The day saw a weather warning over the whole of the British Isles for the arse-end of hurricane Bertha who had been raging out in the Atlantic and was hitting land, so we were to expect heavy rain and wind.
Driving in to Salisbury there were a couple of downpours en route and it was looking like it could be ideal running conditions for August by being overcast, not too hot and the occasional shower to cool us off.
This was all a huge contrast to last year with the temperature in the mid 20's with not a cloud in the sky.
After collecting my number I bumped into Moose who had entered the ultra in prep for his Marathon des Sables jaunt next spring and wished him all the best in his race.
|Moose on the rampage.|
|A soggy start.|
After a couple of miles on the hill up to the castle, I caught up with him and ran beside him having a chat, mostly to help and keep him awake and his spirits up, as he was pretty much doing a good impression of a zombie, which was understandable having been on his feet for nigh on 36 hours at this point through his covering of the 100 miles! It was a pleasure being able to chat with him again on his record breaking journey - the 100 miler had been an interesting experience for him with hurricane Bertha in effect for part of the journey and the trail cutting-up under foot making it pretty treacherous because of all the rain.
Shortly after leaving marathon man behind (normally he’s way in front of me being a pretty quick runner, but the 100 miles might just have taken a little pace from his legs today), I bumped in to another legend of the marathon circuit: Brian Mills.
I haven’t seen Brian at a race in a while as he mostly runs on tarmac rather than trail, so I figured he must be closing in on 1,000 marathons - yep you read that right 1,000 marathons... I asked where he was at on the count, and today was number 998, with the big one happening in Longford two weeks hence. They were making him a race number of 1,000 for it. With that sheer number of events under his belt, I asked Brian what he has done with all his race numbers etc. He told me he keeps them all filed away safely, as well as the medals!
Whilst we didn’t have the gale force winds from hurricane Bertha promised by the forecasters, we had the showers of rain and fairly low cloud, so all the views were pretty much shrouded from view over the first 2/3 of the run… Nothing to it but to put the head down and concentrate on the running rather than gazing at the surroundings for a change, with not much of a point to stop for photos as a consequence.
After around 6 miles and making good time, the first of the ultra runners caught and overtook us, with Moose well-up the field!.. It was shortly after Moose and the rest of the cream of the ultra field owning most of us mediocre marathoners, that I bumped into a chap called Richard McDonald who was running a pretty similar pace to me and we spent the next few miles having a good chat about why we do these things and life in general.
|Rain over, but clouds still overhead.|
We were chatting about names at one point and he told me of a couple of brothers who were at his school, Alan and Peter Ness... It makes you wonder if their parents really thought through the consequences of naming their boys like that.
|One of the few vistas we viewed owing to the cloud finally clearing.|
|Yomping through the Yew forest.|
With a fair bit of solitary running being done, this race's shuffle selection was:
To the World (Lifting Club Experience) - ORGAN
Can U Dig it? - PWEI
She’s Got Time - Newton Faulkner
Viva City - Adamski
Bohemian Like You - Dandy Warhols
God is a DJ - Faithless
Summer Rain - Belinda Carlisle
Be Mine - David Gray
Mr.Integrity - L7
Two Sisters - The Kinks
Sheigra - Finitribe
Hands Open - Stone Roses
Tell Me - Stone Roses
Promises - Sugababes
The Guitar - They Might be Giants
Swamp Thing - The Grid
Super Trouper - Abba
Bump - Fun Lovin Criminals
Gambit - XCNN
Going Down - Stone Roses
Right Here Right Now - Jesus Jones
Whale of a Tail - Finitribe
So Hard - Pet Shop Boys