Nick runs for the Richard Thomas Leukaemia Fund

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Some images from the charity run. Click on the images to expand them.

Some words from Nick after a successful run

After weeks of continuous rain, the sun broke through the clouds at 7pm on Friday the 22 June and the clouds stayed away for 19 hrs 59 mins, which also happens to be the time it took the Hammer Harriers to complete the 100 mile Ultra Trail South West coastal course. We were delighted with the time, beating our target by four hours.

I drew the Golden Ticket, and took the first stage - getting it out of the way so I could then relax and enjoy the unrivalled scenery of the South West Coast in our support vehicle together with numerous Cornish pasties.

Our success was largely due to the detailed planning of our skipper, Tom Wright. As a local he knew all the routes and put together a great schedule.

We arrived at Watergate Bay for registration and race briefing at 3:30. It was unsettling to learn there were less than 80 participants in the race and only 8 relay teams. What followed was the usual logistics and course route briefing, with the exception of a warning about Adders. I bumped into a friend who happened to be at Watergate Bay Hotel with his family and he expressed an interest in doing the 2013 race. Nota bene.

Having the home advantage we went back to team HQ in Truro, via the nursery to pick on Olive, the four year old team physio (age, not time in job). I changed into my mostly borrowed race gear and mixed electrolytes and made a final selection from a huge array of race snacks (no room for the pork pie from my mother-in-law). Had a few moments to say hi to Milly and Holly (runners three and four) , who had just driven down from Chester via Coventry and we scarpered to the race start.

Arrived at Porthleven, 18:30. I spent at least 10 summer holidays at this place. Endurance Life flags fluttering in the very strong wind. The familiar shops were long gone. The most striking change to the village was that the old pub at the end of the harbour which would have once been full of old sea dogs had been converted into an Indian restaurant. My sentimentality didn't override my appetite however and my mouth started watering at the idea of Peshwari naan. Alas it was closed.

Tom and Nadia were with me for the send-off. A photo and a count down, no starting gun, no fireworks, just a guy shouting GO... very British.

With Porthleven out of sight, the race was well and truly on. One guy who liked the sound of his own voice repeatedly bellowed, "the hills are the time for hydration, take hydration now!". This alone (perhaps a failed PE teacher) was enough of an irritation to spur me on to overtake as many people as I could to find the space this scenery deserved. The tutting and murmurs of "this is a marathon not a sprint" were a small price to pay.

Once clear of the PE teacher it was pure tranquillity. I took loads of video and a few pictures (attached). Loved the fact the course went directly past Porth-en-Alls in Prussia Cove where we once stayed for a very memorable family holiday.

The first checkpoint was in sight of St Michaels Mount. I "dibbed in" here with our GPS markers gulped down two waters, put on a knee brace as a preventative measure and set off. I was ahead of my target pace by this time slowed down to save some energy for the Mousehole to Lamorna Cove, having been warned this would be my "Everest". My legs were beginning to tighten by this stage.

The sun had set and I put on the head torch, turned on music and gritted my teeth. Jeff Buckley, Villagers, Gil Scott-Heron and of course some Elbow amongst others accompanied me along this treacherous path, delivering me safely within sight of the lights of Lamorna Cove. I handed over to a poised Tom at 10:45 pm, 15 mins ahead of schedule.

Once back at HQ I had planned to have a few glasses of burgundian muscle relaxant and the drift off to sleep. It was more like "Nil by Mouth". I just lay awake buzzing with unspent sugar and caffine and no thirst.

Holly, ,Olive and Nadia set off at 6am the next day to collect Tom after his epic 36 mile run through the night. He had reported in through the night with a few "mishaps" but strode in looking strong at Carbis Bay.

The rest was pure poetry as Milly and Holly carved their way along the remaining 44 miles both setting blistering times. By this stage, the support driver Nadia could take it no more and had to get out there and run with her sister.

So, together, the Durrant Sisters took on the final 11 miles. The drama was mounting by this stage as for the first time in the day we saw another runner threatening our third place. He too was running at a blistering pace and came from nowhere as if hunting down the Durrants. From then on the "Terminator" hunted his prey and only once broke from character when he asked us for some Vaseline. I thought we were toast. At this point tom advised me to re-think, "never underestimate the grit of the Durrant Sisters". It turned out he was part of a team placed by the army - no match for the durrants.

They out-ran him and we came in a third team place at 19hrs 59mins. However, according to the race website the caption on Hammer Harriers team photo promote us to second place - maybe one of the teams were disq??.

The course will be held on a different stretch of the SW coast path in 2013. If you are interested in taking part, Tom is looking for male and female participants to put together 1 or more teams. Highly recommended.

Thanks to all and see you all soon.


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