Have you ever done a race where you don't know how far you have to run? OK then, how about one where you don't know what you have to wear? This is a risk you take when you have your stag do at a race.
I had some ideas as to what might be involved, a Mankini, a Badger Costume, Gimp outfit or total nudity. My friends decided to embrace my love of triathlon and make me wear one of those ridiculous unitards that triathletes often sport.
It was great to be here with lots of friends and no girls. There were about 15 of us doing various races in the middle of a weekend of drinking and other stuff. Obviously I can't go into detail as to what happened on all the other days but I can go on about what it's like to run a race in an outfit where you have to get completely naked just to go for a wee.
I started at 8.30 with Ben, Mark, Kris and Drew and made our way over the beautiful landscape of Devon. It was not nearly as hilly or as muddy as Dorset a couple of months back but there were still some interesting hills. However I was a little tender from less than ideal ultramarathon preparation and had to make a stop early on to do what the Pope does in the woods. The problem was the route was very exposed and bushes were as hard to come by as they were in Oklahoma. I asked Kris if he had any toilet roll, he didn't but then a guy who was running with us offerered me his hat. Was it rude of me to decline the polite offer of a guy wanted me to wipe my arse with his hat?
Anyhoo I managed to get some toilet roll from Mark and found a suitable spot to get naked in. The guys left at that point and I hoped to catch them up but never really had the energy to get moving. I was getting a little chilly in my unitard and feeling quite sleepy.
Around 10 miles in the course loops onto itself and you can see the runners who are out in front and a few of them were way ahead, running up the hill faster than I was running down. There were a few sections of road due to some diversions put in as a result of some land slips. Endurance life did a great job once more ensuring that an excellent race was put on despite these problems. On the return loop I saw Jonno and Ian who were running the marathon and started after me. They were holding hands and skipping along with gay abandon. I saw Mark Bell and Alex Pearson later on coming the other way too.
I did overhear someone look at me and say "oh look, it's a triathlete". That hurt. It was a genius costume idea though, it's not like I was dressed as a fairy or a badger or something, it looked like I had deliberately worn this for some sort of performance benefit.
Soon after the half marathon runners merged in with us as is usually the case in these events and saw Oli and Neil Bryant who were running the half. Then I was passed by a load of relatively fresh runners in the half marathon and was assuming that we were now on the same course and that I'll finish with them. I did not think it was right when Andy Taylor passed me to say that there were only 2 miles left. I didn't think I had run 24 miles but was a little hopeful that I may have got it all wrong and I had run a lot further than thought but alas no, when the half marathon runners reached the "1 mile to go" sign I was on 21 miles.
It was going to be hit and miss as to whether I was going to make the cut off of 5.45 for the marathon to be allowed to continue with the ultra. This became an issue when I reached the 25.4 mile checkpoint to be told that the marathon finish is another 3 miles away. There was 5.30 on the clock so I had 15 minutes to run 3 miles? Unlikely. When I got to the finish to see lots of my friends there I was told that the cut off had been extended and that I could carry on, but I figured I had done enough for one day and stopped there to have fish and chips instead. 28 miles was enough to run in a unitard.
Another great day and great event. Have a look at Kris Duffy's amazing photos.