Below is a race report from Katherine who lives in London.
To finish this event was an amazing accomplishment for this young women. Last year she was competing in the Yukon 350 mile race and fell into a frozen lake. She had serious back injuries after this fall and for 6 months all she could do is swim and move in the water. Then we got her taking pilates to work on her core strength and slowly back to walking. Now 1 year later she just completed her first race back!!!
Katherine's next race is the 6633 Ultra - the new 350 mile race up in the Yukon and North West Territories. Starts on 17th March.
Here's my race report-
I must admit to being more nervous than normal standing on the start line of the Thames Ultra (a 54 mile race along the Thames river from Reading into London). With being ill before the race I really didn't know if I had it in my legs to go this far. The last time I had run this race was 2001 (long before I started working with Lisa) and it had taken me 19 hours!!
I started off running 3 minutes and walking 2 minutes and got to the first checkpoint (near enough to 10 miles) feeling quite good. This was lucky really as 5 miles into the race we came across a part where the river had flooded its banks and (as there was no other way round it) had to wade across in icy cold water with a lot of slippery mud on the bottom. I hadn't planned to be soaking wet after 5 miles!
The next CP came quite quickly after 9 (ish) miles. After this I started struggling to keep up the running. The heavy mud along the trail had taken its toll on my legs. It wasn't just the mud, it was the fact that the path was angled into the river and it was so slippy it meant your legs were tensed up all the time to stop you falling into the water.
Took a wrong turn before the next checkpoint and ended up in the middle of a caravan park. I kept running down dead ends but finally, after 20 minutes, I managed to find my way back to where I had gone wrong and continue on along the trail. CP3 was a welcome sight after 31 miles. The girls who ran this checkpoint had come prepared with snacks and treats for all the runners which was fantastic.
From CP3 to CP4 was where I really had to start pushing hard as I was getting very tired and I didn't run much after CP3. There was some beautiful scenery though which always helps, including at the halfway point running past Windsor Castle. I thought of stopping for tea but figured that the Queen wouldn't really welcome a muddy runner!!
It was dark by the time I reached CP4 and I had teamed up with 2 other runners who were moving at about the same pace (in fact Jo and I had been overtaking each other every hour or so since the start and we had usually been in sight of one another). The other chap was suffering with IT Band trouble but decided to keep going.
Shortly after CP4 the navigation let us down again but at least this time we realised quickly and it didn't cost us much time. This last section was just over 10 miles and as we were coming into the middle of London we kept having to run past riverside pubs and restaurants. The temptation was huge (especially from the delicious food smells coming from some of the restaurants). We were very slow over the last 10 miles as, although company on the trail is great, everyone feels rough at different times which meant we were slower than we could have been individually.
I felt really good over this last section (which was a real confidence boost for my next race) and we finished in just over 13 and a half hours, very tired, very muddy but very happy!