Race to the Stones 2022
The start line early on Saturday morning was a funny place to be. The first wave was packed with veterans hoping to set a good time on the 100km course, so the normal nervous energy that accompanies a start line was heightened. Despite that it was relatively quiet compared to later starts. This was an all-business group of runners.
It was already a scorching hot day by the time we hit one of the first rest stops, and everyone was all about the fluids — either in their water bottles or over their head!
Base Camp at 50km marks the end of the race for some, but only the half way mark for others. From here it was a challenge for us to keep pace with the front runners as they headed out onto The Ridgeway. We skipped forward to the 80km rest stop hoping to find some runners gearing up for the final push to the finish.
The finish line had all the best emotions that I associate with an ultra. The impatience and anxiety as loved-ones wait for their runner. The joy and sense of relief as people cross the line at the end of a hot and exhausting day. The Threshold team however was steeling themselves for what was going to be a long night supporting their runners. Running back along the course gave me the opportunity to catch runners as they realised they had made it.
For some however, darkness didn’t mark the end. For them, it was just the beginning of a long night. Having worked with Centurion running I know that a runner’s demons only really come to the fore in the small hours. Even in summer, the night can be long when you’re chasing a seemingly impossible to reach finish line. I saw more than a few “1000 yard stares” that night.
Morning comes, and for some it’s a chance to start their second 50km race in as many days. Personally I’d rather a continuous 100km over another 50km with the aches and pains from the fifty yesterday!