Date: 31st December 08
Location: Guildford, Surrey, England
Weather: Cold and crisp, heavy frost overnight 2°c
Status: Starting the final day…..
So this was how it was going to be then, the final day of my African adventure and I was playing out in the freezing conditions of the UK! I jumped out of bed though with the realisation that it’d all be over pretty soon, bar the friends and family I’d hopefully see as I crossed the finish line!
After the usual pre-marathon nipple-plastering and vasaline rubbing session I gathered my thoughts and warm top and got into the Colonel complete with Bre and Dad for the final drive of the expedition.
Dad had very professionally organised the route for me taking me back to Petersfield on the back roads ensuring I’d cover the required 26.2 miles to make it all official and together with Bre they’d form my team of water suppliers and direction givers!
We left and started the run from Shalford, just south of Guildford, and after a toilet stop started the run with cold fingers to start off with. Two hours into the run I’d made it past Haslemere and into the small village of Miland, marking the halfway point for the run, by this stage I was starting to feel the cold and shivered every time I stopped for a drink break….this is so different from African runs!
The undulating terrain around Liss and the final approach to the Jolly Drover at the top end of my marathon was exhausting, it’s easy to think halfway through a marathon that everything is going well and that the second half should be easy…but then it all starts to bite as the legs tighten, the pain kicks in and the energy levels disappear suddenly leaving me desperate to see the crest of the hill.
The drop down into Petersfield along the A3 was much better, my family and friends had started to appear at the sides of the road with even the odd banner about to motivate me for the final push into the town square where I was hoping to meet a few people. But what I didn’t expect was quite the welcome I received!!
There must have been 40 people there including an official finish line, TV cameras and reporters all wanting to talk…something that’s very difficult to do after running for four and half hours! Once the pulse had settled again I managed a hug and kiss for them all and even had a great pint of good old English ale, my first since leaving a year ago, and it tasted awesome!
And then it was over all of the dreams, plans, challenges and expectations which I had set myself nearly three years ago were lying there in front of me completed….Bre, the Colonel and I have formed the most incredible team and I sincerely hope there is more to come in the future. For now were going home to spend New Year’s Day with family and to do a good old catch up, bore them with photos and complete the website for you all to see….
Thank you all so much for reading, writing and being involved, it really has meant the world to me…..
Over and out…for now.
End of day location: Ropley, England
Distance covered: 42kms running, 20kms driving