We came home from Switzerland on Thursday night, on Friday we picked our new house and on Saturday we started the Phoenix Mountain Marathon. We were unsure whether the 5 days since our last mountain marathon would render us useless or extremely fit due to the altitude training. In reality we shall never know because this event was only a test of mental endurance.
The Phoenix is a 2 day mountain marathon, however you don’t have to carry kit and you can run solo. Therefore I ran the C class (16.9 km and 12.3 km) and Richard ran the A class (22 km and 16 km). It was located in the Kielder Forest and surrounding fells. The courses were, well tough! This was due to the man-eating, ankle turning, tight rasping, entanglement of heather beneath our feet. On day one, almost the whole day was spent trudging through this evil undergrowth. Running was not an option, going uphill was horrendous, going downhill was dangerous. There were a couple of sections where the heather did subside, but then it was replaced with old tree stumps, covered in brashings, overgrown with bracken and heather – horrendous!!!! 5 women started my course, 2 finished the first day. Nevertheless, Richard and I both finished our courses and after a night in the pub and then sleeps in the pub’s static caravan we headed out again in the morning for the second day. A much better day, some heather, but also some track running and good route choice. In the end, Richard came second on his course and I was first woman (4th overall and 2nd on the 2nd day). We both won vango thermarests … yay! They are very coffin shaped – which is perhaps what they were designed for after this event!
We were a bit slack on picture taking, so here is Richard contemplating the second day and trying not to get cramp!