we go again; same venue, different theme, same route but sadly not the same weather! The rain started when I got up at 5am and it was torrential. When I arrived there I parked in the field we'd parked in the day before then thought better of it and drove to the next one which had a hardcore surface as I didn't fancy getting stuck in the grass.

I got a tad wet just dashing a couple of hundred metres to collect my number.

2 well-dressed Tiggers

Somei and Leo embraced their inner Tiggerness

It was a special occasion for 2 reasons - Kirsty and Liz were running their 100th marathons and it was my 99th.

Kirsty had opted for understated elegance for her 100th marathon (snigger!)

Pure class

Everyone tried to huddle under the trees to keep a bit dry

I put on an extra jacket which I could take off if the rain stopped (which it did and I took it off after the first lap)

There were special announcements for Liz (she has lost 140lbs in weight!) and Kirsty (shortest time for a female to go from 0 - 100 marathons - 540 days which is blimming amazing) about their inspirational  journey to 100 marathons but I couldn't get photos as I was behind lots of people. They'd commissioned a special cake from Heather, a fellow runner and a very talented cake-maker.

Isn't this a magnificent cake!

As is customary for your 99th marathon, I was presented with some chocolate. Traditionally it is a chocolate Flake (an ice cream cone served with a Cadbury's Flake is  known as a '99').  However, there had been confusion about which day my 99 fell on (hardly surprising given it's been changed) and so I was presented with a Fry's Peppermint cream bar instead.

Notice I had the presence of mind to pack my walking poles as I knew it would be both muddy and slippery after the rain.

Thankfully the rain abated soon after the start and I dumped my extra layer in the car at the end of the first lap. Not much to say about this as it was the same route as the day before only with some muddy bits and I was extra careful on the steep slopes - some people were very jealous of my poles and they really did help on both uphill and downhill sections. 

I decided not to take any chances and did power-walking on any dubious sections where there was a definite trip potential. My target time was 7 hours and I sneaked in at 6:57:25.

People kept hugging me and I felt myself getting a bit teary and then Dee took a photo as I tried to escape. I've warned everyone that if they even smile at me next weekend I am likely to burst into tears as I know it's going to be very emotional for me!

Aren't they wonderful medals? I've already booked the weekend next year when they are holding the Eeyore Expedition and the Piglet Plod. Well I need to get the set now don't I!

As always, the ribbons are as beautiful as the medals:

So there we have it; 99 marathons and ultra marathons completed. As my 100th is so close, I shall be spending most of the time wrapped in bubblewrap in case I hurt myself...................


Old Runningfox. said...

I've said it before Susie, and I'll say it again, you really are incredible, slotting in these marathons one after another among a hundred other things you do. Where on earth do you get your energy from? I don't know whether to be envious, jealous, proud, a wimp, or what.
I'm going to bed!
Best Wishes......(I'll have a wee dram to celebrate your hundredth)

Susie Hewer said...

Awwh, thanks for your kind words Gordon, they mean a lot coming from someone who's a very accomplished runner himself. You can allow yourself a large dram and I shall be joining you on Sunday evening. Just waiting for you to smash that age-group record ;-) xxx

Anonymous said...

I am full of admiration for you. I am not a runner but I love reading your blogs. Best wishes on 100!
You go girl!!!

Susie Hewer said...

Thank you so much Julie. Hopefully I'll have a bit more time to write about things other than running soon!