CBH (or GBH as Phil calls him) has asked me to send something out about our boys weekend away doing the “Epic” Ring Of Fire 135 Ultra race where you circumnavigate around the beautiful Island of Anglesey. CBH rants on a little doesn’t he so I will try and keep this short as possible (very hard). First of all, before we even got to the start line last Friday, the amount of well-wishers, and good luck message from everyone, especially the Helsby RC posse was nothing short of amazing and gave us all the boost we needed.
We arrived at Hollyhead Breakwater Park all a little nervous and were praying for good weather, strong winds and a cloudy sky greeted us but thankfully the rain stayed off until later that night so we touched lucky. CBH went off like he was a Gazelle being chased by a Lion, (he was the Gazelle I was the Lion) and if it wasn’t for his constant “selfies” he might have had a good chance of finishing 1st on that day, endless climbs up and down beautiful countryside summed up day 1 and over 6500ft of the total weekends 13000ft ascent/descent was on this first day. I eventually caught up with him and we managed to finish Day 1 together after taking a wrong turn after some great advice from Boydy. Phil came in a few hours later and we were all wondering where Ste Wiggo was and getting a little worried, for him to stroll in to our digs for the night at a leisure centre with a big smile on his face around 10.30pm that night, as only Wiggo could! Showers, food and a little sleep all put us in good spirits for day 2, which was the one I certainly feared the most.
To run 65 miles in a day is a massive effort, to run it, after having very little sleep and after being woken up at 4.45am (by CBH’s trombone like bum) is pretty hard. We all took off from the Leisure centre we had stayed at, no injuries, just tired legs and frazzled brains from day 1, the only way personally I could see myself getting around today was to break the day up into little chunks, so hour by hour, we kept ticking off the miles, coming into the checkpoints to a lot of smiling faces, especially from Jackie and Bill, I for one, cannot thank the you enough if you took the time to come and cheer us on at some point, you really were inspiring me to keep on going, even though my face didn’t look like I appreciated it at times, hearing “green army” chants was just what I needed to hear. Again myself and CBH spent a lot of time together day 2 (this has led to rumours I know!) meeting new friends along the way, sharing stories, and really looking forward to our Ice Cream at Beaumaris and seeing CBH’s family who had travelled down for the day to cheer him on, whilst I was having some food, his 2 little lads chatted away to me, and it took all the pain away from my tiring legs, we came through the half-way point, changed clothes, and foolishly for me changed socks, which is where it all started to go downhill for me personally. Blisters! If you’ve had them before then you will know what I’m talking about, but I had blisters on blisters, and for the last 35 miles of day 2 felt like I was running on pins, it really was excruciating pain. Our aim was to get in before the dark, which we managed to do, just, 6am – 8.15pm, over 14 hours running/walking and we had finished day 2. This is where I have total respect for Phil Roberts and Ste Wiggins, for Phil to navigate at night, and also to come in at 3.05am, have 1 hours sleep, and then get up and go again on the last day amazes me, I think I would have given up, and although Ste got pulled up at 4am and 60 miles into the 65 he needed to complete, which was the cut-off point, he would have no doubt continued to run and probably would have gone into day 3 without any sleep if he would have been allowed to.
I was that tired that next morning, that day 3 was all about just finishing, whether I ran or walked. We got to the start line at 6am that Sunday morning, only 60 ish people had now managed to make this point out of 131 starters, and everyone shuffled out of Almwch down onto the beach for the last 33.6 miles. Straight away, every step hurt my blisters, but I’d come this far so wasn’t giving up now, we seen Phil just before the race started and he looked in good spirits even with 1 hours sleep. We came into one of the check points to find bacon and sausage butties were on offer which cheered me right up, although I was now struggling to eat anything and drink anything. Another day of plodding and ticking off miles on what was a cracking day weather-wise, although this did lead to sunburnt Calves, neck and ears!! Forgot the Factor Fitzy. My only regret from the last day was I could not keep up with CBH, when you do something like this you don’t want to slow people down, or be the one who has to leave someone behind, so we had agreed all weekend we will do our own thing, only think there was 25 mins difference in the end, plenty of smiling Helsby faces at all the checkpoints again, especially, Jackie, Bill and Laura. I really did think I would get lost a lot more than I did on this course, but I had to finish in style didn’t I, taking a slightly wrong turn which meant I came across the finish line backwards! The event photographer made me run over the finish line the correct way, and this just finished me off.
Have spoken to all the lads since, we are have a lot more stories we can tell you all, we were all down and out for a few days after, some calling in sick, some with temperatures, some with rock like calves, and if your out for drinks on Friday, I will be sure to tell you all about them. Last mention must go to Gareth Boyd, who was like a personal maid, most of the weekend, running to get us coffee, helping with our bags etc, I really do appreciate it and can’t wait to see you run this next year, I will be supporting you mate!
Was that short enough 🙂