This year we have had the mighty pleasure of coaching the amazing Nethilee to several incredible running achievements.
When we were first introduced, there was a sense that Nethilee was a real ultramarathon newbie. Within the initial introductory weeks of working together and following the exploratory phase of training we knew that Nethilee was highly motivated to achieve big running goals.
Nethilee also joined Camino's 'Forest Friday' group - where we met every Friday in the lead up to Epping Forest and shared many Trail Technical skills on the actual race route itself. Again Nethilee was so helpful in these sessions and a real support to many of runners who were experiencing these trails for the very first time.
We will be re-doing a series of these as part of Camino Lea Valley 25Km in March 2024.
Nethilee joined Run Grateful's Mark, Camino RD Carole and RunLife Stephen on one of the Epping Trail Taster Friday sessions.
Thank you so much Nethilee for being the best athlete to work with and for bringing all the great vibes throughout your journey. We wish you all the very best in your 2024 series of races and events.
Over to Nethilee:
"I took part in Camino Ultra 50k in Epping Forest 2023, something I had wanted to do since it first started but I was afraid as a 58 year old female.
I initially thought this was not going to end well, but I have to thank Basil at Intro Ultra and the team for their support and for linking me up with Camino Ultra Coaching - who offered training advice (Coach Steff, David and Paula) on nutrition and pre run advise, and support on the day.
On the Epping Forest 50KM Race day I was nervous - not knowing exactly what to expect, but I have the mental attitude to know that I would finish at any cost.
The start was steady and enjoyable, made even more enjoyable when I met and made contact with other runners on the 25k coming in the opposite direction especially the Black Girls Do Run UK ladies. After passing them I knew 25k was coming, but before that was some undulating hills, then the fast 50k were already on the return leg.
I got to the 25k mark and had a rest, restocked on water and fuel of which there were plenty to choose from.
On the return journey I began to do mental maths to pass time, sing to myself and just enjoyed the forest and the feeling of freedom, getting the support of other random runners in the forest, in particular on male runner who was coming down the hill, stopped and encouraged me until I was at the top.
I was on the final straight or what I though was the final straight, the mind fog descended, I took a wrong turn somewhere, ended up lost and a bit confused on residential street, but I was determined to finish, which I most certainly did taking everyone by surprise as I came from the totally opposite direction of the finish line, but I got there.
In summary, the support from both Intro Ultra and Camino was totally worth it – I hope I did you proud, thank you. Getting lost in the final stages was frustrating but I finished (and celebrated). For the next time I would make better use of GPS navigation. I have learnt that I can ultra marathons even at my age and hope other females out there would take up the challenge."
We asked Nethilee a few specific questions about her Camino race experiences:
Why did you choose the Camino Epping Forest 50KM Ultra:
I chose this race as my first for the following reasons: it was local and accessible Epping Forest is incredible, the cut off times were generous and most achievable, additionally, it was easy for the family to get to the finish line to celebrate.
What were you most worried about?
I was most worried about my ability to complete 50k on my own in the forest, but with the support from Into Ultra who assisted with the cost of coaching and introduced me to Camino who in turn supported with the training, recce of the route and gave sound advice on nutrition they were amazing it helped massively on race day (even though I did get lost, but not in the forest).
What would you recommend readers do for their first ultramarathon
For a first ultra marathon I would suggest, get time on feet to build up the distance, trust your preparations the hard work has been done, and most of all enjoy the day it’s fun!!!