NOT STRICTLY A RACE REPORT, MORE OF A LONG-RUN REPORT
As frustrated as we all are at having no races to enter, I decided to create my own last week. I had loads of events planned (and cancelled) for my 50th Birthday, so I needed to do some kind of ultra-running celebration to replace them.
June is always a heavy training month for Susan and I, so I'd set a target of 450 miles for the month , but when work told me I had to get a week's holidays in before half-year, I decided to get to the 450 by creating the SQUIRREL MARA-FUN WEEK, a race to complete 7 marathons in 7 days
Seemed a good idea over a glass (ok many glasses) of Merlot, but I hadn't reckoned on it being the hottest week on record.
In summary...what an awesome week, where I found hundreds of trails, rivers and corner shops which I never knew existed, and realised that Ice Cream was created by the Running Gods as a cheaper and significantly tastier alternative to running gels
DAY 1 - Susan accompanied me around the pretty villages of Ashwell , Bygrave and Hinxworth....not a good idea to run hills on day 1, but at least we found a medieval fort, and a jolly nice church. Ice cream tally...2 Soleros + 1 White Magnum
DAY 2 - Took a trip to Pirton and the surrounding villages, with their lovely duck-ponds. Nearly passed out from the heat, but a Jamaican Pasty with Ice Cream, sat in the river, reinvigorated me. Got stung on the lips so I look like Katie Price. Ice Cream tally...1 Solero + 1 Ice Cream Oyster
DAY 3 - Found a superb overgrown (giant nettles) trail round the back of Arlesey and Henlow Camp. Got chased by a vicious dog (pretty sure it had rabies) with a penchant for my ankles. Funny how quickly you remember the childhood skill of climbing trees ! Legs on fire so had to sit in the river for an age eating Ice Cream. Ice Cream tally...1 Screwball + 2 Soleros.
DAY 4 - Got totally lost visiting Toppler Hill water tower, and the lovely villages of Edworth and Hinxworth. Note to self...must learn to read maps (or take Susan with me). Rescued by 2 old fellas playing Chess in their garden. Ended up curled up in the shade behind a garage on the A1 with a delicious Blue Slushie. Ice Cream Count....1 Feast (is it me or are they really tiny now?) and 1 Choc Ice
DAY 5 - Double Greenway ....At this point I've lost my sense of humour, all feeling in my quads, and 2 toe-nails. I'd forgotten the Greenway has very little shade, and no water stops.... a trip to the shops on Jackmans yields a whole tub of Ben & Jerry's.Note to self....singing along to Depeche Mode on your headphones may be acceptable in the countryside, but it gets very strange looks on Jackmans !
I thought I was broken and finished at this point, and giving in at 5, until Matt suggested club training that evening , which spurred me on to the final push....
DAY 6 - I can't stand the midday heat any more,,,so a night run with my head-torch around Arlesey and Stotfold - stopped off at home for a Gin & Blackcurrant Ice Cream and 2 Soleros before heading to Baldock . Finished with a Unicorn Cone with popping candy and blue syrup.
DAY 7 - The heavens opened....I can't win ! Beautiful early morning run round Henlow and Burgh Woods...only downside , broke my toe at mile 2 (boo!)...but a dip in the river every couple of miles works as an anaesthetic . Finished in a heap, but a couple of Solero's picked me up enough to find the bottle opener !
So....no medal or t-shirt, but lots of yummy ice cream, and fantastic fun exploring our wonderful countryside.
Pretty sure I won't be back for an encore next year, but having seen the signs for the 194 mile Hertfordshire Way all week, if Boris doesn't reinstate races sometime soon, I may be tempted to give it a go, with a tent, this Autumn
Loved reading about your adventures and the various ice creams you enjoyed:) Happy 50th birthday and thank you for sharing.
An amazing achievement Mike! It takes a lot of guts and willpower to run seven marathons in seven days when you are not at the start of a race with lots of other people and don't have the luxury (!) of stocked checkpoints! Well done also on your navigation! My virtual race across Tennessee is taking a lot longer. You ought to join Jo Summers next year at the Great Barrow Challenge 10 in 10 marathons!
What a memorable way to celebrate your 50th Mike. Makes great reading. Hope your toe heels quickly.
I can't believe how tiny Feasts have become! Classic shrinkflation, although think the line at the time was to reduce calorie content to support a healthier nation!
So impressed that you continued on with your challenge despite the hot weather.
Brilliant. Inspiring, not to mention very funny.:laughing:
That is an amazing amount of ice cream 😋
Also fantastic running 💪 and to keep going with a broken toe 🤯
Nice one Mike, great write up... :+1:
A legendary tale of miles, rivers, icecreams, weather ... depeche mode. Thank you for the colourful write up. For those of us not running at the moment we can live our running lives vicariously through this! Thank you!
Awesome achievement and brilliant write up Mike - thanks for sharing. Totally agree on Feasts too and particularly loved the Depeche Mode!