Arc of Attrition - January 2022

100 miles with 5400m ascent

 I travelled to Devon on Tuesday to stay with my aunt in Sidbury for a day before heading to the Arc of Attrition registration on Thursday via Coverak which is the start so that I could check out the road then path section a little. I wanted to see how much road there was, what the path conditions were like and to make sure my watch and gpx were working properly. It was all good and I was pleased that there wasn't much road before the path began. I did Registration quickly and met Damian Hall who had offered to crew for me. The Arc has four checkpoints but lots of places where your crew can meet you if you have one. I was very grateful to Damian for offering to crew me and we quickly sorted out the stuff and headed to Lands End to the cottage to meet Andrew and Helen there. After a reasonably relaxing evening - only I was in the what to wear dilemma we headed to bed. I didn't sleep that well and was glad to get up, have porridge and set off.

I was able to get my tracker at registration quickly and headed back to the van to eat etc before buses went. I was then offered a lift in a car with Duncan who has won the Arc five times and his Mudcrew support. That really helped as I get a bit bus sick! I quizzed Duncan on route too!!

I was glad to get going on the race and settled down into my own pace, letting runners pass me and not racing. It was hard for the first 40 miles to know what pace to run at. The terrain was overall very runnable which I'm not used to. But I kept eating and ticking over. Sometimes I tried to increase the pace but I was worried that it was too fast. I was in and out of the main checkpoints as after I had met Damian a couple of times I knew he has sussed out where to find me all the time and I could rely on him. I knew I was about 3rd women and passed a lady who said she was from Plymouth so not used to the hills. I could see the 1st lady and slowly I was catching her. I just wanted to pass her but in my own way and keep going. I got to the beach that we cross and I could run on with my XTalon Ultras so I trotted passed her slowly. I thought she would come back passed me but she didn't.

When we got to Perantanthoe I had said I wanted to change into ParkClaws and I was so pleased that I had as my feet had swollen up and it was so nice to put some spacious cushioned shoes on. I wasn't looking forward to the eight miles of road but settled down into a pace and just trotted along. It was dark now and that made Penzance better as did following Seb, a guy I had been running with a bit. He didn't have support so we leap frogged each other at times but he was good on the nav and also on the flatter running while I was faster on the technical stuff so that worked well.

Damian was sorting my head torches out as although I was carrying batteries it was much quicker and easier. He also sorted my gpx as I had pushed the button in too far and it wouldn't turn on. I've never used a gpx but the path was so fiddly especially in the dark, even then I went wrong twice early on in some houses and a carpark but soon found the runners again and the right way. I was so happy to get to Mousehole and change into XTalons again for the technical section. It was great being on the route now because I had reccied it and it was also so up and down and rocky that I loved it. I was also trying to get a gap so that I could retain my first place position.

Damian was great - giving me food, drink and updating me. At St Ives I knew my legs were battered from the running and my stomach was playing up so I just wanted to carry on and finish as soon as possible. The actual time didn't matter I just wanted to stop running! The last 10 miles were on very runnable tracks and pergatory!! It was daylight and a small bay appeared in the distance. A couple of women spoke to me and cheered me on as they ran passed. There were two bays we had to go down and up and now my quads had really gone and running down was impossible and going back up was very hard work as the steps were huge. Now I could see a bay and a village and thought that must be Portowan. 5km, 4km, 3km - the downside of technical watches is that it had now decided to countdown every chuffing 100m. I ran into the village and knew there was one last climb. It wasn't steps which was a relief but very hard work.

Into the finish and I raised my arms as I was so happy to finish!! 1st Lady, 9th overall and a time of 25.35 hours.