August bank holiday weekend for a PT can be slightly different to most peoples.
After a busy Friday training clients and driving in between the home based sessions I arrive at Godolphin House for Freedom Racing 10km just in time for registration.
Greeted as always by the ever smiling Laura Millward on the marshaling crew I collect my number and hunt down my clients. This evenings race is a new one for me, and I am lucky enough to have 3 clients here all running this evenings 10km, Carolyn Turner is on holiday from Guildford with her husband Peter and is ready at the start line with Louise and Andy Bishop.
As with everyone of Tom and Nicky’s Freedom race the atmosphere is electric, everyone excited and chatting, Paul Coker has his massage table set up and is ready with rock tape to assist anyone that may need him. A quick catch up with this legend of a man and then we get ready to start.
This race is beautiful, it has climbs that are challenging with views that are worth the climb. I run with Carolyn throughout the eve, I enjoy entering these races and running with the clients I train, it’s a pleasure for me to see and experience them doing so well. Carolyn runs well, and more importantly enjoys it. We chat, we look at the view, we giggle, we soul run.
The marshals are fab, we thank everyone of them on our way around, the finish is in sight, it’s a downhill, ‘go’ I say to Carolyn, ‘I’m right here behind you, now go..’ she finishes strong and happy. Andy and Peter are there already to see us finish. We all wait excitedly for my flamingo legs Louise Bishop, she finishes strong with a smile on her face and endless stories about her soul run that evening…about the views, about stopping to chat with our good friend and marshal Andy Trebell, about seeing the wonderful Nicky at halfway point. This for me is soul running, enjoying the journey, sharing your experience afterwards…finishing strong, with a smile and uninjured.
I head home. This weekend is going to be a crazy one. Tomorrow is the start of Bys Vyken Events MOKG 36, 24 and 12 hour ultra. This event is close to my heart, my first 100km 12 hour race this time two years ago, on my home training ground, a place I train my clients, a place I grew up in. David (CLS) is the RD and his wife Sallie endeavor to continue to make this an event to remember. Racers and Marshall’s look forward to this event every year, I personally enjoy this weekend like no other.
It’s MOKG day, I drive to the start. My client Dean aka Mr Sparkles is running the 36 hour. We have been working together now for almost a year, we met for the first time while running the MOKG 12 hour 2 years ago.
CLS is on race brief, anticipation builds amongst the 36 hour runners.
Hugs, words of encouragement and off they go.
My crewing shift doesn’t start till 2pm as I have a morning of clients, so off I go again to train.
Arriving for my shift early to get some laps in with Dean and see how things are going. He’s strong, he’s excited, he’s focused.
2pm and I’m lap counting. They are all running strong, new Marshall’s arrive and the 24 hour runners arrive drip feeding there way onto the start, excited and unsure what to expect from this event.
800m flat tarmac up, then turn and come back. Sounds easy on paper I guess…but for 36, 24 and 12 hours? Only time will tell how each runner gets on both physically and mentally.
24 hour runners start and I nip off for a couple of hours break in my van parked near the start to have a kip before my next shift at midnight.
Head torches and red rear lights are flashing, parading the walk as I approach for the night shift. Laps are counted, coffee is drunk and the hours tick by as each runner battles through the hot sticky night section waiting for Dawn to break. Louis is dealing with any niggles that runners may have in the massage tent, this is his 3rd year at this event, he knows it well.
Music is played from runners phones, voices are joyful as they sing along to tracks that motivate them to keep moving forward.
6.30am arrives quickly and it’s time for another nap for me in the van before the day shift.
Arriving back at 10am this is another race entirely, the 12 hour runners have started, there are now 26 runners on route, all lapping the same route again and again in the heat.
I’m in care corner now. Buffs are dipped in cold water, ice is applied to hats, necks, down backs and fronts of running tops and to any sore spot. Jay Grady and his infamous sharp forearm (elbow) is now in the massage tent and the runners are relieved of any tightness that has occurred after all the hours pounding the 800m pavement laps. Myself and Jay work together on some, I prepare feet for him to work on. Jay is my Sports massage therapist and ever since meeting him a year ago my whole training life has changed for the better, so being able to work along side him now is an honor for me. Jay gets to work while I chat to the runners when they need it the most. along side him now is an My MOKG massage tent moment was extremely emotional for me, I know this feeling only too well, so words of encouragement are key right now.
Water is topped up, electrolites are encouraged, hot tea and coffee is served, soup, chilli, sandwiches and a large array of cakes are handed out. Runners call for the toilet keys, they wait in line for massage and foot care. We ensure that everything is taken care of. After running for hours it’s important that they focus on the job at hand while we take care of everything else.
Hours pass, each runner experiences some pretty dark moments, only to then find that inner strength to carry on another lap. Marshall’s change shifts, Karen Spooner and Verity arrives for their stint in the massage tent, Laps are counted, soup is served, supporters gather for the last few hours.
It’s almost 8pm, 36, 24 and 12 hours are almost complete for all runners. We all cheer as they pass that green line one last time and celebrate their race finish.
My client Dean has had an Amazing race, as have each and everyone that took part.
These small events are unique, unique in that we all pull together as a super power, everyone putting the other one first, everyone wanting to help and push forward.
There are tears at the finish. There are still tears now. Both from runners and supper crew I am sure, and definitely from me.
It’s Sunday night, I’ve just dropped Dean back to his friends house in Truro, I’m looking forward to a real bed now.
I wake, it’s bank holiday Monday 10am, I’ve slept for almost 12 hours, awesome. Up I jump, running gear on and I head out on the trails. Getting the miles in my legs any chance I can when I’m not training clients or working races is key. It’s also my way to recover and relax. Easy happy pace, for me it’s about volume, getting the miles and the hours in the legs. Stopping along the way for avocado on sourdough at Hub Portreath with a pot of green tea as I write this blog. Running for food is my favourite way to spend my day off.
Finishing my day with a beast of a training session with the brother in the drizzle at North Quay in Hayle and now I’m ready for bed again.
Oh how my bank holiday weekends have changed from 7 years ago…😂