On 5th June 2017, my friend Anna and I set off for our self sufficient run of Marriott’s Way in Norfolk. The path is said to be 26 miles, so to be sure we covered a full marathon distance of 26.2 miles, we set off from my parents house in Norwich and ran to the start of the path. Camel packs donned full of water and glucose packed snacks and with a substantial porridge breakfast we felt ready and raring to go. We had a hot day on the cards, but had trained in similar temperatures so this didn’t faze us. The day before we had recced sections of the route and stashed Lucozade and water bottles.
The first 10 miles we hit our rhythm, counted bridges over and under, and started the countdown of the artistic mile markers made from old twisted rail tracks. The mileage felt easy and time was passing quickly. I took a sneaky toilet break in a bush and with the stop started noticing the first signs of tightness in my legs. Onward we went taking in the stunning Norfolk country side, stopping to refill our packs at 11.5 and 15 miles. At 20 miles we stopped to call the “support team” aka my parents and our lift home. Sitting by the side of a road crossing point, I started feeling pretty sorry for myself. The next 10km was going to be tough. I certainly hit the proverbial “brick wall” at about 21 miles and found myself stopping every 1.5-2km to have a little mope. Anna on the other hand was springing along like a pro and dangling the carrot always 10m ahead to keep me going. For this last 10km we had the joy of playing leap-frog with 20 kids on bikes.
Somehow after 4 hours and 20mins from starting, with 3 hours 53mins of running we passed the 26.2 mile mark only to find that we had overestimated the distance. We were almost 1km from the end of Marriott’s Way, DOH!! So on we jogged resenting my pig-headed need to complete the challenge I set out to achieve – to RUN the WHOLE of Marriott’s Way. 100m from the end, I hallucinated my parents and started calling out, it turned out to be 2 rather rotund very old men (sorry mom and dad). But there they were just around the corner at the Bure Valley Railway. On my dad’s arm I whimpered my way down the hill to a well deserved cup of tea and a flapjack. Anna of course bounded along, very chuffed to have completed her 5th marathon on a beautiful sunny day in Norfolk. I’m not going to lie, I wasn’t quite as overjoyed with the pain in my legs and couldn’t understand how Anna had put herself through this 5 times over?! When she plucked out 2 shiny gold medals lovingly engraved to commemorate our very own marathon however, I was overwhelmed realising what we had just achieved. As a team we had planned, trained for, and completed a 43.2km self sufficient run. And yes we had RUN the entire distance, no walking just the odd refuel stop and my pauses to pee, make a phone call and have a few mental breakdowns. JOB DONE
Would I do it again? Probably not, but I know it’s not beyond me and that’s just good to know.
Did I get any injuries? Well, I couldn’t walk in a normal fashion for 3 days, but otherwise only 1 gigantic blister doubling the size of my left big toe.
Would I recommend the route? Without a doubt! Do it!