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Avast me hearties, this is an event you all must try.  It throws at you moors and bogs with thigh deep mud crossings. I was just thankful I was not any shorter.

(To find the next time this event runs, click here)

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Our eyes were treated to scenes of delight despite the dreary misty start. Into the Yorkshire moors, our feet were treated to slick mud following where smugglers trod.

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As the sun broke through the clouds, a carnival of pirates and wenches abounded at CP2.

Behind the carnival scene, runners and walkers alike disappeared off towards a meandering river and a rocky path that would try to catch Red in their teeth.

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The path would follow a scenic sticky muddy rocky tour.  Historic walls and caves for smugglers to follow. Perhaps this was a place to hide one's bounty?

1799 - what a year!

We wandered further, climbing banks and crossing bridges to finally see views of Yorkshire's coastline. As we passed through the final village, the fish and chip shop had a queue so long it snaked into town. Had to pull TG away from the drooling outside the shop.

And then we climbed a "Cardiac Arrest" hill. It was so steep TG was nearly crawling on the ground. The town saw pity and threw money into bucket and we raised £61 for Earthwatch. A very generous bounty.

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Finally at the end, none of us escaped the muddy trails, not even Chamey who tried to stay well away from the ground.

Pies and chips were a welcome feast.
A certificate and badge to tell the end.
And a Smugglers Trod swag bag to take away our spoils.

This is a brilliant event and definitely worth doing even though it is about 1 and a bit miles shy of a marathon distance. Unfortunately can't count it as part of my 100, but this event is certainly one of my favourites and hope to be back in the area in the future.

Thank you George and your team of fantastic volunteers who really made the event so fun.

Thank you to everyone who donated.

 
 
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Type of Race: Route description, self navigation
Course: It’s the Chiltern Hills so it was hilly at first and at the end but mostly flat
Route Description: Personally thought it was excellent.
Organisation and volunteers: Fantastic
Food: Biscuits and water at 5 CPs
Weather: Dry and hot (20s degrees celcius)
Start Time: 07:00
Location: Ruislip Fire Station

We had just arrived at the fire station, and a participant approached TG.
Participant:  So what’s your tyre’s name?
TG: Red
Participant:  But it’s orange!
TG: It’s all about primary colours.
Participant: Oh I get it…..



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After the last marathon's conversation about colours, TG excused herself about needing to visit the loo (toilet). So Chamy and I (yes we do not go everywhere with TG, despite what people say) decided to play on a fire engine. Whilst Chamy climbed up, I got chatting to a cute fire truck tyre with a lovely rim.

TG had other ideas and so we were pulled off to listen to the RD (Nick) about healthy and safety on the course. Bucket was not too happy about the idea of having to cross two golf ranges and Nick's joke about bucket being used for target practice, left bucket feeling a little apprehensive.


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It was time to hit the streets! As TG pulled us out of the fire station, bucket wanted to turn back.

Bucket:   TG, Ruislip is in London. This is going to have awful scenery and you’re tired. We should just quit now whilst we’re ahead
Red: Don’t know what you’re worried about. I’ll probably get hit first.
TG:  Errr - I’m the bigger object….anyway it’ll be good to see a new area of London. It's supposed to weave into the Chiltern Hills.

We headed onto the Hillingdon Trail and were all surprised about how country-fide it all looked.


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Our fourth last hill was at the bottom of the last golf course. TG belted across as golfers fired away. Bucket became a quivering wreck and by the time we had completed, bucket was trying to hide in me.

Silly bucket!

Thank you to everyone who donated (£20). All your donations will go to Earthwatch.....and special thanks to the man who stopped his car and threw coins at us, at this point bucket was hiding.

This is an enjoyable marathon and a great way to explore another part of London :-)

This is the 27th Marathon, but only the second one for the year.

 
 
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Type of Race: Route description, self navigation
Course: First 25 miles, mostly flat and some minor hills. Last 15 miles, there were quite a few steep hills. Ground was muddy from the last couple of rainy days.
Route Description: Personally thought it was excellent.
Organisation and volunteers: Excellent
Food: When there was some, very good. Carrot cake was divine at CP2
Weather: Dry and perfect (10 degrees celcius and overcast)
Start Time: 07:00
Location: Henley Upon Thames


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Dear Organisers,

Please can I pull my tyre, Red at your event.

Yours truly

Tyregirl
****************************
Dear Tyregirl

We don’t discriminate against people with dogs; so is the tyre obedient?

Regards

Organiser

Of course Red is now obedient. Since her redesign and marriage to Landy, she has settled down and been fine on muddy grounds


4th May 2012: Final Preparation
The plan was to have a cheesy pasta dinner and then sleep early, but preparation continued. First with touching Red up with some fresh paint and then was sucked towards “the cloud”.  The internet has replaced television to providing an unlimited amount of information, entertainment and socializing.  My route preparation to the venue, took a diversion to replying to emails, chatting to friends on facebook, and browsing websites in my search for solar ventilation/heating.  My early night was midnight and a conversation in my head told me 5 hours sleep would be fine…..that is, if I had slept.  The engine in my head was still churning out thoughts and it was about 2am when I resorted to a tension technique in order to relax the body.

5th May 2012: It's All About the Food
I wrestle with early mornings but I did manage to get myself out of bed by 05:15, eat the rest of last night’s pasta and a sausage for breakfast and was out the door by 06:00 as planned.  Arrived at the venue by 06:35, tried to check in. My name was not there! Thankfully I had my event number and found myself....of course ...listed under “Tyre”.  After all this was Red's event. I was simply the "dragger".

I was anxious to get going, however my reins were held back.  I had to chill out with the other walkers and do a mass start at 07:00.  So I fubbled, that is fussed around with my gear and bumbled around and tried to get the morning’s abultion out of the way.  Guess no such thing when one has had carbohydrate, fat and protein for dinner and breakfast.

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A carpet of bluebells in a "magic" woodland
07:00: Early morning chatter
Announcement: There is flooding on the banks of the Thames…
Mutterings: And there is still a hose pipe band!
Announcement: So there is a diversion at Goring. There will be a marshal to guide you.  You can see the new route on the map over there. So now if you are ready, tear off your “tear-off” strip off your event card into the “Start Time” box and have a great day!

My brain cells are rarely awake in the morning and there is a dull sense of awareness. Morning conversations are generally avoided.


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Chamey is bewildered!
Walker 1: You going to be pulling that tyre all the way?
TG: Yes
Walker 1: Does it have a name?
TG: It’s a “she” and her name is Red
Walker 1: But it looks orange.
TG: Her name is Red!
Walker 1: Why not Orange?
TG: You’re only looking at her superficially. What primary colours make orange?
Walker 1: Oh yeah, I get it.
TG: Anyway I have to do a short run as Red wants to get moving.

The walking mass were a couple of hundred metres ahead of me, so running really did not get me very far before I had slow down back to a walking pace to meet another inquisitive older walker.

Walker 2: Are you doing 40 miles with that?
TG: Yes I will be doing 40 miles with Red.
Walker 2: But she doesn’t look Red
TG: Yes I know. She likes the name Red
Walker 2: She is orange you know.
TG: Yes she doesn’t like being called orange.

I could not push forward as we were grouped together on a narrow street. I was trapped with this older gentleman.

Walker 2: You know it’s going to be all countryside on this route?
TG: Yes I know. I like small quiet marathons.
Walker 2: Well you’re not going to get any donations.
TG: Yes I’m not expecting any.
Walker 2: And there are lots of obstacles like roots and rocks and stiles….
TG: Yes I’m good with all of that. I’m a professional now. So how many marathons have you done?

Have found a question is always a good way of deflecting off negative conversations.

Walker 2: Oh I just did 50 miles last weekend, 40 this weekend, and will do another 50 next weekend…..you know you’re not going to get a lot of donations

Oh dear perhaps he has a little dementia? Or perhaps he was just adamant to make his opinion known.

TG: Wow that’s a lot of miles. What was last week’s marathon like?
Walker 2: It was a little wet and muddy. You know us walkers and runners won’t have any change on us because we want to be light.  See change makes us heavy.
TG: Notes will be fine….
Walker 2: I mean you are expecting change in your bucket, right?

My synaptic neurons were pulsating away to bewilderment. After a little more of the same conversation, the path widened enough for me to run ahead and find my own space.

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Church after CP1
Where's the Banquet?
By 09:00 Red and I were motoring well, reaching CP1 (6.6 miles). Scoffed a piece of cake, and was soon out onwards to the next check point. The plan was to eat a cereal bar every 30 minutes, and then eat something heavier at the “lunch time” check points.  The LDWA events are known for having plenty of food, especially at lunch time check points.


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Awesome carrot cake at CP2
11:30: CP2 (16.1 miles). Red and I were a mile ahead of ourselves, as had expected to roughly complete 3 miles an hour. There was some cake and chocolate bars. It was a bit early for lunch, though was sure the next check point would have a banquet of food as can normally be expected at an LDWA event.

The route description appeared easy to follow. This was a dangerous thought, for when fatigue crept in, concentration can go. Soon our route diversion began and I don’t think the group of us really listened to the instructions from the marshals.

Marshal: Turn right at the green bridge

I was distracted by a Welsh runner donating 50 pence, and then a passerby throwing £2 into the bucket. I had forgotten what was said and foolishly assumed that the four others ahead of me would get it right. They turned left and so did I. The route description no longer made sense, until another passerby corrected us. (phew).

Pfaffing cost @ 10 minutes.

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Heading towards Goring and a diversion
13:00: CP3 (20.2 miles). There was one chocolate bar left and crumbs. Where was the banquet of sandwiches, cake, pastries....? My expectations had been demolished. The marshal was very apologetic. I would have to go onto my emergency ration of three scones. My mind wanted something more substantial though my body would have to accept it didn’t need anything more. After all I was not really staving. I’d already eaten 5 breakfast cereal bars, 3 pieces of cake and two chocolate bars.

My mind and body were wrestling, and the hills were now biting hard into the quads. I spaced out briefly.

I allowed my mind to be distracted with food illusions and found myself wandering back and forth in a woodland, trying to make sense of the route description. I was now lost. I asked a family where we were. They had no clue and I began to feel a sense of hopelessness. I’d have to call the organizers but they too would probably not know where I was, if I could not say where I was! I wandered around further and found a “godsend” sign post pointing me towards Stoke Row, the next checkpoint. I had been going in the opposite direction. Admittedly I was a little fed up, but really just needed another feed.

Pfaffing cost @ 1 hour


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Michael led the way up hill
16:00: CP4 (25.8 miles). 3 hours to complete 5.7 miles meant I had spent my excess time. If we got lost one more time, it would be game over. The check points had a time limit and the next one closed at 17:15. We had 5 miles to complete however my head was a little distracted to complete the mathematics. Here there was a banquet of food! So thinking I had time, I slammed dunked some jam and cheese sarnies, followed by more cake and replenished my emergency supplies.

It was 16:15 when I departed, watched by the marshals peering out the village hall windows, shaking their heads as Red pulled away. My head was now in a better place, so my body felt better as we ran into the distance.

About mile 27, I did not see the stile and carried on up a hill. Again the route description was not making sense. I began to think about a DNF. It was so easy to do. I’d already DNFed once this year. No big deal to fail on another, or would that just be failure after failure.

Fortunately in the woodlands, there was a house and a resident for me to enquire and thus had to retrace my steps back down the hill to find a stile and Michael!

Pfaffing cost @ 15 minutes


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Typical English countryside scenery
Michael had started at about 07:20 and was surviving on 2 hours sleep. He was steadily moving along but in no hurry. He looked tired but his head was stubborn. He became my energizing buddy. I knew there was no way we would make the next check point by the set time limit, however he was still hopeful that they would allow him to continue. He was tired though still positive so I tried to shut out my negative thoughts. At the pace we were going it would be approximately 21:00 when we would complete. That is one hour after the event closed. However Michael remained enthused in positiveness. Loved the attitude and so decided to pick up our pace! In order to make faster ground, I carried Red except on hills. We ran down hills and despite Michael’s initial cautiousness he was soon speeding down them hills with us! We were flying on endorphins.

17:55: CP5 (31.2 miles).  By this point we had caught up with a couple.


Marshal: Sorry guys but you are 40 minutes late at this checkpoint so am going to have to retire you. We can give you a ride back to Henley.
Michael: Well I would like to continue, if you all (the couple and me) want to continue
Marshal: This will be at your own risk. So if you fall over and break a leg.....we are not responsible
Michael: If we stick as a group, we’ll be fine

The couple were not going to continue. Everyone looked at me to confirm my intentions. It would be so easy to return with the couple, but no way was I going to let Michael and Red down! It was just under 9 miles to go even if there would be nothing for us at the end. No food, no welcoming committee, just a dark hall and the mere satisfaction of completing the event. This was now personal.

TG: Well we just need to food to keep us going.
Marshal: So happy to hear that. We have got loads! Here take what you need but remember you are on your own.

Armed with marmite and cheese sarnies in our pockets, ALLONS-Y, we went steaming ahead. 1 mile completed in 10 minutes. Michael and I looked at each other, perhaps the route description was a little generous, or we were really moving much faster than when we had first met. We were utilizing each other’s energy and fast walked together as if we were old friends, and ran down hills as if we were kids. It was great to have a buddy to check the route description.

18:45: CP6 (34.9 miles).  The check point marshals were just completing their pack up when we arrived. They were beaming because they could off load more food unto us and we were beaming back from hill racing adrenalin. We were packed us off with more food and a tin of rice pudding and fruit cocktail for Michael.

20:23: End (40 miles).  There were still walkers who had only arrived about 10-15 minutes before us. The organization had only begun packing up. We had made it and we were elated.

Red’s official time: 13 hours 23 minutes.

Thank you to the fantastic organisation and to the folks who donated. Your funds will be going to EarthWatch. AND, Michael it was a real luxury having you as a buddy! :-)

Next event 26th May
 
 
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Red and Landy have been playing with each other's treads since the day they met.

So it was at Bedford Athletic Stadium, on a wet windy day, suitable for something rubbery that was impervious to rain, Landy and Red became officially devoted to each other.

For the day Landy had a major make over and looked rather fetching ;-) for the Fetch Wedding Mile. Red pushed him forward as TG passed them and thus was given a lap of honour around the track for his sweet fair tyre Red. Red screeched with delight and has asked for photos of Landy to be put up on the site first. Photos of Red will be up at the end of the week :-) ....when I can get them to stop playing with each other's treads!

 
 
_I know, am late writing up my diary. TG has been running and I've had to follow her! So down the rabbit hole and we go back in time....

25th December: 5K Run
It's the time of giving and today I thought I'd give TG a present. To be more giving! :-) So in today's 5K race, I pulled up my treads and allowed myself to slide along the ground. TG was happy to have completed the event in 40:41. Which means on the tyre league table, that places me in second position. TG was unusually happy. Hmm, perhaps I might try a little harder and beat the old gal Tam or my bro Rec who holds the top position at 36:57. We're not sure who holds the top position as most of us think it was Rec but he's in California and cannot confirm it was him and TG thinks it was Tam but Tam's a little off her treads now a days so she can't confirm either!

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Chamy and Me
27 December 2011:
Christmas Challenge 26.6 Miles
TG was disappointed about the lack of snow this year, however having gorged herself on food for the last 2 days, TG was keen to run and I was in the mood to please!

The website directions to the venue were perfect and we received a warm welcome by Glen, the RD, who said he was so happy to see me. Of course I gave him a little shake of the ol' rubber ;-)

Now the race......what is wrong with the next set of pictures?

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Dec 2010: Rec and Me
You'd never guess it was winter. Let me help you all remember Winter last year. The picture on the left is 18th December 2010. We had Arctic weather. In contrast this year it was a balmy 10 degrees Celcius. It was warm and TG took the opportunity to get her legs out for an airing! It was not only warm it was relatively dry. I enjoyed gliding on the ground. Yes I know, this also is in contrast when I got my treads stuck in the mud and leaves in the last marathon, but hey it's a new year and sometimes it's good to change. I've made a realisation that it's more fun to go fast. Perhaps a new year's resolution needs to be made to beat a couple of records made by Tam and Rec as long as TG can find her way. Sometimes it's a bit worrying when the sheep follow her. The blind leading the blind!

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Signs
Speaking of navigation, this is the best TG has ever done on a self navigating trail marathon. 5-4-3-2-1 had excellent signage, but the large signs made it easy for hooligans to play a little havoc with the system. The signage on this race was subtly brilliant. Despite the signs having been put up 2 days before, it did not appear anything had been disturbed. This was all backed up with a route description that was exceptional. It would be great if more LDWA events used the style of the route instructions from this event. (TG does not trust signage due to past experiences with hooligan's changing signs around!).

TG seemed completely in control and for TG's 25th tyre dragging marathon, we completed the 26.6 mile event in 7 hours 55 minutes. TG was very happy at the end. Perhaps I should carry on being more giving ;-)

Collected £5 in donations. Thank you to everyone who donated, your donations will be going to Earthwatch.

Highlights:
A Doggy Tale: In the first mile and a half, a bull-terrier decided to goad me, pretending to attack me, yapping at me, telling me I was like a bicycle tyre. TG was on a mission, so we ignored him expecting him to return to his owner. He continued with us for a mile ducking into ditches scaring pheasants. TG tried to catch him and I tried to roll over him! Thankfully one of the participants managed to catch him and return him to his owner.

The Guardian Angel:
For a while TG appeared to have a guardian angel. The same participant that had returned the dog to its owner, finally caught up with TG and kept her in view in the first half of the event, always ensuring that at a turn she would see him, before he continued onwards. Heading towards mile 18, TG lost sight of her guardian angel, as she was distracted by two labradors who kept bringing us things!

Race Overview
Signage and route description: Excellent
Checkpoints: There were 4 checkpoints, 3 had water, the first two also had biscuits. The first one at 3 miles had gels. TG carried her own food and water.
Certificate at end
Event cost: £20

 
 
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_Gatliff 50km Marathon Overview (24th tyre marathon)
Organisation: Very good and a generous cut off time.
Type of race: Route description, self navigation
Course: Trail, up and down hills, up and down stiles and thru kissing gates. Very pretty in the light; awesome in the dark! Need a headlamp if you are slow.
Volunteers: Very good
Check point: About every 5-7 miles with biscuits
Food Stops:
Lunch stop in a village hall and food served at the last 2 checkpoints/end. Sandwiches, bananas, biscuits, sausage rolls (veggie and meat)
Start Time: 7am
Weather:  @ 9-12 degrees celcius, a little rain

Route Description: 97% well written. Had a description of a broken stile that had been replaced with a gate; an ambiguous line had about 15-20 of us scratching our heads together; one wrong direction a lethal time wasting "turn left" when it should have been "turn right"

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Red clearing the leaves
Since coming back from Tanzania, TG's alter ego has been muttering about trying to get her accounts together to sort out her corporate tax and done zero training over the last 2 months. Landy and myself have been left outside collecting rain water and leaves, looking after spiders, slugs and earthworms. So surprised when TG decided to clean me and bucket up for a 50 km marathon.

05:30am: Uncle Wayne drove us to the venue. TG is rubbish in the morning.
07:20am: We were off, TG managed to complete a couple of miles running before changing down a gear to walking.

TG appeared to lack energy so after "poodling" on the ground for a while, decided to keep myself entertained by clearing the paths of leaves, after all there were a lot of untidy paths. TG was not amused and cleared out my collection of leaves, carrying me over some of the leafy terrains.

Wasn't too happy when TG chucked me back on to some muddy paths. TG said it wasn't as bad as the stuff my brother Rec was dragged through last year in Steppingley Steps, nonetheless the showers during the day had made the ground sticky and was making me a little dirty. But I could see that if I grabbed hold of mud in my treads, I could build up a nice layer of dirt to slow down TG. TG picked me up, kicked off the mud build up, and voila she became my porter. It was easy playing with TG today!

LOST
Throughout the day we met a group of runners who continually lost their way. We also lost our way 3 times, adding time and distance, however the instructions were mostly well written. As night began to embrace our day we met up with the "lost group" one last time. TG appeared to be on a high and her energy levels had increased as the route directions appeared to now fall easily into place. She tried to encourage them to follow her into the now darkened woods, but they refused to come with us calling it madness.

It was an awesome run being wrapped in the darkness and silence of the forests and I could dance on the leaves and trail. TG appeared to easily find her way. We soon had one last sentence on the route description to help us reach the last checkpoint before the finish. It should have been a fast leg for TG but upon entering a large field, TG could not see the exit point in the dark and so added more mileage by going round and round the field, adding an hour in time looking for a bridge and stepping into a very boggy marsh. She then understood how I felt about being dragged in mud! :-)

TG had a slow day taking nearly 12 hours to complete 50 kms. Slow in comparison to last year when she completed 50 kms in 5-4-3-2-1 in 8hrs 39 mins.

Thank you to everyone who donated on the day. Your funds will be donated to Earthwatch.

Onwards now to the next marathon on the 27th December, a Christmas Challenge, after 2 days of feasting.
 
 
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Saturday  9th July 2011
TG looked at who was be her tyre for the marathon tomorrow. Brother Rec was still recovering from hot tarmac burns from the Hatfield McCoy marathon. Big Landy put himself forward, but TG was warned about high fencing and narrow kissing gates, thus I was the natural choice. I was looking rather shoddy and requested a touch up. TG said she'd sort me out. Big Landy, bless, gave me his bucket to wear. However TG, in her usual mad rush the day before an event, put me at the bottom of her "to do" list and went out to enjoy a wedding for the whole evening.

Sunday 10th July 2012
It's okay for TG, to get up 1/2 an hour before leaving, throw on some clothes and hide behind a pair of sunglasses. I, on the otherhand, like to look good before I go out. So I was not pleased about leaving the house looking like I'd just been taken off an axle. As Uncle was driving, TG jumped into the back seat with me and assured me she would sort me out. She took out some cheap thin raffia string to secure bucket on and apologised that it was all she had, but that it should hold out for a day. As she focused sewing the string into tyre and myself, Uncle missed his turn off the motorway. He now needed TG's attention to get him back on route. The raffia string felt flimsy but TG assured me it would be okay and took out some marker pens to touch me up whilst navigating Uncle to our final destination.

We were now 1/2 an hour late for the start of the event and I was rushed out of the car before I could voice my concerns about my "touch up". Again TG reassured me I looked fine.....but TG is not a morning person - everything looks fine in the morning to her! OK I admit I was feeling a little irritated at not looking my best but as we got out of the car, the "car parking marshal" called HQ "The tyre girl has arrived". Oooh how exciting, we've been announced!
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As we arrived at the village hall for registration, we were met at the door by Eric who was taking photographs and Neil who was the RD (Race Director). When TG went in to register Eric and Neil looked at me and called me "amazing". They made my day.

09:01, TG waved the route instructions at me, attached rope to her backpack and we were off. Eric took lots of photos of me :-) Waving Eric goodbye; he called out saying he'd see us at checkpoint 4. I felt uncomfortable as he said that but dismissed the thought from my rim.



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Route Description
Less than a mile into the event and we were soon climbing over the first of many stiles in the event, Eric appeared with camera in hand. I was still looking reasonable. He then pointed TG the direction she should go.

TG is not at her best in the morning and shortly into paragraph 2 of the route description, she slowed up. "Red, am a little confused here. There are some crate things here but the route instructions don't seem to align. Am going to explore a little." So we walked around for about 15-20 minutes and found another pair of crate thingies. I saw a couple of other runners behind us and tugged TG to look back so that she would see them and observe the route they took. TG soon followed their path. "Nice one Red the route description is now following perfectly"

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A low kissing gate
As we squeezed through our first set of high kissing gates, TG said "Thank goodness I brought you Red". I felt a real sucker as my paint work got scratched! This is my second trail marathon and I got bashed about on the last one as well. Brother Rec has told me the road marathons are much easier and I hope to be doing them some time.



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Chilling out with some fellow tyres
After about 4-5 miles we entered into a “wheat field” and soon had runners behind us.  Not having a lot of room on either side, I could see the runners were a little concerned about passing us, so TG sped up to the next clearing. However having to go over footbridges, stiles, thru kissing gates and not always certain about route instructions, TG slowed right down. In addition, the raffia string was not holding well and bucket was soon looking flummoxed, hitting into my rim. At least I got to meet some cute country tyres.

We finally got to checkpoint 1 at 11:30. That was 7 miles in 2.5 hours! The slowest TG has gone for a long while and none of that was my fault! My tyre flirt only lasted minutes as TG pulled me away!




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TG took a banana from the checkpoint and stuffed it into the backpack’s side pocket. We soon got to a church, and everything seemed to be moving well until TG got to paragraph 9. Again she became a little perplexed, so for another 15 minutes we dawdled! TG wanted to make sure we were on the right track before making any ground.

We got to checkpoint 2 at 13:23 – 4.9 miles in nearly 2 hours! One of the marshals there began to reflect on training with tyres and going across Greenland. Tried to get TG moving, but she instead decided to have a conversation. Finally got her moving 5 minutes later although a castle and a farm distracted us briefly.
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Me swimming :-)
At 14:49, we got to checkpoint 3, with a slight improvement on time – 4.6 miles in 1 hour 20 minutes. We needed to do much better for the next 5.9 miles and looked to complete the next section within 2 hours. Two runners (Liz and Julie) had now caught up with TG. They had also got confused on the same sections as TG. We somehow decided to stick together, moving loosely as a group. TG was now moving more decisively as group decisions were made over the instructions.

However as TG was moving faster she made me slide over cow poo. She chuckled but I was very unhappy about that. As she ran down a hill, her banana flipped out of the backpack’s side pocket and “opps” - I accidently slid right over it. I now had poo and banana mash! Thankfully we headed down a muddy hill with pools of water so rather than follow TG on the higher dry path ground; I decided to take a swim, several times.


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TG confused
The 2 runners were now leading, with TG behind doing spot checks. At paragraph 18, TG questioned the finding of a waymark post and seeing birch trees. The other 2 runners indicated the waymark post and said there were definitely birch trees. TG looked at a sign post, that was supposed to be the waymark post and TG tried thinking what a silver birch tree was looking a cluster of fir trees, but TG’s memory cells were playing up so she went along in the direction of the other 2 runners as Liz’s compass reading of 240 degrees verified the direction. Besides it was a nice attractive downhill run. ½ a mile down, the group turned right at a junction and soon became confused. One sentence refused to become a reality “an enclosed path between fields”.  All we could see was more wood lands. We asked a cyclist about the “fields” who had no idea. TG tried to call the emergency number and got through to the voicemail to leave a plea for help. We continued along the same direction and asked some horse riders about the “fields” who directed us in a direction to complete a full circle!

Getting lost by oneself is soul destroying, getting lost with a group at least was company. We were confounded and thankfully we found a cluster of houses.  Julie boldly knocked on someone’s door. A lady answered and Julie first begged her to fill her bottle with water. She soon asked her how to get to Bedgebury Cross (our fourth checkpoint!).  The lady kindly showed us where we were on TG’s map and how we could get to our fourth checkpoint. We were way off route at the bottom of Bedgebury Forest.  It was now 17:15 and the checkpoint was supposed to close at 16:45. We all knew we could be pulled off the course and thus would be our first DNF (Did Not Finish).  At 17:30 Eric called to find out where we were. TG responded and gave him a grid reference. 

We arrived at checkpoint 4 at nearly 18:00. None of us expected to be allowed to finish the event as it was supposed to finish at 17:30. Eric phoned back one more time, and Neil responded that he would be at the finish until 19:00 so if we thought we could make it before then, we could finish the route. Surprised and delighted at the opportunity, we set off on the last 3.8 miles with energy. Uncle had now joined us and decided to complete the rest of the route with us.  About less than a kilometer before the end we had to head down a narrow footpath. As I was too wide, TG carried me through and I heard the sounds of “squish squish squish”. There was no getting round it, no higher dry grounds – just a 75 meter footpath of pure mud.

Completed the event in 9 hours 58 minutes and found that had done 30 miles rather than 26.2.

TG’s recommendation:
Although I got lost, from my own mis-reading of the instructions, would recommend "the High Weald Challenge" from a scenery point of view. Kent is really a beautiful area to visit. But be warned give this event plenty of time and bring a map in case.

Want to thank the organisers and the volunteers for their support through out and for their patience to allow us to complete the event. :-) xxx


 
 
Introducing Red's first outing and first event to make my 18th marathon.....

The night before, my cuz Sara was hard at work beautifying Red and perhaps she made her look too good. For on the day, Red thought she was a designer tyre! In fact Red became a little high maintenance....

It did not help that at the start of the event, TG was a little confused about the directions and was like a sheep following a group of walkers who were doing a completely different route to the one TG was supposed to do. So after a 15 minute phaff, TG finally got herself orientated on the correct route in the right direction.

The route directions were simple to follow after the inital "dawdle", and the daffodils were pretty as they smiled back at the sun. Red on the otherhand became difficult. As we went over freshly ploughed fields, she caught herself on lumps of dirt and kept grumbling to TG that it was spoiling her paint work. TG gave in and carried her over the rest of the lumpy fields.

Red spotted mud and dug her treads hard into the ground, so TG had to pick her up again and carry her over the muddy ground. Red felt tired on the hills and once again TG caved in to Red's reluctance to be dragged up a hill and carried her up. No other tyre has ever been so pampered. TG felt she should give Red a chance as this was the first time she was being dragged and had some taming to do.

Towards the end of the route, we met a couple from Sussex who joined us (Ben and wife), and to help her over some uneven ground, she got a little kick from Ben. She yelped and blushed! In fact after a couple more kicks from Ben, Red decided to show Ben that she could move, and slid along a dirt track. Towards the end of the route, Red forgot about the mud as she showed off that she could also be a horse whisperer. As the horses followed Red, she went straight into the mud and out. So much for ensuring the paint work wasn't damaged!

Daffodil Dawdle is a pleasant course with well written instructions. As always with the LWDA events, the volunteers are happy and there was plenty of food during the event and a meal at the end of the event with plenty of cakes!

Now onwards for London!