We call ourselves the famous five.
It all started when I advertised an outdoor training and soul running holiday partnered up with Mark Wreford in Lunada Spain.
Louise, Carolyn C and Charlotte have all been clients and friends of mine for a while, while Carolyn T and I had been in contact online through a group I had started a year before encouraging people to cover 5km everyday for 50 days leading up to Christmas.
The 5 of us ladies started a bond through a messenger group before the 4 day holiday, and when finally together it was no surprise that we would all get on as well as we did.
During the Lunada holiday Carolyn T became an online client which we continue to this day.
Our group messenger chats remained and with the bond tightening these 4 lovely ladies snapped up the chance to come on another fitness and soul running escape to Kingsbridge with me.
While back in Cornwall training Louise raised an idea that the 4 of them should enter as a team for Endurance Life’s Classic Quater that following June.
This is a 44 mile trail race starting at the most southernmost point at The Lizard following the coastpath around to the most westerly point at Land’s End.
Appointing legs was easy…the girls had their routes, they knew what they had to do! Train hard.
And that they did! Now this bit wasn’t easy at all believe me.
Each had different issues, injuries and location battles to deal with. But this didn’t stop either of them. Long days spent on the trails, group runs, solitary runs, hard training sessions with myself, endless sessions booked in with sports massage therapists…all for the final goal..all to unite together as a team, running under the Tracy Waite Superstars name and representing the soul running movement that I feel so passionately about.
The cut offs for this race can be harsh, the trails can be brutal.
We had a pact. If someone didn’t make a cut off we would still continue so that everyone got to run. I would be with them throughout crewing the day. Whatever we would be together through this as the Famous Five that we are.
Race day arrives…
I pick Charlotte up at ridiculous o’clock and off we go to the start line.
Charlotte first started training with me 4 years ago. We had ran Freedom Racing Poldu Summer Sessions together, her first 10km.
Now for the longest solo run of her life yet.
Nerves are high but excitement is building.
Off she goes…I run after her with tears pouring down my face holding my phone up to capture her start…I can’t explain why I am crying, I’m just so proud of being able to be there at that moment as she starts..
I meet her 6.5 miles in at Mullion Cove, her husband Tony and beloved dog Richmond are there too, we watch as she is literally skipping down the steep coast path to the aid stop waving her hands in the air while sporting the biggest smile ever. This lady is soul running…she is having the best time ever.
She runs on to church cove where her leg will finish and I meet up with the rest of the gang as they are a mixture of nerves and excitement also.
Louise is next…she has her game face on…
Louise and I have been training together now for over 4 years, she was never interested in running, apparently hates it (we often joke about this). She has gone from
strength to strength. Aiming for that first 5km, and then soon she had London in her sights….we don’t speak about her running London Marathon…has she ever mentioned she ran London? 😂
Charlotte arrives, she’s still smiling, she’s finished her leg and off Louise runs…..I’m stood at church cove beaming with pride for these amazing women I have the pleasure of supporting today.
First crew stop for Louise is Porthleven, she’s still strong…I fill her water bottle up and have to leg it after her as she is determined not to stop and to carry on, this is one dogged human being!
Off we all go now to Praa Sands, once again the same thing happens, water bottle is filled and I have to run after her to give it back…she has 4 miles left and will not stop for anyone or anything…
We arrive at Perranuthnoe, this is where Louises leg ends and Carolyn T will start.
Carolyn is now feeling very nervous, we ran this route together as a group once before, but Carolyn lives in Surrey so getting out and used to our trails here in Cornwall is impossible. Myself and Carolyn are in touch everyday, the online coaching I offer includes checking in with me after planned workouts and support throughout. Her progress in the last 9 months has been amazing. I have visited her at her home to hold a bespoke escape weekend for her family and friends which also allowed me to check out her local trails to program the training accordingly.
Louise is bounding her way to the finish…by goodness this woman is one strong human..
They exchange dibbers and off Carolyn T goes…her wings outstretched the colour of jade green.
Carolyn’s route is through Penzance and along the prom which means we can pop up in various locations and drive by her shouting and supporting throughout which is nice, especially as this is not an area she is familiar with.
Carolyn runs well, she runs fast and strong.
She runs with a big smile in her face.
We turn up to a cheer spot, she appears within seconds, then we move to the next…this is a game of cat and mouse..we are all having a blast!
I park at the top of Mousehole hill and run down to meet her at the bottom…stomping up the hill I show her the path onto the last 3km of lovely trails to Lamorna Cove, her finish and the start of the last leg for Carolyn C (aka wolf)
Now where do I start with how myself and Carolyn met….Carolyn was my dads consultant in his last months at Mount Edgcombe hospice. We then met again at our local CrossFit box and from there began a friendship. She soon became a client when she asked me to train her to run 400m to be able to complete the CrossFit WODS. That 400m goal soon changed to 1km, then 1 mile, the 5km….and then her first half marathon.
Carolyn had been pretty injured of late, and the past few months we have been focusing on rehabilitation training to get her back to running again. 4 weeks before this race we finally reached 60 secs of running..that is how bad things had gotten …but not once has Carolyn wanted to stop, the love for the trails continues.
So here we are at Lamorna…the nerves are high…
Carolyn T appears bounding through the Cove, I run to meet her, ‘how is Carolyn feeling?’ She asks straight away, these ladies are real stars, all so supportive of eachother.
Now for the wolf to run…this is leg 4. Any of us that have run CQ know about leg 4. You might aswell he rock climbing some of this route. The first 5.5 miles are the worst, very technical terrain, unforgiving!
The plan is that all the girls now go home and shower and eat some hot food. I am to park at the Minack and run out to Wolf so I can support run with her on this section.
I find her at 2.5 miles in…she is happy and running well.
We run, we chat, we laugh. We have Will the tail runner with us, we are all having a blast.
Then those dreaded bloody steps come. The incline here is brutal. The steps of actual hell!
Wolf’s legs and back play a game of tag and spasm one at a time. These steps are killers at the best of times.
Fatigue and pain set in.
We stop to eat, to stretch, and just to be. This is getting tougher than tough now.
Just focusing on every 100m in front of us, one step at a time, we make our way to the Minack.
We hand in the dibber as we are past the cut off, but we still plan to keep going for as long as we can.
At the Minack we stop to rest and to re assess the legs and back.
Everything goes into spasm.
Food will not go down, and the idea of eating, moving, walking, let alone running is unbearable.
After a lot of tears Carolyn asks me to say what we are both thinking… I make the decision to pull Wolf out of the run.
I’m not going to lie, this is not an easy decision to have to make. I feel sick as I say the words out loud.
Carolyn has come from 60 secs intervals 4 weeks previous to covering 5.5 miles on this brutal leg of race. The first 3 miles were strong and the wolf ran with love in her heart again…let’s hold on to that…this leg is to be continued but today we call it a day.
Soul running is about running in the moment, mindfulness on the trails, running for meditation, running for medication. Running with love in our hearts.
These 4 showed that.
I have never felt prouder than I did that day.
Standing on the start line of any event believing you deserve to be there is worth any medal…what happens on the race happens.
Soul running is running without worry of pace, position, time and when necessary completion…it’s about getting out there and giving your ALL, my girls gave everything they had.