With temperatures in the high 20s, Saturday 10th June was hardly conducive to running a 100 miles. Yet that is exactly what I did!
The SDW 100 started at 6am at Matterley Bowl, just outside Winchester. After a roughly 4 mile loop around the estate, the route heads out for the remaining 96 miles on to the SDW.
The scenery and views were, of course, spectacular bathed, as they were, in glorious sunshine. The blisteringly hot weather conditions, however, proved challenging to say the least. The SDW is fairly exposed and the chalky terrain can be unforgiving. Numerous stumbles on my part culminated in one major fall at 40 miles. I’m just hoping my injured wrist is just a sprain! Lots of painkillers and ice at the next check point helped relieve the pain.
Due to various factors, I haven’t done many long runs so I was nervous going into the event. Ultras, however, can be unpredictable. The first 25 miles passed easily enough. The temperature was at its coolest and I could delight in the views and chat to various people. The second quarter presented a few challenges – mostly hydration related and fatigue started to build up. The third quarter was the worst. I suspect I was massively dehydrated, but there was one 10km night section where I just couldn’t run and I ended up walking virtually all of it. My son, who was tracking me on Centurion’s live site, was concerned as to why I was moving so slowly. Still at least I wasn’t vomiting, as so many people I passed were.
Hot soup and painkillers at the next aid station, however, made a huge difference. I was able to resume running and felt strong overtaking a lot of people. A good way to finish the race.
The winning time was by Tim Bradley in an impressive time of 15:50:07. I finished 10 hours later in 25:16:40 – 11th woman and 80 overall, which I was really pleased with. Weather conditions saw over a third of starters retire.
As with all Centurion events, the race was brilliantly organised with fantastic volunteers. The people at the aid stations were so kind and helpful. With my painful wrist, I wasn’t able to get my water flasks in and out of my race vest and they were happy to do it for me.
Getting to and from a race which starts and finishes 100 miles away is also tricky. Paul Roome was unbelievably kind in getting me to the race start for 5:00am, whilst my son got up early this morning to check the live tracker (I was an hour later than anticipated so he got to go back to bed!) and was there at the finish at 7:15am.
Despite the challenges, I feel really pleased to have completed this event.