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Dig Deep!

Dig Deep. Yep, that pretty much sums it up. What is doesn’t say though is “yeeeees! I did it!”

I’ve not had what you’d call an ideal build up, what with spraining my right ankle in March and then a stress fracture in the left ankle early June. I’m not going to lie, I was a little anxious. July onwards I’d resisted the urge to wrap myself in cotton wool AND bubble wrap and got out on the hills training. Sometimes, the mental battle was every bit as hard as the physical one. Those inner voices of “you’re not fit enough” and “what if you fall?”…they’re sneaky little buggers I can tell you.

Training sessions and long runs ticking off as the weeks go by, some tough some a breeze. You know how it is. Then literally 3 weeks before race day (getting goose bumps as I write this) I realised I’m going to make the start line! Having missed out on a couple of big events through injury, a major milestone.

Saturday morning: race day. A 6am alarm call. Eek. Nerves and excitement in one crazy cocktail. “Come on girl. You’ve got this”.

On arrival at Whirlow and race HQ (and yes, on time. Another hurdle for me!), I was literally buzzing. Proud as punch to be there with the other crazy, awesome bunch. Lots of smiley faces, sharing words of encouragement. Before I knew it, it was race briefing and then we were off!

As we set off I had a moment if gratitude: that I’d made it, it was a beautiful, beautiful day and that I was blinking well doing it!

Race day was a stunning, misty sunny morning and as we headed out over towards Houndkirk it was truly was amazing.

As we reached Stanage I was feeling dead relaxed and pacing steadily. Running my own race and enjoying being a part of it. I felt great. Up new road, down to Yorkshire bridge and the first fab checkpoint, filled with goodies. Up parkin clough and still feeling awesome. Couldn’t resist a selfie at the trig! On the way back down to Hope started chatting to the lovely Sarah and as it happens we ended up running a lot of the race together from there.

The route was just fab and the miles ticked by so easily. The 2nd checkpoint landed and I was still feeling fab. Snacks and water topped up and straight out the door. Up Bradwell edge, down into Shatton, over to Hathersage along the river. Beautiful.

There’s a cheeky climb out of Hathersage. Sarah and I chatted the while way up ( I know, me talking a lot!!), chatting about how her other half was getting on. Some guy called Jonathan doing the 60. Soon we were scrambling up through ferns and back into Carl Walk. A perfect photo spot apparently!

Oh my god. I was on Houndkirk. How did that happen. Waves of goose bumps and a little emotional moment. “I’m really going to do it”. Slapping myself metaphorically round the face I cracked on. Down limb valley then up the final climb.

Approaching the finish line, I think this is my proudest running moment to date. It’s a big run. I wasn’t where I wanted to be training wise but I had faced it head on, braved the what if and turned up. I set off with the highest positive attitude to give it my all and enjoy it. No matter what the race, that’s all we can do.

Massive achievement and actually I did pretty well. 5th female and 18th overall of 116 runners. 5 hrs 56 ish. Super pleased.

Have to say a huge thanks to Stu Debs and Colin( and the accelerate team in general!) or their words of support and encouragement. Scott Running and the lovely Chris Dunn, a huge thanks to you too for supporting the race. Finally, all you crazy hardy fools who ran that day, you rock!

About Caroline French

Team Accelerate Scott; by day, marketing manager. Plant powered runner living life and loving the trails
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