Ultra Challenges Isle of Wight 106km 🥉

It’s safe to say I went out a tad too hard. The opening 50km (31-miles) a PR of 4:38:40 says it all. Yet I’ve slowly started to believe in myself as a runner. To not only complete but to see if I can compete with my fellow runners. It’s powerful to recognise just how much friendly and encouraging competition can help us reach new levels.

Running to feel, it felt right to push from the front, knowing I’d either blow up or run the race of my life. In the end, I’d say it was somewhere in between. Stomach issues meant I struggled to stick to my nutrition plan, but I adapted and managed to get decent carbs in the tank most hours.

The eventual winner Sean Elliot and I went back and forth during the opening half of the challenge, before he eventually pulled away and crowned the deserving winner.

Hanging on in 2nd, I was eventually passed by Richard Bryars who looked effortless as he glided by. I had to smile, as his elegant stride was in stark contrast to my stride with what can only be described as how we experience running when in a dream.

From this point forward I felt like I was being hunted down, expecting more participants to pass me, as I continued to struggle with tight hip flexors, sore feet and heavy legs. But my mind stayed with me. A mixture of self-talk, visualisation and being present, a witness to the movement with a few minutes pulling past treasures from the Smilinggg Treasure Chest.

Fortunately I kept putting one foot in front of the other; toughing out and accepting the discomfort to cross the finish line in 3rd place with a time of 11:53:03.

I’d like to extend a huge well done to Sean and Richard. Congratulations to everyone who toed the start line this weekend and a special level of respect to the souls walking the route. As stunning the route during the day, I imagine the beautiful was replaced with brutal during those night hours.

Thanks to the volunteers. Your care and support is exceptional; the experience wouldn’t be the same without you. Lastly. Thanks to my friends on y’olde socials for always being so supportive with the Smilinggg Journey. It means so much.

Steps 👣 + Smiles 🤗

Keep #Smilinggg 💛

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