Sarah Strode For Hospice Care!

A personal sporting challenge for Techconsult UK employee Sarah has been completed: two ultra distance marathons, creating a charity fundraising opportunity that will benefit the Butterwick Hospice.

Sarah Taylor (37) from Redcar set herself a challenge to run the ultra marathon (over 26 miles) after successfully completing the Edinburgh (2012), Chester (2014) and Manchester (2015) Marathons. She said: “The ultra marathon is not just an increase in mileage but a significant increase in stamina and determination to complete, often over rough terrain.”

This week (07/09/15), she completed the second of her high altitude ultra marathons. Here's what she had to say.

"My aim was to start comfortable, stay positive and pray that someone on route would know the way, so that I could buddy up with them

The first 8.5 miles of the route were the most tricky so my plan of finding a buddy, started pretty much from about mile 2.  I met a lovely lady called Beth and she had done the race a couple of times before so my initial thoughts were “brilliant, I will stick with you”.  Whilst running along we were chatting and I soon realised I may have bitten off more than I could chew.  Beth was only a very experienced Ultra marathon runner who was also part of the 100 marathon club and was on something like her 50th marathon this year!!!!  Yes I was worried but for the time being we were running along comfortably and I was going to maintain it for as long as possible.  We made it to the first checkpoint at the 8.5 mile marker and I had to decide, was I carrying on with her or doing my own thing?  I felt good and strong so carried on with her, plus two other ladies which we met at the checkpoint.

I was assured that the rest of the route was very straight forward so I would be fine, even if I did decide to run alone.

We left checkpoint 1, all 4 of us together, chatting away as you do and I was listening to some of the conversations thinking, OMG, OMG what am I doing.  I was only running with 2 more elite athletes that were FARRRRRR more experienced than me at these things.  I still felt strong and relatively comfortable so I carried on for as long as I could, reminding myself that this wasn’t a 15mile training run, this as the Real Deal!! By mile 13 we had broken through at 2hrs 02mins, I then put my seriously sensible head on and gave myself a really good talking to.

“Yes you feel comfortable now, but will you at the end if you carry on like this?”, “you haven’t even stopped to take any photo’s”, “you said you were going to be sensible and take it all in”

From that point on I did my own thing!!  I left the ladies, 2 went off in front and 1 dropped back so I just carried on.  At times I did wonder if I was lost but a quick “have you seen any runners down this way” to passing walkers was all the reassurance I needed to know I wasn’t lost. I got to Whitby, purchased my ice-cream and started the climb up the steps and to my surprise, it wasn’t that bad. Running along the top of the cliffs of Whitby was a bit tricky, windy and quite muddy but I put my head down and pressed on.

Then I heard a voice behind me so I thought, I could do with someone to chat to right now, slowed down a bit to let Neil catch me up.  He was so funny and just what I needed to take my mind off the fact that the wind was blowing so hard, [I thought] I might end up in the sea! We stuck together for a few miles then off he went, leaving me behind………………..not for long though, as I caught him up at the last checkpoint.  He turned to the other runners, saying I was stalking him and they should all beware because he has tried to shake me off once and it obviously didn’t work J  He was such a joker!!  I think from there we had about 5 miles to go so there was 4 of us, running together, experiencing the same pain, moaning at the same steps and striving for the finish line, joking and laughing all the way.  Yes it was still possible to have a laugh and a joke!! The last mile was a climb of some crazy 600ft and boy did we know it.  We vowed at this point to stick together to the end and cross the finish together and we did.

I can honestly say that I absolutely loved this event and WILL be doing it again next year!!"


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