With later in the year some of our club members doing the Ladybower 50 ultra I thought about this as maybe step up for those doing it after being recommended of it by a friend. Myself (Rob Beers), Dan Valencia and Clive Kent travelled down to Coalport, Shropshire alongside the stunning River Severn and just a few miles away from Ironbridge to do “How Hard Can It Be Events” Railway Ultra. The firm are well established for ultra events and the fact that you could bow out at 28 miles or do the full 37 did sound interesting if things got too much.
10:00am start and the three of us take a gentle pace, it’s a lot harder underfoot than I’d have believed certainly better in road shoes and I’ve worn trail shoes with very little give. The trail is a 4.5 mile stretch there and back (so 9.3 miles) which you have to complete four times, didn’t know this before the race! I guess it was quite pretty, apart from an old station and a farm with some animals, knowing where you were landmark wise was pretty up in the air and a lot of guesswork was done. The path also was very uneven and certainly as the miles pressed on we really felt it on the quads, many who went out too quick seriously felt it later. It was quite nice reaching the 4.5 mile stage and having a quick drink and setting off again knowing where the next feed station was, seeing the same people pass, certainly it was very friendly and encouraging.
I took off somewhat on shuttle no 3, and by shuttle no 4 was tracking down an Ultra runner who runs for the England ultra team! I must mention the said lady is also the one who recommended the race to me and must take some of the blame for me doing so many OTT events this year. Unfortunately about 33.5 miles in, suffering with dodgy tum most of the day and fatigue it came the time for a cheeky walk. That swathes of the field were walking and very few were now actually running (Must point out Dan and Clive ran the lot), got going again twice more. The final run I managed to hold on and keep going those last few almost never-ending miles, coming in 10th place and clocking up my greatest race distance of 37.4 miles (in 6hours 5mins)!
Dan and Clive came in together (in 6hours 22mins), a very tired Dan, we were energized and inspired throughout by the great support of Jenny Kent (who also got a PB at Telford Parkrun). Despite the obvious tiredness we had a great day, when it sunk in we were all massively proud of our achievements and promoting Stilton Striders in Shropshire (pity no team prize we’d have won!) [Rob]