T-45: Valentines Day Challenge and His ‘n’ her medals

On Sunday, as it was Valentines Day, and Notarunnergirl (my wife) has recently got into running, AND because we had entered a challenge event, we went along to it (rude not to since we had paid already!).

It was held at the Cyclopark in Gravesend. I promise it is much nicer than it sounds. I was planning to do an Ultra (7 laps/30 odd miles), and Notarunnergirl was planning to do 2 laps (approx. 9 miles) of a carefully measured route.

At the start, Notarunnergirl and I had time to catch up with some friends, Michael and Paul (two guys I am running part of the coast with in April), and Fi (who does lots of ultras, did GUCR last year, and is doing Liverpool to Leeds canal race LLCR130 this year).

We headed off with the pack, knocked out one lap. Notarunnergirl was doing great. We checked into the HQ and stuffed our faces before heading out for a second lap together. Part way around, Notarunnergirl suggested I go on ahead (either I smell, or I was getting on her nerves…. or maybe getting bored of me being “motivational”). Anyway, I decided to press on, and eventually on my 4th lap ran past my mate Michael Nowicki (he is training for the Grand Union Canal Race in May – and I am pacing him).

The course was nice, plenty of undulations, which meant that it was possible to run up all of the hills (except when the muddier hills got super slippy later on in the day).

At the end of each lap, I collected a band to signify that I had completed a lap. I saw Notarunnergirl several times during the various laps and eventually bumped back into her at the checkpoint as she was being “bullied” into going for her 5th and 6th laps to make a marathon! I was pretty excited at hearing this news, since Notarunnergirl has only ever run 8 miles before and only started running “properly” in October 2015 when she joined Serpentine Running club.

I decided to let her go first of all and catch up with her later…. and I did around 25% of the way around her 5th lap. I was on my 6th (marathon) lap.. and decided to be annoying/motivational by running with her, letting Notarunnergirl set the pace.

Finally, on our last lap, as we headed for HQ, I ran to the car to get my phone, and to record the final bit of Notarunnergirl’s first ever marathon. A special feature of these challenge events is that you get to ring a big school bell at the end. Great fun!!!!

We picked our medals up, and our amazing goody bags and thanked Rachel and Traviss of Saxon Viking Norman events for the great race and the support.

The prize? A HUGE medal. A really big one, and the privilege of being there for Notarunnergirl’s first marathon.

This was a great training run to prepare for the next instalment of Running the Coast. We are running our next section between Hythe (kent) and Bournemouth on 1-4 April and covering around 200 miles. If you enjoyed this post (or even if you didn’t) then please click on my justgiving page and donate even a few pence Thanks 🙂



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