Well we did it. At 7:30 am on a damp field we joined hundreds of others in various states of readiness and anxiety. We had been sent a lovely inspirational video from KL by El-Ri and the kids (thanks everyone!) and now truly had no idea what to expect but here is a summary, in lieu of a mile-by-mile account:
Conditions – could not have been better, overcast but dry all day long. Sun or rain would have turned our feet into blistered remnants.
The Course – stunning! From meandering stretches of the Thames up through wooded hills onto the spine of the famous Ridgeway, with fabulous views of Oxfordshire and Wiltshire, punctuated by dips into some picturebook village or other. All clearly marked with helpful arrows fixed pointing onwards (and onwards).
Pitstops – stationed every 10k on average, the pitstops had everything a tiring body could desire, except maybe a taxi. As well as the expected bananas and energy bars there were drinks, cakes, chocolate, plus porridge and peanut butter on toast (two of Clare’s favourite things). Add to that portaloos and water tanks for emptying and filling bladders respectively, and even folding chairs to collapse into and regenerate.
Latter Stages – After halfway was uncharted territory and the walks – up to then for hills only – became longer and more frequent. As the gloom gathered the headtorches went on and the feet and legs got sore, but we were always going to finish. Tim and wife Alicia were at the penultimate pitstop with our dog Orson to offer encouragement, and Tim was also there at the finish, on the stroke of midnight and a mere 16.5 hours after we started.
Money Raised – Now to the important bit. It looks like we have raised over £2,500 once Gift Aid is added in. Once again, Clare and I are humbled by the generosity of friends.