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Monday, 19 March 2012

Our First Foursome

you pick up this blog where the last one left off on our epic 2 day training weekend run of 55 miles from Limpsfield to Haslemere, the previous two blogs told about day 1 and our overnight stay.........

And then there were three

Morning on the Greensand Way near Tillingbourne Waterfall

After our restful nights sleep Claire and I woke up naturally and refreshed around 8am. I began putting on damp cold running gear because I was stupid enough to leave my gear in my bag in the 'porch'. Claire kept her running gear in a bag inside the tent meaning it was warm to put on. As a guider I should have learnt more from her experience camping.

I munched a whole nut chocolate bar as I packed up my thermarest and sleeping bag and broke down the camp whilst Claire got dressed and ready. I had left Dave a virtual hash trail via text message to lead him to our camp from the Wooton Hatch Car Park, but we hadnt heard from him that morning so I was surprised when he ran straight past the area of woodlands we were in. With a shout and a wave he saw us. It was lucky I was looking out towards the path as he was running past.

And then we were three.

Dave joins us on the Greensand Way for our second marathon in 2 days

We set off only ten minutes behind schedule due mainly to the fact that all my gear seemed to have doubled in size and we had trouble getting my rucksack shut. We started a steady run in great spirits towards Tillingbourne Waterfall about a mile down the path. We were a little bit stiff in our legs but really not too bad at all.

A massive beautiful cascade of Daves hair at Tillingbourne Waterfall on the Greensand Way

After tillingbourne waterfall we started the rather long but gentle ascent to the top of Leith Hill. This takes about 2.5 miles at a gentle uphill during which Dave had to stop to adjust his Knee ITB support strap.

Dave 'making an adjustment' on the Greensand Way at Snake Hill

Breakfast and Union Jack Bums

We got to Leith Hill Tower shortly after and enjoyed a well deserved breakfast of coffee and flapjacks at 30p per square. We also met a group of mountain bikers and a runner and chatted about our training.

Breakfast at Leith Hill Tower on the Greensand Way

We also met an amazing guy with super tight Union Jack running shorts. With a wolf whistle from Claire we got the pic with him we wanted. He organises a Greensand Way Marathon every year.

'Bize' Smiling with your bum on The Greensand Way at Leith Hill

Smotching on Holmbury Hill

We ran on over Leith Hill and down the other side to begin the next climb up to Holmbury Hill. We use the plinth there to strike some FIERCE america next top model poses. Dave won with an amazingly hoochie 'Smotch' (smile with his crotch).

Dave 'Smotching' at Holmbury Hill on the Greensand Way

Scoring a Try , More Trig Planking,Topless Photoshoots and Pitch Hill TWICE !

We ran down off Holmbury Hill and through the Duke of Kent School where Claire took the opportunity to run the rugby pitch and score a Greensand Way Try.

Claire scores a Try at the Duke of Kent School on the Greensand Way

We then ascended the steep path to Pitch hill. Here we got the chance to get a pic of dave planking on the trig point and two excellent topless photos of Claire and Dave on the now legendary 'topless pitch hill green bench' .

Topless Dave at the Viewpoint at Pitch Hill on the Greensand Way

Topless Claire at the Pitch Hill Viewpoint on the Greensand Way

Navigation Boo Boo

As a pilot I am trained to never admit when I am lost. At worst pilots are 'uncertain of our exact location' As we ran off the summit we shouted hello to a group of 4 mountain bikers taking a rest as we ran past them coming off the summit. We told them we were running to Haslemere as we went past, so it was slightly embarrassing 10 minutes later running past them again in the other direction when I realised I had headed off Pitch hill the wrong way and we had to run back up the last part again.  This was I think my 5th navigational error of the weekend.

Swings and Roundamills

As we ran across and down Pitch Hill we got the chance to have a photo opportunity on a rope swing hanging from a tree. It was at this stage that twitter went bonkers for us and all our friends started tweeting messages of support and pledging money for the charity giving site. Claires phone beeped regularly as the amount raised went up and we all felt really really excited and spurred on.  We got to the Windmill at Ewhurst and decided to push through our planned stop to make up for lost time as we had fallen behind on our planned schedule.

Lee on a Rope Swing on Pitch Hill on the Greensand Way

Jesus Igloo, a major Reh Reh Reh  and a Hot Beef Sammich (fnar)

As we ran down off 'Little Switzerland' as it is hilariously known I started getting the symptoms of a major Reh. Low blood sugar and low glycogen stores are always a battle with long distance running. I crammed jelly babies where I could and also ran along shamelessly with a massive bag of doritos which I shovelled into my face (and all round my face). We were under a time constraint as we planned to meet people in the pub at 7pm so we pushed hard and took less time on breaks to make up the time we were behind by.

Claires version of the Easter Resurrection at Wintershall on the Greensand Way

We ran through the farm in Wintershall  where they do massive open air plays from stories in the Bible. We got a photo or two at the 'igloo' they use for the easter resurrection play.
Dave enjoys a Hot Beef Sammich at the Merry Harriers on the Greensand Way

Id like to then tell you how I hit the wall hard and how it felt. The reality was I zoned in and went very much 'internal' and concentrated on putting one foot in front of the other. It wasnt aches and pains it was just.....nothing all.  The miles leading up to the Merry Harriers are a blur but we got there and after a lie down on a bench and a drink and sandwich and a brief but effective doody stop I was amazingly better, re energised and lighter and ready for the last ten miles. For the second day running I had left it to the 19th mile for lunch and it had nearly made me pass out.  This is one of the most valuable lessons of the weekend for me. I also elected to save weight and only put 1 litre of water in my camelback instead of 2 even thought Claire told me otherwise. On this I was also wrong and ran out of water 4 miles or more from the end of the run.

And then there were 4 !

We finally met up with Dan at the pub and left in high spirits about 4pm (an hour behind schedule)

Dan does exist! at the Merry Harriers Pub in Hambledon near the Greensand Way

We quickly got a pic of Dan as he joined the Greensand Way for the first time and chuckled that he seemed to be running in casual clothes. He was also using Dave as a sherpa and had him carrying all his stuff.

Dan loses his Greensand Way cherry in Hambledon

 We then began the familiar 7 mile route towards Gibbet Hill in Hindhead. On the way we saw a lot of Hot Air Balloons near Brook and many were landing near the A3. During this part of the run Dave achieved his first marathon which we acknowledged with a little cheer (we didnt have much energy for anything more).

Hot Air Balloon Landing by the A3 on the Greensand Way

We took a whole five minute rest by the underpass that goes under the A3. At this stage Claire and I were very tired but in high spirits but running much slower than Dan and Dave.

Lee taking a rest by the A3 underpass on the Greensand Way

The ascent up Gibbet Hill is similar to Leith Hill in that its reasonably steep but very long and drawn out. We started the ascent as the sun began to set.

Dave and Dan running up Gibbett Hill on the Greensand Way

We didnt reach the summit before sunset as i would have liked but were treated to a superb sunset over the Devils Punchbowl.

Greensand Way Sunset on the Devils Punchbowl

When we reached the summit we introduced Dan to planking on trig points.

Dan does his first plank on a trig point at Gibbet Hill on the Greensand Way

The last three miles were mainly downhill and werent too bad. It was very dark and neither Dave nor Dan had torches but they were utterly fearless and ran on in the dark.

Dave after 32 miles and Dan after 10 miles on the Greensand Way in Haslemere

We finished the run at about 7pm and got pics taken of us at the last sign on the route as it hits the high street in Haslemere almost opposite the Museum.

Lee and |Claire after running 55 miles each on the Greensand Way in Haslemere
We then met up with friends in the Swan Inn pub in Haslemere for a well deserved Sports Drink and a meal.

I achieved my first off road marathon and off road ultra marathon that weekend. So did Claire and Dave. It was a weekend of firsts. We proved concept with obtaining the food and water we would need and remaining self sufficient. There are lessons for me in water and food and that I need more of both.

I learnt that I must eat lunch around the 15 mile mark, that a 2 Litre camelback will not be enough at any given time, that I need ear plugs and a less active imagination to sleep in the woods. I learnt I am a boring plane spotter and that with a lot of support from friends you can achieve way more than you think is possible. We got the fundraising total to a brilliant £603 that weekend and were massively spurred on by the online support on the Sunday. Thankyou to everyone that donated at

All 4 of the 108 club on the Greensand Way near Hambledon
I cant wait to do the 55 mile two day Kent training run in April.

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