Yesterday I completed the 10km Cheltenham Challenge! I’ll be writing a separate blog post about my race, but as I had such an amazing day yesterday, I wanted to do a quick write up of some of my highlights.
For those who don’t know, the Cheltenham Challenge (managed by CCP) is an annual multi-terrain event with a selection of distances you can enter: 5km, 10km, half marathon, marathon and ultra marathon. There were separate routes for the 5km and 10km, then one route for the half marathon, which was then run twice for the marathon, and three times for the ultra marathon.
All of the routes take you around Cheltenham Racecourse, and then the half marathon route takes you up, across and down Cleeve hill. A very tough course, but incredibly beautiful. Even more importantly, the Cheltenham Challenge has raised over half a million pounds for more than 75 charities to date.
Starting at the racecourse, there was an event village with various food stalls, sports related gear and free sports massage for the participants. There was certainly enough to create a buzz around the start and finish point for the events.
The marathon and ultra marathon runners set off early at 8am, I arrived just after this so missed them leaving unfortunately. I watched the half marathon group leave at 8:30 then set off myself for the 10k at 9am. The 5k race then set off at 9:30.
Along the route the marshals and those at the refreshment stands were all really friendly, clapping and cheering really does make a difference when you’re struggling! Runners themselves were also helpful, checking people were ok if they had stopped, and helping with gates, bridges and stiles.
Coming in at the finish line, I was handed my medal and directed back to my running club stand to collect my T-shirt, as we had the honour of handing those out to finishers. Each race was colour coded so your medal and T-shirt were all in the same colour. It made it much easier to make sure finishers got the right one!
After handing out T-shirts, I then moved onto handing out the medals at the finish line. It was a real privilege to hand out the medals to individuals who had completed this amazing achievement. I was handing out medals to people who had walked the half marathon, run the marathon and completed the ultra marathon.
I met some really inspiring people, one man in his 60’s who is aiming to complete 105 marathons this year – that’s 2 every weekend! A another man in his 70’s who is also doing 2 marathons each weekend!
I stayed right till the end of the day to give the last medal to the final finisher for the ultra marathon. This lady set off at 8am and finished at 5:15pm – what an amazing achievement.
I have to say, the most memorable for me was Tyre Lady, who completed her marathon pulling and carrying an 8kg tyre from a harness she was wearing. I first saw Tyre Lady run through the racecourse starting her second lap, so to be there when she completed her marathon was fantastic. She let me run for about 10 seconds around the car park pulling the tyre, how she carried and pulled it for a marathon I’ll never know!
I’ve actually been able to get in contact with Tyre Lady through Twitter so I’ll be doing a blog post very soon on her reasons behind running with a tyre and the message she is hoping to spread…so watch this space!
All in all, the day was absolutely fantastic, I loved my race, and I couldn’t be prouder of what I achieved, more on that in another post though. I was also really proud that I could stay and witness these amazing people completing these events. It doesn’t matter what distance you walked or ran that day, the fact that you were there trying was amazing. Well done everyone, and bring on next year!