I spent Saturday night in a marquee in Walton-on-Thames volunteering at the Thames Path 100.
That hadn’t been the plan. The plan had been to spend the night in a nice cosy village hall in Streatley, but flooding meant that the race director had to re-route the run at the last minute, rearranging everything from about mile 40 onwards.
So my cosy indoor pad morphed into a markedly less cosy outdoor venue, and the 100 mile point-to-point became a 102 mile out a lot*, back a bit**, out a bit**, back a smidge*** course.
Walton was at the second turnaround point, just under 2/3rds of the way through. To put that into perspective, to get to it, the runners had run more than twice as far as I’ve ever run, and they still had further than I’ve ever run to go.
I am, to put it simply, in awe of the lot of them, and I don’t just mean those runners who eventually made it as far as the finish. Though I’m saving a special amount of hero-worship for Debbie Martin-Consani, 6th into Walton and 4th overall finisher, who rocked up at the tent, called out her number, smiled and then carried on. And whose splits over 100 muddy miles were more even than mine often are over 10.
*lot = 38 miles
**bit = 27 miles
***smidge = 10 miles