I took part in last years event which didn’t quite go according to plan. This year I felt better prepared having not only put in extra training but also focused on trying to keep my feet in one piece during the event.
I did however feel so much more nervous than last year – I think a mixture of actually knowing what the event could and most likely would entail, but also the fear of failing AGAIN. I didn’t realise how much it was playing on my mind until the train passed by those famous Tyne Bridges – this was it, no turning back now. (well I could have but it was a long run back to Cambridge if I did)
It was also at this point that it hit home that I would be doing this without my running buddy, Alistair. It would later hit me (hard) how much I missed his company. As I left Alistair, his wife Lauren and my own wife Nicola (who once again would be spending her birthday chasing down her husband across muddy fields) I felt sick. I felt excited and if the truth be told quite emotional.
The train across from Newcastle to Carlisle was packed full of other runners – it was however difficult to strike up a conversation to pas the time. I tried with one girl who looked like she may be running it, but upon me asking “you running?” .. she looked confused before answering .. “no I’m on the train !!”
As we arrived in Carlisle the first thing that was (very) different from last year was the weather – it was dry. It was actually sunny. As we arrived last year we could have charted a small fishing boat to take us from the station to the Castle. A rather uneventful registration (apart from some bloke trying to feed me some kind of flapjack which to be honest tasted like 3 day old socks wrapped in pine nuts – I tried to be polite and swallow but couldn’t stomach it and proceeded to yak it back up into the one thing that was in my hand – my hat. The poor bloke looked shocked and moved away)
It was as I was leaving I got my first “Hey, are you that guy from YouTube?” comment … This made me smile as I nodded. “Good luck this year, you can do it” he followed up …. Made me smile even more …
I was staying outside of Carlisle .. which after last years events (read 4am no sleep due to clubbers outside my window) was a godsend. The Taxi driver, after hearing me chat about the following days events, proceeded to inform me that there was a really nice 6 mile run around the hotel if I fancied it …. err no thanks. Strangely the receptionist also made this recommendation and also how well equipped their gym was.
No thanks …. just show me where I can eat the animals !
Dinner and my usual pre race pint of the Black stuff and it was time to hit the sack – but not before another chap asked me if I was that YouTube bloke ….
Right time to get some sleep …. they say today had been the Longest Day but as I my head hit the pillow (or rather some flimsy excuse for a pillow) I had sneaky feeling tomorrow would run it a very close second.
I also realised my hat still smelt of pine nuts ..