After a race brief we start by heading out of the Castle and around to the River Eden, following track and trail. Staying slightly back from the front pack I settle with the middle group at a 9 min/mile pace, and plan on keeping this up for the next 10 miles.
The path winds through rocky and scenic mounds before crossing some fields scattered with cows. The route eventually heads onto a small country road that leads through scenic rolling hills of Northumberland.
At the next pit stop, I fill up with some water and have some more supplies from my crew. Sam says I am about 25 minutes from the lead and only have about 8 runners in front. At this stage I am still feeling strong, but just to finish is my goal today. I am not familiar with the route ahead and know there is plenty of flat road to come.
I pass one, two, three then four bridges but cannot see the millenium bridge. The path is right by the waterside and spectators start to clap and cheer as I run past. What feels like 6 miles later, the bridge is in sight.
At last, I pick up my pace as much as my legs can take and reach the bridge, more public stop to clap and cheer and then I can hear over the loud speakers, this is Luke Ashton coming into finish in third place, looking strong. I thought I was hearing things, I see the finish at the end of the bridge and feel so great it is the end. Pleased and proud at the same time. I am not sure how I managed to reach 3rd position and with the time I had planned I am rather surprised of my position.
Although it turned out warmer after the rain it wasn't a scorcher of a day, to me anyway. My last ultra four weeks ago was in the heat of the Florida Keys. I later found out many suffered in the weather and out on the course, especially the hilly off road sections.
I finished just 12 minutes behind first place position.
The last expert runner came into finish 24:12:58
I later discover from a visit to see Matt at Studio57. I have slight bruising and trauma to my ankle muscle tendons, and after some ultra sound, taping and good strengthening advice. I am advised to let it heal and only run the very minimum distance if I have to.
The Wall was day 245 of my running streak and I really was hoping to keep it going.
Although it was slightly uncomfortable the first few days, slowly the ankle improved and the muscles started to repair nicely.