Updated: Mar 10
Anyone who knows anything about the UK Ultramarathon scene knows about the early season classic - Country to Capital.
Just one look at our beloved DUV Statistiks website shows you just how rich in history this 14 year old event is. So many of the British elite have podiumed in this 43 mile race - many looking to test out their winter training and see where they are for up and coming Spring/Summer A-goals.
The 2022 version took place a couple of weeks ago and there were many friends and coached athletes from Camino either running or supporting.
Our very own legend Teresa Reason came 11th out of 72 (1st V45) - in an exceptionally strong female year - and she kindly shared with us this wonderful reflection of the Go Beyond Challenge event. Thank you Teresa x
Country to Capital - 8th January 2022.
The race headquarters was in the Shoulder of Mutton Pub. I arrived with an hour to the start, so collected my number and tracker and relaxed with a cup of tea with my club mates. It is so lovely to have the pub facilities at the start, especially the luxury of indoor toilets!
Before I knew it, it was time for the bag drop as I stepped outside the rain started. I decided to copy others by putting on my rain jacket for the start and boy was I glad later of this decision! I stupidly didn’t have my watch ready at the start, so crossed the start line still waiting for my watch to download the route. Right from the start I felt a bit breathless, it all felt harder work than it should have been, but I stuck with two guys from my club.
I was able to chat as we ran so I couldn’t have been running that hard. The mud was really hard work, slippery and slidy and very porridge like in places. I enjoyed the Chesham section as it was the end section of Herbert’s Hole which I have raced many times. I walked up the hills and ran the downhill and flat sections unless the mud was particularly sloppy then I walked. The second aid station I wasn’t ready for, I spent longer here than necessary. I hadn’t drunk much fluid since the last stop so ended up just doing water top ups. I remember there being a nice road downhill after this point so picked up some pace before hitting the muddy trails again.
The rain continued and seemed to get heavier, which didn’t help with my motivation, I had several thoughts of ‘why’ and ‘should I give up now’. By this stage my two friends had pushed on, so I was now running by myself. I was hoping things would get easier once I hit the towpath so getting to the towpath was all I was focussed on.
Eventually I hit the towpath, but legs just felt as if I didn’t have much left. It also didn’t help that, that section of towpath wasn’t the easiest; it was muddy and there were puddles everywhere! I started to do a bit of walk then run at this point. Eventually I got to the third aid station. I filled up my drinks and took on more food. At the previous aid stations, it had all been chocolate and cakes, so it was nice to find cheddars as I was craving salt. I really regret not having made my own sandwiches as the food at the aid stations was minimal compared to other events I’ve done. At this point I had managed to catch up with one of my club mates. He too was finding it all as hard going as me. We started running again but then fell into walk/run once again.
The rain was at its heaviest, I had to keep wringing out the water from my gloves to keep my hands warm. Then another lady sailed passed me, that was when I thought no more walking! I just had to get it done! So, I put my head down and just started running. It worked I started to overtake a few other people which help boost me again and I knew I would eventually finish. I also had the promise of a lift home from my club mate who was still ahead, so I knew he and his wife would be at the finish waiting so I had to keep going!
This part of the canal did not improve. Although underfoot was better, the scenery was not. I saw a lot of competitors being met by support crew and changing from their trail shoes into nice clean, light trainers which I hadn’t even considered. No surprise I then started noticing more people speed and bounce pass me!
Eventually I hit the 4th aid station and that’s when my mood began to pick up; the end was almost in sight, just 10 miles to go. This I decided, would be my last stop, I was planning to run through the last aid station as recommended by Paula. I filled up my fluids and took some cake. I also stuck on headphones and lost myself to music (I think the rain may even have eased at this point?!). Before I knew it I had just over two miles to go, the rain started again, and these felt the longest two miles ever. The slope inclines by Sainsbury’s were not welcomed at all! I was so happy to eventually finish. A little disappointed with finish line it was literally a few people standing and writing down your number. I wasn’t aware of my pace or time as had been using the map Now thinking back, I think I probably took the trail part harder than should have done which then left me with nothing for the tow path?
All in all, considering how I felt throughout the race I was really pleased. Would I do it again, not sure I would but definitely a fab medal to add to the collection!