Wow - what a beautiful place the Centre of the Universe turned out to be.
Bathed in glorious Spring sunshine.
Ultra-athletes and their crew, paces and friends...and Archie the dog.
Kindness from Johnathan (aka Breakfast Club) for allowing our Camino Sew-on badges to become a portal to a free crisp cool beer.
To the rent-a-cheer crowd on the hill and all the friendly souls from the barge-community who stopped and asked us what all these heroic runners were up to. As organisers that is perhaps the one thing above all else that is ours...and that we will treasure forever....and that is the small snippets of conversations that we had with you - captured in the moment when you are gripped by every emotion - when tiredness is fizzing through your veins and yet the nervous energy is literally causing you to send us smoke signals. We are there in front of you and you grab hold of that water and your devour it. Some of you had become dehydrated - some just see it as a sensible transaction on this wonderfully sun-soaked day. You shared with us your adventures, your successes, your shared experiences....some perhaps had not quite achieved what you had hoped in terms of a time....but that is the 9th wonder of the world.
Ultramarathons are for everyone. You are not lined up and easily comparable with one another.......that is a thing to cherish.
So Alex Collins ran 95KM and achieved this in a moving time of just over 8 hours - that is extraordinary. Our dear friend Kelsey ran COTU with her wonderful Dad Dave. When they reached the finish Kelsey had done several KM more just because she had itchy feet and skipped off from time to time whilst Dad enjoyed a rest.
You just didn't really know who had achieved what - but everyone had achieved an ultramarathon and so much more.
We loved that there were "solos" and "squads". After finishing we observed that some solo runners had become best friends with squads - we love that. Ever growing Camino community.
Some of our favourite moments were when a runner would come to the finish and signal that they had more distance left to run. We would be glued to the Race Director tracker whilst Dean was pacing on the other side of the Olympic communication building. We almost sent out a search party for Jess/Rose/Stef circled in different ways around Victoria Park.
We did have a podium of finishers.
Congratulations to the mighty Esther O'Connor for being first female in a wonderful 4 hrs 7, closely followed by the ever-strong Valerie Wong (2nd) in 4 hrs 9 and another great performance from Laura Vaccari (3rd) in 4 hrs 23.
Big powerful run by Kallum Pritchard (1st) in a lightning 3 hrs 33 minutes to take the crown, followed by a punchy 3 hrs 38 from Franck Bitard (2nd) and a brilliant debut from Daniele Cipriani (3rd) with his 3 hrs 53 minutes.
All times will be updated here and on the official Race Director link shortly.
We have some artists looking at the route data and we will be dissecting to see if we can produce some works of beauty - watch this space.
We have a huge thank-you list - Paula xx Gigi xx Sam & Luke, Breakfast Club, MK Original, Exhale Coffee, James and entire KOMFuel team, Chris wonderful Mills - Race Director, 80Noir Ultra, Everyone who stayed until the sun went down x
See you at Lea Valley 50KM for more ultramarathon heaven xx