Saturday, September 9, 2017

Big badda catch-up time part (i)

If I don't get the last 5 marathons documented soon then I never will so this will be a long post with lots of photos and not too many words as I have knitting, embroidery, garden visits, more dementia stuff and walks to write about. OK, here we go.........

Marathon 118, Heart of the Weald LDWA (Long Distance Walkers) 2/7/17

Hoorah, an event where I didn't have to be up at 4am and drive for 2.5 hours! This started and finished at the village or perhaps small town of Wadhurst which is only a 30 minute drive from home, bliss.  We'd been warned that parking could be an issue as another event was taking place around beautiful Bewl Water nearby but thankfully we all managed to park with ease.

It was called the 'heart of the weald' as this whole area was once covered by ancient woodland - the word 'weald' means 'woodland'. There's some beautiful countryside around there and I was really looking forward to exploring some new areas. We weren't that far away from Burwash, the village where Batemans, the former home of Rudyard Kipling, is situated.

I was meeting up with several chums and it was just going to be a jolly good day out with some running and a fair bit of walking. I took my poles as I knew it was going to be a bit hilly and it had been raining it could also have been slippery. Thankfully the rain had abated by the time we started and it was lovely and warm all day.

After the obligatory briefing at the start we headed off along the high street and then down towards the beautiful countryside

The first few miles took us through woodland and it was nice to come out into the open for a while and enjoy the expansive views

The weather turned out to be perfect for us with beautiful blue skies throughout

We passed through plenty of wildflower meadows, many with Yellow Rattle still in flower

We met lots of livestock en-route.....

.....and glimpsed lots of interesting medieval buildings. Aha, but that is not medieval at all, it's Braylsham Manor, created by the rather eccentric John Mew using reclaimed materials!

There was plenty of posing (as usual!) and much hilarity.

Following footpaths from written instructions when you don't know the area can be exciting as you end up in places you either haven't seen before or haven't visited for many years

This was Mayfield which boasts about 3 very posh schools

Rachael treated us to ice lollies as we took in the sights

The tower in the distance meant we were getting close (ish!) to the finish

Sensible sheep resting in the shade

We had to up our pace a bit towards the end as we'd been chatting and dawdling a bit too much!

The last few miles provided some welcome shade around beautiful Bewl water. The runners had long gone and it was lovely and peaceful except for a few cyclists careering around the footpaths.

I'd forgotten just how close Bewl water is to the town centre and in no time at all we were heading up a gentle slope and back to the hall where it all began.

My slowest ever time for a marathon but no matter as it was such fun with great company.

These LDWA events are great as they have lots of friendly marshalls who mark your card at each checkpoint and provide you with excellent food both during and after the event. I didn't stop at the end as I was anxious to get home to check on Mike.

Left to right, Maryanne (first time LDWA and trying out poles), Davo, me with Bryan peeping from behind, Jonathan and Rachael

Marathon 119, A Very British Challenge, 1/8/17

Another of Traviss and Rachel's fab events, I just had to do this as I've really missed seeing them this year. It was held at the very pretty King's Wood just outside Ashford which I really enjoyed when I did a double there last year.

I decided that I wouldn't take any photos unless I spotted something amazing as I took loads last year. Conditions underfoot was great and although it was very hot I enjoyed the route enormously.

My finish time was better than last year, which was a surprise, and I got round in 5:55:33, a good 10 minutes faster but it was probably 'cos I didn't take any photos!

Another fab medal from SVN

Marathon 120, the Twilight Challenge 19/8/17

Now this sort of event is one of those I said I'd never enter because my eyesight is not good in the dark, especially when wearing contact lenses. So why on earth did I do it? You'll have to wait and see for the answer to that as all will be revealed later in the year when I announce my next challenge for ARUK.

The clue to the timing of the event is in the title and not only was it a challenge from the point of view of my eyesight, it started in the afternoon and I really find it hard to go out for a run in the afternoon (unless of course I'm already running, if you see what I mean, as I'm very much a morning person).

The event was organised by the same team who brought us the Eastbourne track marathon and it was run along the seawall at Winchelsea which is part of the Rye Harbour nature reserve (I have some lovely photos of that to share from when Mike and I did a walk there recently but I'll save them for another post).

There were going to be lots of people I know there and I had just received a very special shirt to wear for the occasion. Mega Marathoners was set up by Traviss and Rachel and is a friendly and supportive group for people who just love distance running whether it's half, full or ultra marathons. There is no subscription fee to join and there are milestone tee shirts and medals to earn. As it's a completely new venture they just produced tee's for 25 in each category and mine was one of the very first to go out into the wild!

For the second time recently I had a short drive to the venue and when I arrived there were lots of people milling around. I parked up, phoned Mike to let him know I'd arrived in one piece. Then I headed off to registration and as I walked over there were gasps and exclamations with loads of people turning round to look at my shirt - it certainly made an impact!

After much chatter about the new group I spotted James and his mum Becky (with crutches) so we had a good catch-up. Becky is very poorly and has lost so much weight as she's having difficulty eating, poor love.

Then we had to have the first photos of the shirts out in the wild

Although it looks rather cloudy in the photos above it was very hot and the sun baked down on us for ages. There was a brief shower at one stage but that was most welcome and soon dried up. 

This was another out-and-back-loops event and you could do as many laps as you liked within the 6 hour time limit (ie you could start your last lap up to 5 hours 59 minutes but you didn't have to finish your final lap within 6 hours). Thankfully it was all on tarmac tracks which we had to share with fellow dog walkers and cyclists but there weren't many people about really and there was plenty of room for everyone.

I love the colours in this photo - look how the dried heads of Dock stand out against the muted colours of the shingle

After the rain there was a beautiful rainbow

I started taking photos as the light began to fade. Oh my, the colours were so beautiful.

Flocks of birds started preparing for the night

I was fascinated how different the sky looked in each direction.

It was obligatory to wear either a headtorch or carry a hand torch after 7pm so I had to treat myself to one to try it out. There are so many to choose from but I didn't want to spend a fortune on it so settled for the  Petzl Tika headlamp. It took a bit of getting used to but was reasonably comfortable and gave a decent enough light. I haven't tried it in very dark conditions yet. I've already realised that it will be useful in winter when going out to check on Esther in the dark which is an added bonus.

I finished in 5:28:33

The medal glows in the dark!

Part (ii) will follow shortly. I was going to add them altogether but as I seem to have taken 101 photos at the next event I may need to do a bit of a cull!

No comments: