Chris Poole travelled 250 miles north to take part in a 100-mile non-stop running event.
The event called Robin Hood 100 takes place in and around the beautiful Sherwood Forest.
Seventy -seven runners towed the line in the village of South Wheatley Saturday for an 8am start.
Chris ran the first twenty miles that followed the Chesterfield Canal sticking to his pre-planned pace of five miles every hour on a beautiful mild morning.
However a long term hip cartilage tear injury that has pain that comes and goes flared up and reduced Chris to walking for a couple of miles to reach the forest loop aid station at twenty two miles.
The next thirty miles were a loop in and around the forest until reaching the fifty two mile half way point and darkness fail. Time for some refuelling back at the forest loop aid station with ultra-runners’ favourite, pot noddle and soup. Also, time for foot maintenance checking for any blisters and in Chris’s case an ankle that was starting to balloon due to the limping run he was having to do.
Back out onto the trail to do the thirty-mile loop again. At this point Chris had dropped back down the field of runners and the next twenty miles were incredibly painful and very sensory deprived. Total darkness in the forest with just a head-touch lighting the way. Pretty much reduced to running short sections and then limp walking again. Chris lowest point then occurred at seventy miles, having been on the move for seventeen hours and in pain for much of it he feels asleep whist walking and hit the trail face down. Chris had not seen anyone for over four hours and was as he put it, a point of despair and utter pain in his hip, ankle and also a head injury sustained a few days before the race. He just sat there for a while trying to find a way to get moving again. After a while, a light of another runner slowly made its way to Chris. This runner was also feeling exhausted and was glad to see another human. A brief chat and he was off but that short, shared comradery helped Chris get back onto his feet. The next ten miles were endless and at one point he just laid on the trail to get five minutes shut eye. Dawn slowly pierced through the thick canopy of trees and ended eleven hours of darkness.
Back into forest loop aid station for the last time and an evaluation of the situation. The comfortable thirty hour cut off to finish was now looking like Chris would be timed out. Lots of chats with marshals and timekeepers plus examine the points of pain followed. Deciding although in a lot of pain he did not feel like anything of lasting damage was taking place, so the decision was to carry on and try to beat the cut of time. Now ultra-runners go through what some call the pain cave on most races, your rarely run past twenty miles without something hurting, just the body trying to tell the mind to stop running. Chris described it like this, I put all the pain into a box and closed the lid, I will carry it but its not me right now.
So, a slow departure from the aid station which then turned into a jog and finally a run a chris still does not know how ran the next fifteen miles nearly as good as his first fifteen the day before to make it to ninety-seven miles. Finally, the body started winning the war and it was back to walk/run until mile one hundred. Knowing he could make the cut of walked the last four miles to the finish pretty much dragging his leg.
Arriving back at South Wheatley village hall and applause from other runners and family Chris crossed and was held up, pretty incoherent at this point all he kept saying was can I stop now.
After receiving some checks, taking on some food and drink Chris said he slowly entered civey life again. After a shower and few hours’ sleep back at the hotel Chris even managed to get a celebration pint!
Final finish time was twenty-eight hours and forty minutes so safely with in the thirty hours.
Seventy-seven runners began, fifty-seven completed the race. Although the ankle remained swollen for some days after no long-term damage was done and Chris has added yet another 100-mile race to his long list of ultra-marathons completed.