This month’s adventure was the Jurassic Coast Challenge, and as the organisers put it “This event is a challenge of a life time. Open to all abilities to run, walk or crawl the total distance of 78.6 miles.”
Breaking that down....
“Challenge” – It is a challenge not a race, we were reminded on day 1. Obviously quite a few didn’t listen, as they barged past on cliff edges! And out of the 225 who started, 130 made it across the final finish line.
“Open to all abilities” – err, no. This should have said “open to seriously fit, slightly mental, endurance athletes only”
“to run, walk or crawl” – again, no. Running was most people’s choice, crawling was needed at times for the really steep stuff, but walking it – just not an option. You had to be able to run/jog considerable amounts in order to make it to the checkpoints in the allotted time and be permitted to continue.
“total distance of 78.6 miles” – well, we reckon we completed about 55miles of the course, but the gadget minded types with garmins on their wrist insist that most of the days were more like 27-30 total, so we probably covered about 60, mostly due to the elevations, 1 mile up hill is surely more than 1 mile actually covered?!!
However many miles we did, and however much our feet and legs ached, this challenge really did feel like we were pushing ourselves way out of our comfort zone and attempting something that we would never have done without cause. Over the course of the weekend we met so many people who were there as a personal challenge, some had travelled from afar (one American lady was so determined on day one that she finished at 8.30pm in the pitch dark, having done an extra 5k en route), some were returning having attempted the challenge before, some were using the weekend as an escape from their children, some knew 1 day was enough, others were hardened trail runner who could comfortably churn out 4 hours marathons in spite of the terrain. All had personal motivation and as we chatted over the carb feast that was provided each night, many were interested to hear why we were there and what HOPEHIV can achieve with the funds we are helping to raise.