Report by Elaine Stone

Me running 100k in a day????  I would never have believed it possible up until a few weeks ago.

I entered Race to the Stones nearly 2 years ago after completing the Snowdonia Marathon. I was still on a high and therefore pressed ‘Enter’ without thinking too much about it. I entered on the weekender package. The 100k route goes from Lewknor in Oxfordshire to the stone circle at Avebury along the ancient ridgeway trail. Basecamp for the night is halfway along the route at 50k.  There are 3 pitstops each day and ultra running is all about eating apparently.

Lockdown of course, meant that my entry was deferred to this year 10th July.

During lockdown, Peter became my plus one. We ran regularly 3x weekly throughout the Winter and Spring and my weekly mileage increased. On one of our many runs, Peter told me about the Catton 12 Backyard Ultra – a 12 hour event where you had to run a lap of a 4 mileish course on the hour every hour for 12 hours. At first I dismissed this as something I couldn’t possibly do, but then I thought about my Race to the Stones entry and thought that I could just turn up and try to do 8 laps and then I would know I could run the distance required for the Stones. This is exactly what I did -8 laps and then retired from the race. I remember then thinking – there’s no way I could ever run 100k in a day – how is that even possible? I would have to run almost twice as far!!

Anyway to cut a long story short, about a week after Catton 12, this niggle appeared in the back of my mind – should I try to do the race in one day? Could I? Do I want to run 50k twice? I emailed the race organisers to enquire if I could keep my weekender package but, if I felt ok when I arrived at basecamp could I carry on? They said I could if I notified them at basecamp and they would transport my over night bag to the finish also. I then had my start time through which was 6:30am on the Saturday morning. With my reckoning, I would be at basecamp for about 12:30. Did I really want to spend all afternoon at basecamp with not a lot to do? That spurred me on even more and I trained for the 100k in a day by doing 21 miles, 28 miles and then 34miles on consecutive weekends before then tapering for 3 weeks. The race consumed my thoughts throughout the whole of that time -could I do it? Was I capable?

It turns out that I was. I completed the race in 13 hours and 24 minutes.

I came 256th overall out of 1285 runners, was 55th female out of 500 runners and 6th FV50 out of 88 runners.

I had a fabulous experience.  On that day, for me, everything just fell into place- no blisters, no injuries, at no point did I want to give up and lie down – I just loved it! I would highly recommend the event. It is for walkers and runners alike. You can do the non-stop, the weekender or even just one day. It is very well organised and the marshals at the pit stops are great -very encouraging and helpful. Thankfully I didn’t need any medics, but there are first aid facilities to tape you up or deal with blisters etc.

Thanks to Peter in particular for making me believe in myself that I could actually do it!