An ultra marathon is any distance longer than the 26.2 mile marathon.
So why would anyone decide to sign up for an ultra?
This time last year I didn’t know what that even was. My firm view on finding out was that those people who do them are really not right.
So something definitely changed.
Part of the reason for me is to push myself to go longer, and stay healthy, fit and strong.
I also love the idea that an ultra is an eating event with some very slow running thrown in. You can see why I was sold on it now, right?
You’ll have seen from this post that part of my training incorporates a trail marathon in Cornwall too, another first for me, in May 2019.
The two distances are, it has to be said, very different animals.
I had intended that the ultra would be 50km, which is 8km longer than the marathon at 42.1km.
The race I’ve actually signed up for though, is 100km. That’s 62.1 miles. Although it’s possible to break up the distance by camping overnight on the Saturday; I’ll be completing the 100km non stop.
I decided to do the extra distance to raise funds for Marie Curie, who support people living with terminal illness. I’d already intended to do 50km before thinking about fundraising, so it seemed only fair to up the challenge by a fair bit (or double it, whichever you prefer).
Which brings me to the other part of the reason for signing up – terminal illness is something which I’ve not had to confront in my personal life previously, and to have its spectre arrive in the family was, and is still, a huge shock.
It’s been a few months since we found out and although news was initially closest family only; as the news has been shared with wider families and friends it’s developed a momentum of its own.
By agreement, I won’t identify the owner of the illness in this or any updates.
Planning and practicalities are a part of the processes and arrangements which suddenly, unexpectedly intrude into life. Keeping busy helps to distract us all from having to think about our impending loss, as does humour, but increasingly, that early grief requires attention, too.
None of us can ever know how long we have to spend together, and the news is simply a reminder of that in many ways. The time we do have also needs to include a celebration of that time too.
My plan though, is to fundraise in some part, to feel like I’m doing something constructive in the face of the immenseness of it all, to help those countless others who will come after, and to try and put some time into coming to terms with all that’s going on.
It’s along the ancient Ridgeway path, one of the national trails.
The bumps along the bottom of the image show the hill profile along the whole of the route.
The route starts from Lewknor and finishes at Avebury stone circle, passing numerous bronze and Iron age sites, including the Uffington White Horse, although by my very rough calculation it may be getting a bit dark by the time I get there!
I’d really like to raise £500 for Marie Curie – of course I’d love to raise far more than this, and all donations will be very much appreciated.
For anyone who would like to donate but doesn’t want to use electronic means, please let me know and we’ll sort it so you can still make a donation in a way that feels comfortable to you.
Please do also share away and encourage others to donate.
I’m planning a training updates series of blog posts to the Imerys trail marathon and beyond to the Race to the Stones.
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