Monday 1 February 2016

My Inspiration for the Dukeries 30.

Sarah - Soaked but happy after our first training run at Tealby
Sarah Chapman is my inspiration for entering the Dukeries Ultra and I'll write more of my own story at some point.  For now, I'm starting where I left off my last post.   You may recall, I was writing more or less writing 'live' towards the end of it, as I got the news direct from Sarah in A & E where she was getting her dodgy ankle looked at.  The good news is that is isn't a stress fracture.  The bad news is that she has been advised to take 2 weeks off running and then begin running again gradually.  Naturally, she is gutted, especially as she's entered for the Rauceby Ripper (which I've renamed the Raspberry Ripple as it makes it sound more pleasant) next weekend and the Dukeries 10 and Caythorpe Dash the following weekend.  Sarah loves all the off-road and muddy stuff so this loss is as gutting / frustrating / upsetting for her as my disappointment when injury put me out training for the Manchester marathon last year.

I am hoping that this is a temporary set-back and that if she rests a while, listens to her foot and trains carefully she'll soon be back enjoying running again and we will pick up our adventure from where we left off.  So in the spirit of being positive and expecting the best possible outcome, let's get this journey started with a bit of an insight into how Sarah got into this crazy idea.

What’s your age and how long have you been running?

I'm 44 and I ran my first mile in December 2011 having been out for a walk, stopped at the pub for a drink and *himself asked me if I fancied seeing if I could run the mile home. I joined CRC in January 2012 and haven't looked back.

* this is how Sarah sometimes refers to her fella, (and our co-team leader) Mike Wells

What is the longest distance you have run so far?

The furthest I've run is (26.2 miles) Chester marathon 2014. Despite saying I would never do a marathon, it has to have been one of my best running experiences ever.

What’s your favourite race distance?

I've established that I'm not built for speed so would have to say that my preferred distance is a half marathon - for that satisfying sense of achievement but at a nice steady rhythm that doesn't feel as though you've almost killed yourself

In a nutshell, what inspired / possessed you / gave you the desire to run 30 miles?

As for why I'm doing Dukeries, well...we spend a fair amount of time in the car, travelling to bonkers races that Mike's doing all over the place and generally, that's when lots of plans come to fruition. I can't remember the exact occasion but we were discussing whether I'd changed my mind about another marathon.  Having vowed after Chester exceeding my expectations, that I'd never do another in case it didn't go so well, I remember saying that if I did, I'd choose an off road one as it would be a different experience and there wouldn't be the pressure of trying to beat a previous time. In true Mike style, he told me that in that case, I might as well do an ultra as it's not much further and actually easier(!) due to feed stations and expectation to walk anything more uphill than a speed bump :-).

He suggested Dukeries on the basis of having done it (and won, although I think I may have missed that*!) and knowing it was on good trails with very little in the way of hills.  It’s also not too far from home so therefore plenty of recce opportunities.  Also, because I'd done the 10 mile route last year, I kind of knew what to expect so the seed was set. I pondered for a while, talking myself in, out and back in again but then decided, sod it, why not. My foot was healing* and having been forced out as a result of the injury, I realised that even though I grumble about it sometimes, I wanted to run and to experience that buzz, the sense of achievement and satisfaction of doing something I never dreamed possible and after all, what had I got to lose?!  Mike was his usual excitable self and wasted no time in telling people, I'd have preferred to keep it to myself for a while, until I'd got my head round it a bit more but actually, the support and enthusiasm was amazing and the icing on the cake was you* wanting to join me and then the other girls* coming on board too. I'm scared, I won't deny it, it's massive but we're in it together and that's going to make all the difference :-) 

*Guilty as charged. Mike completed the Dukeries 30 so quickly last year, that not only did Sarah, Frankie & Tina and Chris & I miss his finish, but the RD wasn’t there either.  Apparently he later said that he wasn’t expecting anyone to complete the course that quickly!

*Sarah suffered a stress fracture last year.

*That’s me

*Not surprisingly, the collective term ‘the other girls’ includes Frankie Thomas, who will be the subject of my next post and the other girls will also have their say.

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