Great Western Runners

On Sunday 19th May, I took part in the ‘Cardiff Ultra’, a distance of 50 miles following the Taff Trail (essentially Sustrans NCN Route 8) on a point-to-point route from Brecon back down to Cardiff.

140 people started and, glossing over the two early local boy front-runners, I found myself leading the chasing pack (if three can be a pack) for the first 35 miles or so and, if I do say so myself, running supremely (setting a 'blistering pace' was a phrase used later). Being in perfect step with two other runners for mile after mile of fantastic scenery was just delightful, a real joy. But then I hit the dreaded ‘wall’ at about 37/38 miles and slowed up for a spell, feeling quite faint and light-headed, tingly-armed, and suddenly very cold, even though it was very hot. I thought I was going to throw up, so stopped in the shade of a tree for a few minutes just to take stock and catch my breath, which was long enough for about 15 or more runners to pass me.

At that point, I developed a cramp in my right calf (‘but I never get cramp!’) which I was actually quite pleased with as it was a distraction from my potential nausea / sunstroke / dehydration issues. But I pushed on and after some energy drink at the next feed station, I found a second wind and made good ground and even managed a sprint finish to leave some other panting dude that had been on my heel for the last three miles in my wake. I was hoping to finish in under eight hours but came in just shy at 8h 11m, but then there’s always next time…

Ultra distance running can be a lonely and questionable way to spend a Sunday, but it sure is addictive!