Peddars Way Ultra 31/.01.15

The Peddars Way is a cracking 48 mile trail that takes you from Suffolk pretty much due North until you have crossed Norfolk and reached the coastline.

We had a chilly start, but knowing how much I overheat I opted for shorts, base layer, tshirt, jacket, hat and gloves. I felt a little out of place as most others were wearing full winter gear – I hadn’t checked the weather forecast!

The race started and knowing my legs were still tired from last week, I opted for a run/walk strategy of 25 & 5 mins. This lasted well for the first 3 hours and I was making great progress in the mud before the weather began to change. It started with some freezing headwind that numbed my fingers through my gloves, and then the snow came! Does it really snow in Norfolk? I had not planned for this, as the snow became heavier and the headwind stronger. These were now arctic conditions for the idiot in his shorts, although the legs never really suffered with the cold! Snow was now sticking to me as though I was becoming a mobile snowman. Luckily I was a short distance from the 26 mile cp which was inside a pub. A few funny glances from the locals and then I was soon in the warm lounge for some hot soup and amazing cookies! Other runners were retiring here, not wishing to go back out.

The next cp was 10 miles away, so switching to a warmer jacket, but still in shorts, I departed the lovely pub and ventured back out into the blizzard! It was lonely out there, but to keep warm I reduced my run/walk times to just a few mins whilst praying for some warmer weather. The snow flakes were huge and the scenery was amazing, but my hands were frozen in their damp gloves tucked away in my jacket pockets. No opportunities to take some pics! This 10 miles was slow going, muddy and now slushy trails made it difficult work under foot, so the occasional Tarmac stretches were a great relief!
Eventually I made it to the final cp to find another runner. Unfortunately he was mildly hyperthermic and awaiting rescue. He was head to toe in winter kit and it still got him, but he was being well looked after!

I grabbed a cup of tea, thanked the helpers and departed. Just 11 or 12 miles to go, but just about keeping the cold at bay! The initial 8 miles of this stage was just a boggy mess that was impossible to run! To a nice warming shuffle was soon adopted along with the song ‘everyday I’m shuffling’ 🙂

The snow had now been replaced by sleet in the headwind. You could only look down as occasionally when I peeked up, I would get poked in the eye by a bit of flying ice!

The finish involved collecting a page from a book pinned to a post by the beech. Once you have this, it’s a half mile trot to the finish. As the part of the route passed the car park, I decided to drop if my camelback and collect my kit bag with warm clothes ( slightly longer shorts). I received a lovely welcome at the finish. A nice medal and tshirt, and then some chilli pasta and a hot chocolate to warm up.

All in all, an epic adventure that I’ll love to repeat! 🙂
Race report by Dave Fawkner