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Race Report: UTS 100M (Part 2/3)

34 hours, 50 minutes and 9 seconds of suffering. The full story.

Saturday - 07:16 - 96km - Hello bull!

As the sun begins to rise, I'm tackling a long 40km stretch without any assistance from my support team. I've pushed hard through the night and I'm still holding strong in the top 20. For the past hour, I've been running alongside my new friend Marc (who will go on to finish 13th). It's been nice to have some company after a long, lonely night, even if we didn't talk much - just having someone there makes a difference. When we finally reach the aid station at 101km, I'm feeling good. My stomach's a bit tight, but I can't complain... I'm still moving!

Marc takes off while I stay a little longer to rest and chat with a cheerful volunteer. Their friendliness helps me forget that I'm struggling to eat, and I manage to get down 2 bags of crisps and a banana. It's not much, but it feels like a lot given the circumstances. Time to hit the road again - I'm getting too comfy here!

The next section is mostly flat with just one mild 300m climb. I've scouted this part of the route before, so I know what to expect. Everything's going smoothly, and I'm able to zone in... until I come face-to-face with a massive bull that's somehow escaped its field and is now on the public footpath. Quick thinking kicks in despite the fatigue, and I jump over a fence to stay safe. That's an unusual way to wake up on a Saturday morning!

10:33 - 114km - Back To Reality

As I reach the aid station, Victor and Beth are waiting for me. I'm starting to seriously feel the damage from the race and getting a bit worried as the sun rises, making it noticeably warmer. I manage to eat some more food, get some much-needed emotional support from Beth, and enjoy a quick leg massage from Victor. I see Marc again, still at the aid station, taking a breather. As I head out, he follows, and we’re running together once again. We’re now on a typical UTS section: steep, technical, and rocky. It's really warm, and our water supplies are dwindling fast. We stick together and find a good rhythm, taking turns leading.

Before starting the second climb of this section, we bump into a couple of volunteers hiding in the shade with some water to refill runners. With them is a runner in distress, staring into space, his face as red as a tomato, wrapped in a warm jacket, and shivering. The guy is experiencing a heatstroke. I'm in shock from what I just witnessed and start feeling a bit off, even hearing myself stuttering abnormally. I decide to take it easy, letting Marc go ahead. It’s the last time I'll see him. Goodbye, my friend.

15:12 - 128km - She Takes No Prisoners

After a long, strenuous, and mentally taxing section, I finally make it to the aid station. I take my time here, as I’ve done at every aid station. I even brush my teeth to get rid of the awful taste that’s been bothering me for hours.

As I head out, I notice Rachel, the 1st female runner, following about 100 meters behind. We’re about to tackle one of the biggest climbs of the race up Snowdon, with 900 meters of elevation gain over 6 kilometers. As I start the downhill section, I’m really struggling, shuffling like a zombie and using my poles to take the weight off my shattered quads. Rachel catches up, and I tell her I'm suffering. She replies, "Yes, me too. But the faster we go, the sooner we're home. So let's push on the downhill." That’s exactly what I needed!

I fold my poles, put them back in my belt, and follow her lead. It's painful, yes, but she's just proven to me that limitations are just perceptions. We now run side by side and start chatting. Well, the reality is that I can barely talk but enjoy the company regardless. She tells me about her 80-year-old dad, who still cycles ultra distances, and her brother, who’s about to swim across the channel. I'm in good hands! When we reach the next aid station, she only stops for a few minutes. As I'm still sitting, I thank her for the motivation and wish her the best for the rest of the race, knowing I probably won’t see her again.

What an inspiring moment! Looking back, I feel like I've gained so much experience from running with her for that hour or so. Thanks, Rachel!

To be continued...


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