The sun rose majestically over the Chiltern hills, lighting up the snow kissed ground with a warming sparkle. I looked up at the blue sky as the little fluffy quite clouds swooped into formation to reveal an inspiring meme. The letters were hard to make out as the clouds had assembled into a Helvetica font but I think it said;
"Only those who risk going too far will ever end up in Brentford"
The main event for the Country to Capital is the Race to the Gate. A 200m sprint to get onto the trail before the people with Hokas get there and clog it up. I've generally ranked quite high in this and even higher now that many previous podium finishers have had their results nulled due to steroid abuse.
I won the race to the gate easy but then stopped in Costa for a latte. Plue I had to run back and pick up my starting blocks. Loads of people passed me but I was not too bothered, I'd catch up when I'd had my caffeine.
There are a couple of hills early on. I eat hills for breakfast (and double sausage McMuffins). I made light work of them until I spotted two enormous immovable objects in the distance blocking my path. At first I thought it was the the mighty pairing of Wes Morgan and Robert Huth for Leicester City last season.
I got closer and realised it was not the defensive dreadnoughts but Drew Sheffield's calves.
I realised running past was not an option. The only way to overtake was to feign to the left and then deploy the safety whilstle with it's unusually long chord (often seen as a design error on the One Direction Harry S pack but I quite like it) and lassoo it onto a branch ahead and swing forward. I nailed it perfectly with a satisfying peep.
In the dark dark woods there is a beast. The Black Park Badger. With steel claws and shinny nose, razorback hair and snazzy clothes. It terrifies the residents with towering height and it's deafening roar. I heard the trees fall in the woods as the menacing beast approached to tuck into his favourite food - ultra runner roullade.
I got past it easy enough though. Just kicked it's face off.
After a bit of traditional English tapas at one of the checkpoints there was an almighty blizzard. Proper apocalyptic sideways snow that showed the Daily Express weather reports to be right all along. The wind was so strong that it's force lifted a carrier bag off the ground and sent it hurtling towards my head. It was only the good fortune of stepping onto some spilled GU and momentarily being stuck to a complete halt that saved me from certain death.
It was not long before we were on the canal. I do love running on the canal but it can be frustrating tripping over the sun loungers. But this is the time to pick up the pace and I decided I wanted to win this time so I picked up the jogging speed.
I passed Jen Bradley and Gary Kiernan who were just messing about taking selfies, reading all the info boards and ticking off bridge numbers in their bridge-spotting books. They were loving the canal. I chatted for a bit but they were a bit weird, especially when Gary yelled "Let's cuddle a goose!"
Booming on down the canal further I saw a bloke stood by the turning who didn't know which way to go. He said "I have the map in my bag which will tell me whether I should turn left or go straight on but I can't be arsed with that so I posted the question on the URC instead. I'm waiting for a proper answer, the first three comments are all "Tailwind"".
I said "Well, I am turning left but we are all an experiment of 1 so that might not be the best thing for you. Just enjoy it and you'll be fine".
Keen to plod on, I knew I still had a couple of people to smash off.
It must have been Southall, that place where the bridge tells you to fuck off where I saw Jim Walmsley twonking out 6.10s on the canal. I jogged up beside him as he was watching a live feed of his own strava collecting record breaking kudos and smashing the "Denham doggers dash" segment CR by 34 seconds.
Bollocks I forgot to strava this. Now it totally won't count as my 1000th ultra.
Anyway Jim was going a bit slow for my liking and I had a train to catch in 20 minutes so figured I should try and get these 12 miles done with a bit of gusto. I Said my goodbyes to Jim and that I'll probably see him again at Western States when I get a special celebrity place and jogged on.
I finished the 43 mile race in just under 3 hours, which I thought was pretty good given that I was wearing a puffer jacket all the way. Kylie was there to present me my medal and give me a massage to help uncreak my legs a bit. I got undressed and lay on the couch as she left the room and said they will return with the oil.
I must have dozed off a bit because suddenly I woke with a jolt and my wife nudging me and saying "can you not hear that screaming? It's your turn to settle him down."
"What time is it"?
"Blimey. It's hard to tell what's real nowadays."