Race Date: Sunday 22nd September 2019
Report by Laura Fletcher
First of all I never thought it would be me writing a report for an Ultra!
So here we go, get a brew and some biccys!
I entered this race in December as an alternative to a marathon. In my head I thought the training can’t be any harder surely it’s just run slow for a super long time…… well how wrong was I?! The run walk technique as well as fuelling along the way is something I’d really not thought about.
Training went well most of it with Jemma who was doing the 35 mile option. I even managed a marathon & 2 30 mile runs along the way! One of these with ultra extraordinaire Matt Gibson who taught me alot about run/walking, when to eat and drink and mostly that I dont like roast chicken dinner baby food. 3 weeks before I ended up with the worst blister EVER and was forced to take a extra week taper……nothing more to do till race day!
The morning of the race I’d been awake since 4.30am and by 5.30 am I’d eaten enough porridge and bagels to last me a life time!
Me and Jemma arrived at Ladybower and collected our numbers, had a chat with fellow Striders and huddled in for our race briefing in a lovely torrential down pour!
8am on the dot and we were off…..obviously with all the training I had done I set off far too fast (who doesn’t?!) and had to reel it back in. The rain came down and I had everything crossed it would stop.
Mile 1-20 *These flew by and I found myself at a comfortable pace, walking the hills and taking in the views, even the rain had stopped. A brief hug and pep talk from John Liddle running the opposite way was very much appreciated! I was soon back to the tent, quick soggy sock change, took on some more fuel and set off on my next loop.
Mile 23 * I suddenly became very cold and wet and everything just hurt. I couldn’t understand where it had come from and I just felt meh…. I text Ash telling him I didn’t think I could do this, I really had all the self doubts and thoughts in my head of not even half way and this is how you feel?! Still I had a word with myself and pushed on regardless I thought, get to 35 and give up if you really have to (my mum said there was no shame in stopping if I had had enough and was struggling. I was struggling and felt like I’d had enough but who ever actually does what their mum says?! Sorry mum!!!)
Mile 26* I had somehow picked myself back up slightly by this point, I think it was down to the salt Sarah had passed me at the start saying I’d need it at some point. I’m not sure when I should’ve took it but if the lady legend of ultra running said I needed it then I’d take it! The ever so lovely Helen Smith was waiting for Sallyann and ran with me up the hill and it was again so lovely to see a happy, smiley, friendly face.
Mile 28-29 * Well this went on for what felt like hours! Everything hurt, the hills seemed never ending and the trail path beneath me made it very hard to run on and well I just cried. By this point I hadn’t seen anyone for such a long time, I was lonely and miserable and not what running is about for me. I looked over the dam and could see others running and wishing I was where they were! I got my head down and pushed on.
Mile 34* Just as I was thinking about walking to the tent and handing my number in a voice booming out of Ladybowers Tin Town “LAURA FLETCHER” and the shiny high vis vision of Stuart Jones came sliding down the side of the hill and instantly pushed me on! We ran into the tent and I did another quick change and fuel top up. Yes I was carrying on! A hug from Sallyann who had just completed her 35 miles and Helen and I was off on my last lap!
Mile 35 * A decision to do this race was from a very good friend who unfortunately couldn’t take part due to injury, when I got to mile 35 in the tent I saw her name on the start sheet and it got me out on that last lap. Laura this one is for you!
Mile 40* Nancy Stuart had agreed to run my last 10 with me so as we waved Stuart off we carried on. The rain started to come down and I was really loosing all hope of ever getting round. There’s no way I was telling Nancy I was quitting after she had come all the way out on her weekend to help me out! So we pushed on with lots of walking and some very slow running!
Mile 43* As we came down off the top path and over the little bridge I felt a final sense of relief that I was on my way to the finish now…no turning back….. I CAN DO THIS! This pretty quickly turned into are we nearly there yet, why are we not there yet, can we call a taxi?! Nancy kept telling me how well I was doing and we had got this.
Mile 47* The final dam wall was in sight but like an optical illusion it never got any closer, we were walking lots by this point and as much as my head was telling me to run my legs just wouldn’t go. I was starting to worry everyone else had finished and all those volunteers were waiting just for me. I was getting so worked up about not being able to run. Nancy assured me one foot in front of the other, were still moving forward. As I looked back over the dam I could see people behind me. I’m not last!!! Right let’s get this done!!!!!
Mile 48-50.6 * I had a quick stop and stretch and we were off, slowly but surely my legs started to turn and we were off! Mile 48 turned to 49 and 49 to 50, Ash was waiting near Fairholmes and gave me that last little boost I need to get up the hill to the finish. Done and done in 10.59! And not last!!! I wanted to cry but had no energy left…I sat and ate something. I can’t even remember what?! I won a spot prize too, a lovely fleece jacket.
So Ladybower 50 – It’s a fantastic local event, ran by the loveliest people. They really do support you the whole way thru the race and spur you on when you are clearly ready to give up! The route is gorgeous and you get to see it 3 times!!! Great value and medal (T-Shirt paid for separately) Would I do it again, yes but probs just the 20 as for now I’m never ever doing another ultra.
Well done to all other Striders who took part and especially Sarah Storey finishing 3rd Lady!
One last final word before you all fall asleep, the times where I struggled and wanted to quit…..all your lovely comments and help along my journey came into mind and really did help me so much! This is by far the best running club ever 💛💚
35 Mile Results
Fastest man was Chris Andrade in 05.20, fastest woman was Holly Jones in 06.27.
50 Mile Results
Fastest man was Kirk (surnames not listed!) in 07.15, fastest woman was Kim in 08.12.
More information here