Big Day of the Summer Greenman 45 Mile Ultra!
Updated: Jul 22, 2022
We finished it in good time, but it was so much harder than I was expecting as half of it was off road. No major injuries though - just a grazed and very bruised arm from falling over just 1 mile from the finish!!
Steve said he would drive me to the start point (so glad he was there to drive me back again!) and pick up Rory enroute. We had to get up at the unearthly hour of 4.45am to leave at 5.45am to pick Rory up at about 6.30am. The run started at 8.00am but we had to be at the start by 7.30am at the latest to register.
Rory was very organised with preparation the night before and breakfast!
As was I!
But I'm not looking too happy when we got to Rory's! It was a bit chilly, but I'm sure I'll perk up later!
Arrived at the start in plenty of time (thank goodness!) so we could relax a bit.
Got registered and waited for the start. Felt quite confident at this point!
And off we went!
Out of Ashton Court, past the Suspension Bridge, up to The Downs, back down from The Downs, through Sea Mills, through the golf course and on to Blaize. Much of this is a bit of a blur (I'm using the route in the handbook as a reminder!).
I think the following photos are taken (by the photogorapher) in the Blaise Castle Estate but I wouldn't be 100% sure! I'm sure it's before CP1 though - I think. I hadn't realised there was so much off road trail running. This was going to take it's toll on my legs and slow us down! Still keeping up with the 11 hour Timelord though!
On to Henbury, over the M5, through Aztec West Business Park and towards Patchway Brook. Still keeping up with the 11 hour Timelord but we were surprised at how fast he was going. We thought we had bags of time! At this rate we would finish in 9 hours! Little did we know what was to come! Through Stoke Gifford, over the M32 and onto CP2 at The White Horse Pub in Hambrook.
Can do uphills - it's the fields and styIes I was battling with!
Found it difficult to keep up with the 11 hour timelord so we dropped back a little bit before CP2, just a couple of minutes.
Thought I had plenty of time to change into my vest top at CP2 as it was quite warm, have something to eat and top up my water before the Timelord left - but he was off so soon! Starting to feel a bit worried. I was drinking enough but I definitely wasn't managing to eat enough.
Fatigue was beginning to set in and we weren't even half way through. Why was the timelord going so fast??
We left CP2 in a bit of a hurry so that we didn't fall too far back, but I was finding it very difficult at this point. My bad toe was starting to get a bit sore but it wasn't too bad so I managed to keep going. Poor Rory would have been miles head by now but he kept filming and photographing (bless him!). It proved to be a very, very long way to CP3 where Steve would be waiting at the Tollgate Pub near Keynsham with dry clothes, food, etc.
We headed towards Frome Valley Walkway to follow Frome River, hoping it wasn't going to be as muddy as the last time we ran down there! So many styles! I think it was at about this point that my legs were becoming very heavy and Rory was having to haul me over them!
Through the underpass under the M4, onto Dramway, past the Brandy Bottom Colliery (which I remember from a previous run), past the landfill, and finally a bit of downhill. We were about 25 miles in at this point.
I was now beginning to feel really uncomfortable and beginning to doubt that I could do this. I must have been mad to think I could run 45 miles! My legs were aching and heavy, my toe was sore and I couldn't get over the styles without lifting my legs over and falling onto Rory! And we were only just over half way! Also, the 11 hour Timelord had disappeared out of sight and I know Rory was starting to worry about whether we would finish within the 12 hours (although he didn't say so!).
On our way to Warmley where Sophie was going to be waiting with refreshments. Needed to stop somewhere around here to put my gel thingy on my foot as it was really burning!
Soon past marathon distance and onto the Bristol Bath Cycle Path.
Not quite sure when we got to Warmley but it was relief to find Sophie there with water refills and goodies! It was still quite a way to CP3 but much of it was on tarmac so it was a bit easier to run.
I thought we were really close to CP3 but it was still miles away! On to Willsbridge Mill, alongside the River Avon for a bit and then towards the lock on the canal. Really close now.
Finally, there was Steve and the car at the Lockkeeper Pub, CP3!
Not looking too happy at this point, as you can see! Difficult to describe Steve's face when we got there - was it concern or disbelief! All I wanted to do was change (I was beginning to chafe a bit!) and eat something! Changed in the car - I really didn't care at this point and there wasn't time to go to the loo - had a banana and a good stretch. At least we were over half way but I had never felt so exhausted.
Anyway, I was starting to feel a bit better, but when the 12 hour Timelord turned up I was very concerned (and so was Rory!). We really were going to run out of time if we didn't get a move on! I don't quite know where it came from (perhaps my banana!) but we shot off at a similar pace to the start!
Onto Albert Mill, and alongside the River Chew until 32.3 miles done! On to the village of Woollard.
20k to go (according to Rory!)
Not quite sure where we were when this photo was taken but it was somewhere on the way to CP4 where the cows were having a paddle!
Cows in the water (lucky things!). It was really hot now! Almost at Pensford (I think!). Some really tough, rocky, footpaths on the way. Now we understood why the 11 hour Timelord got such a move on in the first half!
Through Pensford and down through Culvery Wood to CP4. Nearly there!!
Through CP4 (which was a bit of a blur!) with just 15k to go but with a big climb!
Photos are a bit blurry but this was a very steep and rugged climb! Very, very tiring and slow going. Didn't want to fall or twist anything now!
And then on to Walnut Farm, Dundry Village, and eventually this very difficult field! The view was beautiful but the field was steep and slanted to one side. It got worse in the next field at the top and we were concerned that we may have made a wrong turn. It was so steep and uneven that I had to crawl up it so I didn't fall over. Not good when we were both tired and concerned about finishing in under 12 hours!
Anyway, we survived! About 4 miles to go and on towards Long Ashton.
More stiles, fields and rocky roads. At this point I must have been running on auto-pilot. My legs were still functioning but nothing else was! My toes were sore and I thought I had done something nasty to one of my toe-nails. I could just about manage to climb up the relentless number of stiles but could only get over them by falling onto Rory the other side!
7k to go! Almost at Long Ashton.
Just 3.8k to go! There was a really muddy bit at some point but I can't remember quite where. All this way with nice clean trainers! Could have been worse though - it could have been at the beginning!
The very last climb! It was very steep so I had to walk this bit. Unfortunately, when we crossed our final road before the final climb, I managed to fall over! It had to happen at some point! Had a nasty graze on my arm but I didn't feel too bad. I caught the kerb as we were running onto the path.
All downhill from here to the finish! Past the deer park at Ashton Court, across Ashton Park school playing field, under the two sets of goal posts and over the finish line at 11 hours and 17 minutes! Can't believe we made it - but we did!
Few injuries and muddy trainers but nothing serious (although, as I'm writing this a week later, my arm is now black & blue!)
It's a day I'm never going to forget! Can't believe we actually did it! Got my t-shirt, certificate, massive medal and a few 'war wounds', but it's amazing how quickly the memories of pain disappear! Might even do it again next year if Rory's up for it!
Time to start preparing for the Bristol Half Marathon in just three weeks time!
It's not too late to still make a donation to my JustGiving Page at https://www.justgiving.com/team/Sues45mileultra . Thank you so much to those who already have, and have continued to support me during the preparations for this challenge!
Many thanks for reading. Sue