yikes: 100 miles, 10400ft elevation, 32 hours

This weekend I’m doing my first 100 mile race, the North Downs Way 100.

It’ll be the first time I’ve gone over the 5x mile barrier (58 is the longest I’ve done in one go), and the first time I’ve run through the night. I keep imagining that I’m going to sit down for a rest and fall asleep somewhere in the vicinity of Box Hill at around 2am on Sunday morning, only to wake up hours later with 25 miles still to go. Either that or have all sorts of weird hallucinations.

In this mad, small world of running, it’s easy to think a 100 mile, mainly off road race, with over 10000 feet of elevation gain, is not a big deal in the grand scheme of things. We’re surrounded by incredible over-achievers, what with the likes of Binks being amazing day after day in the US, and plenty of people who are regularly at the really sharp end of races. I’m a fairly mediocre runner, was never particularly sporty as a child, but blessed with a decent dose of willpower/determination/stubbornness (delete as appropriate) which will hopefully see me through.

I’m also very lucky that I have a friend and clubmate who’s crewing for me, and two more friends and clubmates who are going to run parts of the last 50 miles with me, and an incredibly supportive family who’ll be popping up here and there over the weekend. I’m lucky that I’m getting to know a few other ultra runners who are either competing or helping over the weekend, and whilst these people tower over me in terms of their achievements, it’ll be nice to have some familiar faces around.

I was going to write that I’m a little terrified about the whole thing, but that’s not entirely true. I feel well trained (albeit not at the ideal level of mileage for this distance) and as prepared as I can be, but it’s a huge leap and there are so many things that could go wrong. I suppose you could say that I’m excitedly nervous :-)

So, wish me luck, and if you have any pennies that you can spare, please pop along to http://www.justgiving.com/matt10in10 and donate what you can.

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