We have decided the best way to celebrate Rob’s birthday on July 15th is for Rob, Clare and Colin Blyth – the last two no strangers to ultramarathons – to take on the annual Race to the Stones. This is a 100 kilometre route along one the Ridgeway, of Britain’s oldest paths,from Oxfordshire through to Wiltshire. Rob has completed a few marathons but nothing like this.
With just over a month to go we are well into our preparation, with a number of races under our gel-stuffed belts including the Manchester and *Worcester Marathons and Halves in East London and Scunthorpe (Rob’s home town and an excuse to see family and friends). Around that we have put in the miles at weekends, wearing a groove along the banks of the River Lea and New River, both of which meander out into the Hertfordshire countryside. Orson, our dog, has never been fitter and lumbers gamely after the abundant birdlife along the banks, catching them only later in well-earned dreams. Those afternoon naps have certainly caught on in our household. *Clare only!
Our last race before the big one is the Offa’s Dyke 15 next weekend. This is a ridiculously hilly ramble along – or rather up-and-over – the most beautiful countryside in England and Wales with a view of each at either side. It’s another excuse to visit family (Rob’s brother Allan: a three-time veteran of the race) and Rob has prepared by taking the 175 steps at Russell Square tube station daily on his new work commute.
So are we all ready? Of course not. Colin is recovering from a chronic injury he hopes to shake off just in time for the Stones and Rob has a sore calf he has rested completely this weekend and may yet rule him out of Offa’s Dyke, but will not, he wants to assure you, deter him from his birthday treat in July. Clare meanwhile just gets on with it, out again today (Sunday) and straight into the garden to attend to her plants. Thank goodness one of us is invincible!