This challenge has been on my list for 2-3 years so decided this was the year to finally get the entry in and go for it! Training had gone as planned – several 80+ mile bike rides, 20 mile runs, long swims so I felt reasonably well prepared. As we approached the event I saw the weather forecast and the news that Run Norwich had been cancelled and also that the worst of the heat was in the midlands, expecting to reach 40 degrees on the two days that I would be competing. The event wasn’t cancelled though so I travelled to York, now unsupported, as my husband had been ill and would be unable to cope with the heat in a tent on the campsite. My plan changed and was just to survive and complete the event rather than aim for any times. At the briefing Saturday evening the weather was mentioned and a possibility of pausing the event if the weather conditions became too extreme. I tried to get some extra sleep on Sunday ready for the Monday 3am start, but the campsite was a bit noisy and hot so I just dozed most of the time.
Swim: 4.8miles / 7.6km – 304 lengths of a 25m pool. I started well but became queasy due to temperatures being 28-30 degrees and not used to having to drink so much during a swim, however after a couple of breaks I made the cut off. Back to the campsite for a quick change now.
Bike: 225 miles / 360km – 27 laps of an 8.2 mile loop. My plan was to do as much in the morning as possible, so got out and got 7 laps done, then it started to get really hot and I again struggled with hydration, twice was stopped for 2-3 hours by the medic to drink and eat more, but allowed to continue once checked over. I was also told I would be able to continue and not worry about the cut off times. This was clearly going to take a few more hours than I had expected, as I was taking it a lap at a time with a short break after each one. Once the weather cooled a bit I got the lights on the bike and went through until 4am, then realised I should get a couple of hours sleep. I resumed again at 7:30am and was given the news that there would be a pause from 1-5pm due to the extreme heat. I got almost to the end of the bike by 1pm and then went off to cool down in the lake and get some rest, although sleeping was impossible in the heat. Back on the bike at 5pm to polish off the last couple of laps, so pleased to have got that done and hopefully it would cool down a bit overnight.
Run: 52 miles / 84km – 48 laps of 1.1 mile course. By now it was Tuesday early evening and after a quick change and freshen up was ready to go out on the run. My legs still worked and I managed to run for quite a few laps, and during the night I kept going with my torch although mostly walking as it didn’t really dip below 20 degrees. Once the sun came up I rallied a bit and started to jog again finally finishing at 11am.
Time was irrelevant due to the heat – 52 hours in total. Although I had no crew I had huge amount of support from everyone, checking I was eating and drinking, making me cups of tea, fetching meals and generally encouraging me the whole way. What an amazing experience! What a wonderful bunch of mad people! And I was just doing the short race, the Deca and Quin wouldn’t finish for a few more days. Not sure if I would do it again, I’ll need to consider that once I’ve recovered.