The beauty of this event was that it was only 22 miles from home with no motorway hold-ups to contend with. Pure bliss. Race HQ was based in the village school in the pleasant village of Muddles Green.
As I parked in the field opposite the school I saw Jimi and Sam from the 'Rebel Runners' together with Glen and Kay. Sam was a little worse for wear as he'd done a nighttime marathon with little sleep between finishing and heading over to this one. He paid for it pretty soon! There were a few more familiar faces there at the start and in the photos below you can see Bryan on the right of the photo (Louise is just peeping out from behind my right cheek!) and Glen on the left.
I wore my 100 marathon vest and new cap because I thought I'd probably come last and people might think I'd just had a bad day at the office rather than me being very slow!
|The route description was very detailed|
There were 2 distances to choose from: half marathon or ultra distance. We ultra runners were first to set off at 8am. The route followed part of the Vanguard Way and Weald Way. There was a real mixture of terrain, from running through villages to scrambling through narrow footpaths with shoulder-high nettles either side so I'll just let the photos give a feel for it:
|We ran a few hundred metres along the lane before heading across the first of many fields|
|Bryan and Louise running through Oil-Seed Rape|
|Heading along someones drive which formed part of a public footpath. There was a cheering squad of children with their mum (you can just see them on the left).|
I was fascinated by this plaque and so looked it up and found that it was available as a Home Defence emergency landing ground for the RAF in World War One between 1916 and 1917. This link shows a view of the land as it is now but with a marker of the site.
|Although that path looks nice and grassy it was rutted and hummocky with plenty of trip potential!|
|Yep, we had to squeeze through there|
|We had to go down these steep steps (and you know how much I hate going down steps!) to cross over a railway line and then climb up equally steep steps on the other side|
We passed what looked like part of an old stable complex with an interesting bell tower.
It was part of the Buxted Park Hotel complex. There was an interesting church, St. Margarets, next door. Sadly, my photo was blurry but you can see some images here. I looked it up and was fascinated to learn it has an interesting history. I took this snippet from their website and I think it might be worth a visit next time Mike and I are in the area:
The churchyard has a number of key features:
I saw lots of interesting gates and gateposts throughout so there are a few more photos to come. I loved these 2 eagles as we left the Buxted complex:
|That's Saskia (red hair) running her first ultra marathon with Debbie in front|
|As we neared Ashdown Forest we passed these wrought iron gates with Piglets on them. How appropriate as we entered Winnie the Pooh country!|
|Strawberries growing on a raised pole system|
Although there were A5 size printed booklets of the route or a downloadable GPX file, the Race Director had also been out and marked the whole ultra route with arrows/tape or chalk marks on the road. Apparently one year some tape had been removed and people got lost so this time He put notices up explaining that the tape/arrows were for the safety of us runners.
|We passed several small vineyards|
|Heading into Ashdown Forest|
|A mixture of Gorse and Bracken|
|Heading up towards 'Camp Hill Clump' and some fabulous views (although it was a bit hazy in the distance)|
|The rutted tracks were tricksy|
|See that sandy-coloured track up the hill towards the clump of trees in the distance? Yep, we were heading up there!|
|I had a nice chat with some horse riders on this section but my photo of them was all blurry.|
|This rutted section was even harder to navigate!|
|As I scrambled down this section I looked ahead and realised that we'd be going up to the top of the hill straight ahead in the distance - deep joy!|
|Ooh lovely, a flat bit! That's Louise and Bryan storming ahead.|
|Another nice gate, rather like stems of grass|
|On the home straight, heading for the finish (well, just a few miles away)|
I crossed the finish line in 7:42:30 so well within the time limit (hoorah) and probably could have taken another 15 minutes or more off if I hadn't taken photos (but then it wouldn't have been as much fun!). I later learnt that several people had been pulled off the course as they would have been too far the cut-off which is always tough.
|Leaving marathon 149.........|
|........having completed marathon 150!|
|Another medal for the collection|
|Another lovely handmade mug|
|Now we have a pair we can each have one and we tried them out with our morning coffee|