2 weeks to recover after GB Scotland and ready to dance in Wales .
My parents were still visiting so perfect! I managed to have THE best crew and support.
( even Chato, the Mexican pug, was able to join us in this one)
We drove to Wales, first time visiting and I was in awe by the scene of dramatic rocky mountains …. I’ve never been a fan of reeceing the route beforehand. I like being surprised and I think if I’d seen what was coming I would have never showed up at the start line!
We arrived one day before at a beautiful Airbnb located minutes away from the start line, in the middle of nowhere, so magical, we have never done anything like this before so a great experience.
As we had Friday off , we looked for something to do around , and we found the amazing park Zip World close by and went for the Caverns adventure. OMG it was superb, 100 % recommend! They teach you how to use Zipline and then they leave you up to cross the scariest, highest, darkest caverns get on your own, they are lit up on different colours, I’m a bit scared of heights so this was definitely a challenge that took my mind off a bit of the race ahead.
The morning of the race , as always breakfast , toilet routine and off to the race. Race started , as always great atmosphere, I felt energized and happy. After the second checkpoint it started raining sooo heavy , and I got a bit lost between some streets until I saw this group of 3 runners passed, I joined in and who knew that was the best decision I’ve ever made. After a while of running together, we started waiting on each other, suddenly I was part of a team.
There’s a long beautiful flat stretch crossing Barmouth Bridge, I struggled soooo much , we all did. We ran, walked , waited on each other but we all made it together to the checkpoint. When someone called The Fantastic Four are coming, I thought that was so funny but we were all definitely fantastic.
Along the route we had time to chat meet my teammates, Anita - an excellent navigator, super strong lady . Lyle - doing his first ever ultra ! . Mike - full of optimism.
After the bridge , the checkpoint was around the corner and my parents . Yay! Change top, socks, dad knew how to make a soup this time , we sat for a bit , I was feeling already a bit broken , until someone mentioned that the real climbs were just about to start …. I tried not to pay too much attention to that , we all decided to move and off we go.
Massive climbs , technical descends , and finally on one checkpoint , a volunteer cheerfully told us that just one more climb and that was us! Thank god cause I swear my tank was starting to run low.
Last climb , mega tricky descend , we stopped a couple of times while one of our teammates just screamed out loud of desperation (a couple of times) , we just looked at each other, we said nothing and just kept moving.
Descend over and surprise ! Wayne was there … to greet us , and show us the way.. he happily said , just up that way and the finish is just on the other while pointing to a mega high scary looking ridge … but I thought they said the cloning was over !! My heart dropped , I have nothing left , no way I’m climbing up there, tears in my eyes. Wayne, asked if I wanted a photo, I wiped my tears and smile...
Thank god , no one paid attention to my temper tantrum , wiped my tears and followed my teammates up the ridge, I been getting leg cramps for the past 20 kms, I dunno how I’m gonna climb there it’s all I was thinking .
But … I did! Up and down, technical descend again and down the the valley finally! We turned around to look at some twinkling lights coming down the mountain. We were sooo happy we were able to descend when it was still light , and I was really worried about the people still descending such a difficult descend in the dark ! Can’t imagine.
We were down into the valley navigating in the dark, fell into a massive bogg , Anita had to literally pull me out of it … phew. Arrived to the last checkpoint , we were all feeling a bit beaten up but to pull each other up and kept going.
We started listening to cars, that’s the highway I screamed ! We are close !! We are close !! I started hearing my mum yelling my name ! - .....Happiness
After 18.21 hrs , we made it back.
The fantastic four made it from beginning to end together . What a ride ! What an adventure . Not only I have completed a very challenging run , 4th of the grand slam , but I’ve met amazing new friends along the way. And that’s why I love this damn sport, the camaraderie, the soul , of this races - of this challenges .
Challenges that strip you to your core, that make you discover what you really made off.
Later to discover that we were an unusual but effective team, formed by the eldest runner of the race, a first timer ultrarunner, an experienced one and me, the youngest runner of the race, all with only one target, make it to the finish line.
Even thought we were the last finishers of the race, we clearly didn't care, our smiles said it all :)
Thank you as always for a super event GB ultras, even with a the challenging route we always felt well taken care of.
GRAND SLAM So far so good, 4/5 down and 1 to go ! Feeling a bit tired but ready for the next stop - >Snowdonia