Monstrous. Relentless. Tough. Painful. But the hills have now almost been conquered. We can also smell London (which, on this occasion, is a good thing). And I can now say I have run more than 30 miles in one go.
Today was always going to be the most difficult day. A late arrival into the UK on Thursday would impede the preparations for our assault on the South Downs, the longest and hilliest day of the eight.
The day didn’t start well. Our body clocks woke us all up at 6am (2 hours before our alarm), with barely 4 and a half hours sleep. We also didn’t manage to obtain a copy of the route before setting off. But despite this, it was 90 minutes of steady running before we first got lost (when we had to run alongside the A22 for a stretch to correct ourselves).
But the short sharp hills that we had encountered up until this point were no match for what was about to be cast upon us. We ran for more than 15 miles along the same main road (named Main Road for a section), which went through Kidd’s Hill, Cotchford Hill, Jib Jacks Hill, Mill Hill, Marlpit Hill, and Crockham Hill, before we finally turned off – because we needed to change direction, rather than give up. Anyone following Kevin’s Blackberry would have probably questioned our changing pace unless they had ‘Google terrain’ alongside.
To accompany us on these hills were the demons in my head telling me how painful my legs were. It was certainly the toughest day in that respect. Every time we paused for breath (or water) and tried to get going, the demons were telling me how a different part of my legs was in excruciating pain and I needed to stop. I just slowed down for a few strides, to shut them up, and then cracked on again. Eventually, this worked.
Tomorrow, we arrive at Shooter’s Hill, and will post details of our arrival on the website later so that people can join make preparations to join us. At present, we are thinking of an 11.30 finish, but we need to investigate the route before we can confirm this.
Distance according to Garmin: 31.56 miles
Time from Lewes to Westerham (including rests): 5:06:00 (4:32:07 for 26.2m)
Running time: 4:32:07 (3:42:58 for 26.2m)
Additionally, we burnt more than 4000 calories according to the Garmin – I think it’s time for yet another dinner.