Giving running ago….staring with a Ultra Marathon

I wanted to raise money for Cancer Research UK, a charity I believe in. The thing is when I fundraiser I don’t like doing the normal thing. So I got scratching my head and came up with a couple ideas. The best was a 100km race across the Cotswolds.

Now doing my job working as an expedition leader, I keep relatively fit. I go to the gym and I’m obsessed with healthy food. But I have not ever really been into running! I’ve had friends and girlfriends who have been obsessed with running, so I had seen a lot events with the athletes finishing and the throwing up on the finish line! Pushing their bodies to the max, this bit I was interested in. I’ve already challenged my own endurance in all my activities. So this race sounded great.

I asked my friends who ran if they would like to join me and take part. The response I got from them was very negative to say the least. ‘You have to train for years for those races’, ‘I only do 10km’ and ‘you are crazy, you’ll never do it’. These responses weren’t going to put me off. So I asked one of my best mates, a 5ft 5 financial advisor from Bristol. Tom wasn’t into running, he liked his nights out and parties. So I was shocked when he said yes to me. The only problem was he lived in Bristol and I lived in the Yorkshire dales, so training together wasn’t very realistic. We had only a few months to get ready for this.

The week before, I thought I’d train and go visit Tom. So I biked to Bristol. I thought 100km on a bike a day was easy! So running will be fine, I was feeling in good shape. I then spent the build up week to the event living down south in my van as I had some things to do (meeting Sir Ranulph Fiennes). On the Friday I headed to Bristol, me and Tom decided we best be good and stay in. We didn’t want our training attempts to be spoiled with hangovers at the start line.​

​The start Day came, setting off from Bath. I was very nervous looking at all these people (2,000) in all this running gear! We just looked out of place with all these endurance athletes! We were given two timing/tracking chips for our team, the name had a lot of effort put into it (Matt and Tom). Then we were off! We hit the 8km within the first hour, I was thinking we are going way to fast. But I was happy, I could feel my body coping so far. 

Around the 50km mark we stopped at a rest point, my old knee injury was starting to play up. I gulped down whatever pain killers I was given, rubbed ibuprofen gel on it and wrapped it up. Then the thing what shocked us the most popped up on the big screen! The winner was set for a 11hr 23mins win, but on this screen with all the listings of the athletes. There in 15th was Me and Tom! We could not believe what we were seeing, surely it was wrong. We tried to forget this, we only wanted to finish not do well. ​

​Our pace slowed as the night drew in, we kept overtaking the head torch glad runners. The last 10km dragged on, as we seemed to be more like extras from a zombie movie then endurance runners. 

Crossing the finish line was the biggest relief ever, when they came to scan our trackers I couldn’t find mine. Then it dawned on me that about 20km before I’d taking it off to put sun screen on. I felt so embarrassed as the tiredness was apparent! Then I remembered Tom still luckily had his. Then from no where a medal was launched over my head and a plastic glass of bubbly forced into my hand. ‘In 11th place team Matt and Tom’ was heard from the speaker, this didn’t sink in for atleast half an hour when Toms family arrived and pointed it out again.

My first ever running race was 100km a ultra marathon, not only did we both finish we came 11th! I am so proud of my mate, his sense of humour kept me going.

If you want to take part in one of these, remember to train first! 

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