Challenge Accepted: 100km in 12 hours.

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It’s 9pm on one of the warmest Saturdays of the year. As I write this, all I want is to down an ice-cold glass (bottle) of Prosecco. Instead, I am chowing down on a big bowl of carbs, planning out my 26.2 mile route around all (yes, all) of London’s parks tomorrow. Why would I be torturing myself in this way you may ask? Just keep on reading, and you might find out…

THE BACKGROUND

Earlier this year, I was lucky enough to be offered a place in the Dixon Carphone 2017 Race to The Stones (@racetothestones). ‘RTTS’ is a 100km run along The Ridgeway: Britain’s oldest road which extends from the Chilterns to the North Wessex Downs, finishing at the 5,000 year-old stone circle at Avebury.

WHY WOULD ANYONE DO IT?

Whilst probably none (but please let me know if you are) of you are seasoned ultra-marathon veterans, I expect most of you are currently questioning my sanity and asking why someone would choose to run 100km in one day. The answer? I’m not entirely sure myself. Don’t get me wrong, I do enjoy running (most of the time) and I love a good challenge, but I am slowly coming to the realisation that July 15th will probably one of the toughest days of my life.

When I was contacted, it was not the first time that I had heard of the race. Last year, my bezzie (@clairehall39) took part and could not stop raving about the event. Marking RTTS ’16 as one of the best days of her life, the FOMO kicked in and there was absolutely no way I could turn the opportunity down. So here I am, exactly 5 weeks away from possibly the most intense (physically and mentally) challenge I have set myself as of yet.

Once I was signed up, I decided to also take the opportunity to do some fundraising for Voluntary Service Overseas (VSO). The charity is one that is close to my heart, as my dad is heading to Sierra Leone next year with VSO for 6 months to work as a doctor. VSO  is an incredible organisation, placing skilled volunteers on long-term placements, fighting poverty in developing countries.

SUPPORT, SPONSORSHIP AND HOW CAN YOU HELP?

Firstly, if you have a spare 5 minutes today, please considering heading over to my Just Giving page here to find out more about VSO. If you are feeling particularly generous, you can also make a donation; anything would be greatly appreciated, big or small.

Whilst I am most certainly not a professional runner, I have some experience in long-distance running. Nevertheless, I started out my training with the little endurance strength I had left from the 2016 London Marathon and entered into an intense 16 week training programme, provided by the race organisers. My helping hand and motivation comes curtesy of my sponsors; Currys & PC World, who have gone above and beyond; providing me with a Nutribullet Pro 900, Goji headphones and portable charger. 

You may be asking yourself what ultra-marathon training consists of. Running, surprisingly… and a s**t load of it. During the week, I have decided to stick to my usual fitness routine: 2 weights sessions & 2 cardio or functional training sessions (e.g. my 10-to-One workout, which can be found here). At the weekends, I pack in those miles. Although this may not be the most conventional of training plans, I am determined not to rewind all the progress I have made through shifting towards a more weight-training focused exercise regime in the past 6 months. So far, so good. Firstly, I have not lost all the muscle and strength in my legs (bum in particular, eye-roll). Secondly, my running endurance and power has significantly increased. Whilst this will be largely a result of the stupid distances I have been covering at the weekends, I have no doubt that my weight training (squats, pull ups, lunges & deadlifts) has had a huge influence as well. Take note guys: ultra-marathon training does not mean running has to take over your life 7 days a week (although your nutrition needs some attention – more on this in my mini-blog-series: “Fuelling the Marathon”).

Whilst part of me is completely dreading the 15th of July, I am also unbelievably excited for the epic challenge that awaits. The ultra-marathon will allow me to push myself to the absolute extreme, and I cannot wait to discover and prove what my body is capable of. Thank you Dixons Carphone & Currys PC World for giving me this opportunity, I won’t be letting you down!

Are any of you going to be racing to the stones on July 15th this year? If so, please let me know – I would love to share training tips and hear how you guys are getting along!!

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