Wednesday, 27 May 2015

Mill Hill MUDrathon!

It was the 1st of March and a beautiful sunny but slightly chilly morning. The weather had not been at all kind in the run up to the first ever Mill Hill marathon but that wasn't going to stop 54 nutcases from sploshing around in the mud for 27 miles.

Mummysaurus picked me up and we headed over to Mill Hill just after 8am. Now for us this was a real treat as we only live in Borehamwood, about 15 minutes away!! Talk about on your doorstep! None of the usual faff of making sure you can get there, the traffic the blah blah blah.... brilliant!

On the drive over we joked about the hills we were driving on saying the usual things like "wow, hope you don't have to run this one!" and laughing about the obvious name of the town - Mill HILL.
Now you would be forgiven for thinking there was only 1 hill. There isn't. There are many, many, many hills, oh and mud, lots of it. Funnily enough though I don't recall seeing a mill?
Any who, back to the story....

We arrived at a little hall and walked in to find loads of folks all huddled inside. Everyone was chatting away and looking very relaxed while drinking tea and coffee. Not the normal feeling at the start of a marathon. Upon looking around the room a little more it began to dawn on me why almost everyone was looking so relaxed. I spotted Dennis Cartwright and we had a nice chat. Its always great to catch up with people you have run with before. Then I spot Traviss Willcox and a blue and yellow shirt, then another blue and yellow shirt and another and another........oh dear.
I felt like I had walked into a 100 marathon club convention! Talk about humbling! For those of you who don't know about the 100 marathon club, the name may give it away. It is a pretty exclusive club for those who have completed over 100 marathons/ultras!! Ill just let you digest that for a moment.........

Need a bit longer?

Yes that did say OVER 100. 100 is the point you are accepted into the club and can start wearing the much coveted blue and yellow club shirt. This means that pretty much anybody you speak to with that shirt on has done as LEAST 100 marathons.

Ill give you a little longer.....

We have the normal race briefing and head out to the starting line just outside.
Group photo before the start
Looking at the pathway ahead, it was already pretty clear that today was going to be a tough day. The pathway was pretty boggy and we hadn't even started yet.
My footwear of choice was of course the sensible choice.........sandals. With slippery, boggy, sticky mud and a lot of puddles and stones why wouldn't you?
To be honest I had considered wearing my Altra and even had them in the car in case I got into trouble. The only problem I found with the Altra is that they seem to collect the mud rather than assist me over it!! All things considered, sandals it was.


We sploshed off the start line, down a little steep hill and into more mud. Some more mud was waiting for us just after we got through the last bit and then some hills.....with mud.
We were less than a mile in and I was already covered up to my shins.
On the drive over Mummysaurus mentioned she was considering maybe walking a lap depending on how tough I thought it was after my first one. After half a lap I knew I had to get back quickly to stop her being impatient and leaving before I had a chance to tell her it wasn't such a good idea! The going was tough and muddy, did I mention the mud? 1 lap ticked off, just another 4 to go! *gulp*
Only one lap in and already up to my thighs in mud!
With each lap the mud got more and more churned up. My trusty Luna sandals held up well but it was tough going. My foot would splosh into the mud, the mud and stones swamping under my arch and then slop back out again, leaving me with most of the stones between my foot and the sandal. Now as much as this is a disadvantage to wearing sandals it also means that removing the stones is also just as easy. I never have to take them off. I simply flex my foot and scrape any stubborn bits out with my hand, job done!
This does however get a little tedious every other step but no more so than constantly emptying shoes out. The next few laps followed much in the same vein as the first one, the only difference being that the got progressively slower. The mud sapped the energy away and hills took it in turns to give the legs a good battering. It was a strange race that left everyone thankful to see the concrete path. I have rarely been so grateful to find a normal solid road! The downhills were also a very welcome sight indeed!
With every lap I came into the aid station with somehow even more mud on me! Constantly using my gloves to clear out my feet meant that I had to clean my gloves on my body! I was becoming a mud monster!
I only really had one slightly down moment as I came into what I thought was my 3rd lap to be told it was actually my 4th and I only had 1 and a half to go! This picked me up instantly and I bopped off down the hill again happy with the fact that this was the last one in this direction. I was tired, covered in mud, cold, battered but having a ball! My smile was back and it was time to get the job done.
I had no target time at all, I just wanted to get round.
Finally I bopped down the hill towards the turn around point for the last half a lap. I tucked into the goodies that were on offer on the table and sipped on some water. Giving Mummysaurus a quick goodbye hug I headed back up the hill and onto the final half a lap.
It felt like it was taking forever but I tried to keep smiling with the knowledge that it was nearly done.
After what felt like a month I was back on the home straight. Time to give it some legs for the final downhill you know, for the photo *wink wink
The home straight carrying considerably more mud 
PHEW! That was a tough one! Honestly I have to say that one felt like a miniature North Downs Way. Tough, tough, tough! I would love to give that a go again in the DRY! The downhills were really enjoyable and I really enjoyed quite a lot of the trail. Anna did a great job of putting it all together and the gathering at the pub after was a stroke of genius!

Will I be back? Yes!
Phew! Can we go to the pub now?!
Yes, I am a Hobbit (Me, Dennis, Clive)
Huge thanks to Anna and all the marshals, top stuff folks! The medal was brilliant as well and spun around!! I shall be back for another one!
Spin spiny spin spin!
Thanks for reading folks
Love and hugs

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