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Dartmoor Discovery

By Sarah Bazely

3rd June 2013

Having persuaded Lesley McLaren of Newquay Road Runners to enter the Dartmoor Discovery with me, as our first ever ultra, the day finally dawned. We set off for Dartmoor, leaving far too early, but full of anticipation and nervous excitment. It was a beautiful sunny day but felt extremely cold on arrival at our destination. There was a keen wind for which we would later be very grateful. We registered nervously and watched as the other experienced ultra runners came in. As we watched I got the feeling that we were definately in the wrong room. What were we doing here?! There were a few familiar faces in the mud crew who immediately put us at our ease, giving us last minute tips and advice to which we listened gratefully. Terry, Liz and Aimee Wyatt turned up, with Terry clicking away on his camera, even before the race had started. It all felt a bit surreal as we made our way to the start. Glynn and Jackie Chillingworth arrived on their bikes, as did Dave Rowe, who was still recovering from his fantastic GUC run.

Shivering, we set off to a cloud of confetti, as the starting pistol fired. Our training had gone extremely well but nothing could have prepared us for what we were about to experience. We started off well, enjoying the stunning scenery and warming up as the sun got hotter, and then it arrived. Mile 6! What a hill. The only thing that consoled me was that we were not the only people walking. I'm sure the runners up front probably ran it all but for Lesley and I this was definately one to walk, and as it turned out, was the first of many that we walked. Lesley was keeping a careful eye on the time, convincing me that we could make the cut off times - something that I was sometimes unsure we would do. Her positivity kept me going though. On we ran into the vally into Ashburton. The downhills were just as painful as the uphills. Steep was an understament. Glynn remarked, as he rode by, that he would need a new set of brake pads at the end of the day and I consoled myself with the fact that at least I wasn't in Jackie's shoes having to ride a bike up those hills! Arriving at Widdicombe we were confronted by the very welcome cheers of Claire. Ellen, and Ethan Budge, my daughter, Libby, Terry and Liz and Lesley's mum and dad, Bruce and Hazel. From here on they seemed to pop up in various locations and I can't thank them all enough for keeping me going.

Before the race I was very concious of the fact I needed to drink a lot as it was so hot, but in doing this I think I forgot to eat enough. By 20 miles I was shattered and without Lesley's encouragement I would not have made it round. The last 12 miles were extremely hard but the support from friends and family , scenery and encouragement from fellow runners made it all worthwhile. Finally we crossed the line together and made the cut off time to get on the results list. The organisation was fantastic, the route and scenery was amazing. Dartmoor really is a totally outstanding place. Happy but tired, I vowed that was the last time I would ever do that race. So why, as a write this report, do I already know that the entry date for next year's race is 1st September. May put it on the calendar - just incase!