4 days on and I’m still catching up on my sleep and I’m constantly hungry, hopefully I’ll be back to normal, whatever that is, within a few more days. I finished the event uninjured this year but even so I’m going to take a few more days off before I think about going for a run again. I know I’ve earned the rest.
In the last 12 months since failing to complete this challenge in 2017, with injury and a subsequent operation in December, I went into the event this year with a lot to prove and terrified of failing for a second time. Since not completing the event last year I have felt a little bit less of a 10in10er and haven’t worn my 10in10 hoodie as much. So simply completing the event, irrespective of time, has made it one of my most significant running challenges ever. It even eclipses my first 10in10 in 2011 and my fastest in 2015. This year I completed all ten days under 4 hours and my average time was 3:49:15 per day which is by no means my best time but still not my worst. My times have been a complete bonus considering the short 12 week window of condensed training I was able to fit in between recovering from the operation and the start of the event.
I feel a relaxed contentment since finishing the event and it is like a huge burden has been lifted. It was great to once again be presented with my stone trophy by the famous fellsman Joss Naylor. I think we have got to know each other quite well over the past 7 years with our chats both on the stage and around Brathay over the course of the event each year. He made the remark that I should take up the challenge to run TEN Brathay 10in10’s. My reply is only if he stays Patron of the event. I’m not sure that was the best answer as Joss’s participation is certainly much easier than mine! Does that mean I’m only half way there? What a tiring thought!
For the stats people out there, I’ve now ran 59 official laps of the lake, comprising of 54 10in10 laps and 5 Brathay Windermere Marathons. All my 10in10’s have averaged under 4 hours per day, with my fastest in 2015 being 3:31:56 per day which I consider my proudest running statistic to date. I’m also proud to say during the whole 10 days I used no physio tape nor any kind of tablets either pain killers or anti-inflammatories.
This year there was a number of changes to the way the event operated on a daily basis, the most noticeable change was the ice bath being replaced with an active cool down immediately after finishing the marathon each day. I never liked the ice bath but had come to believe there was a benefit by reducing any swelling between the daily marathons. I was very sceptical that spinning on a bike for 10 minutes straight after finishing a marathon would do any good. The idea behind this new science was that it keeps the legs loose and supple whereas an ice bath stiffens everything up and make legs feel numb. This also allows physios to assess and treat us easier. I’ve got to admit it seemed to work. By half way through the event I was affectionately calling it my “Spin Class”, not that I’ve ever been to a real one!
This year I’m so pleased to have raised well over £4,000 for the Brathay Trust with still a bit more money trickling in. This means I have now raised over £34,000 for Brathay over all my 10in10 challenges. A massive thank you to all who have helped me over these years to this colossal total. This year I especially want to thank my running club, Astley & Tyldesley Road Runners with many of my friends there getting behind me and sending me donations. This will allow Brathay to help many young school children experience outdoor activities in the beautiful Lake District at Low Bank Ground and support many other disadvantaged young people, steering them to make positive life changes.
Every time I do the Brathay 10in10 I also find it life changing. It makes me think a lot about myself, my life, my family and others. I get to meet old friends and make some wonderful new ones and this year has been every bit as special as all the previous occasions. The beautifully scenic Lake District, the place Brathay Hall, the people who work here and the young people who come for support, all make it such a special place. We call it the “Brathay Bubble”. Anyone that comes here is inspired and takes away wonderful memories forever. I simply want to help as many children and young people as possible to get the chance to experience this magical place through my fund raising.
My fellow runners have also inspired me this year, I watched them work so hard to keep getting round the lake each day. It is a massive mental challenge and as injuries creep in as the days progress it only gets tougher. Their grit and determination, not to give up has been touching and admirable.
Firstly and most importantly I want to thank my surgeon Rob Gilbert, without Rob offering to operate on my knee and the excellent job he did I wouldn’t have had any chance to complete the challenge and wouldn’t have stood on the start line on day 1. I also want to thank Maria from Stansfield Sports Therapy Clinic in Bolton, for keeping me in check and focused on what I had to do and stopping me running too soon. I know I’m a very bad patient and she has to put up with a lot!
I wish to thank Brathay for giving me the opportunity to take on this challenge again and put to bed the bad painful memories of last year. I want to thank Yuk-Lam, Abbey, Lucas, my Mum and Dad and all my family and friends for their support and donations. I want to thank Brathay’s support team, Aly, Mac, Trudy, Paul, Jim and Sandra for their hours of support each day and the rest of the Brathay staff including Steve the new chief and Shelagh, who help us while also doing their ordinary jobs.
Also a big thank you to Sarah my physio during the 10in10 for tenderly looking after my sore calves which got progressively more sore each day. I also want to thank her for making sure I was eating enough once I finished running with daily bowls of soup and fish fingers. I think I ate more fish fingers over the 10 days than in the last 10 years! I also want to thank all the other physios in the team put together by Adam and Katie they were all superb, very professional and so supportive to us tired runners.
I also want to thank Robin from Pura Perform. I got to know Robin from my first 10in10 back in 2011 when he sponsored the event and provided the hydration drinks. I’ve used his drinks ever since, I think they work brilliantly. Although he doesn’t sponsor the even anymore I still use his hydration powders to make my drinks. Just before the event this year, Robin kindly sent me a batch of a new formula of his berry flavoured Super Hydrate. I used it throughout the event and pretty much didn’t drink anything else. I found the flavour very tasty and didn’t get bored of it even after 10 days. As always it was comfortable on my stomach and did a great job keeping me hydrated each day, even in this year’s unusually warm conditions. I understand he will have it for sale on his website in the near future so hopefully others can benefit from this great hydration product, I certainly highly recommend it. Many thanks Robin.
Lastly and not least I want to thank the other 19 runners, some wonderful old friends and some great new friends, for sharing and helping me through the 10 days.
Now time for a little rest before I get back to a spot of marathon running, see you all around.