Although some steep climbs on this leg, I really start to enjoy the sights and the route. It brings back memories of running the South Downs Marathon, but in the reverse direction. The weather has warmed up but a clouded shade has offered some relief. I think I have got my hydration levels on form now and keep my salt levels up.
Reaching one of the river bridges I see two figures acting suspiciously by the gate. At a closer glance and on approach I see it is Sunday and John paying a surprise visit. Moments like this really make a race special and to appreciate the support from my fantastic crew...
After running for almost 10 hours, I still feel strong and focused with my hydration levels in good check.
At this aid station I come in feeling strong and fresh, considering the clouds have opened up to strong sunshine. I think as the route is the home stretch in my mind, psychologically it feels at ease on my body.
I get to meet Bosh runner and volunteer David here, and we chat whilst he helps refill my water and add a NUUN tablet for me. I left my bottle at the previous stop. So fortunate that some is stocked here. I am not feeling the need to eat so just sip on coffee before heading off.
David is a nice natured person and it is good to finally meet him in person.
Thanking the superb volunteers and following the track through the farm it is over towards Pyecombe next.
They are joined by my crew and I can see Will laying on the bank taking pictures. They all cheer and clap at me once I approach. It is such a warm welcome and great to see everyone. This really has made my day!
I will see the crew again at Southease...
Sunday calls to check up on me after falling over and would rather I take it more steady until I meet him at Southease. I think it is about 4 miles away yet. I take in some of the glorious skies and watch as the day changes to dusk and then slowly to dark.
I have a shot of olive oil and eat some coconut chips with macadamia. I start to get some appetite back, which is a good sign. I have a bite of a 9Bar for a little sugar trickle.
Slowly the day comes to a close and the dusk becomes dark.
We say our goodbye's and head on uphill towards Firle and Alfriston. Sorting out headlights and marching the steep mini mountain, it is good to catch up with Sunday over the days activities. I can't keep up with all the messages and tweets being sent out, but it is always appreciated and grateful. All very over whelming.
All that can be seen is the few other runners shining white lights ahead and the eyes from cows and sheep. it freaks out Sunday at one stage, as a little too close for comfort.
What feels like hours is actually only 7 miles later and the dimly lit village of Alfriston can be seen below in the valley.
The track leads down a steep chalky road before coming out to houses then the village. All still very familiar and then down a small alley and into the next aid station...
Greeted by a very warm welcome and our No1 running fan, Alma Botes, as volunteer at this post. Sunday takes a seat and has a hot coffee. I refill my water and nibble on some olives and cheese, courtesy of Alma. we chat about the day and how great it has been. Slightly dissapointed of the overall time it has taken to reach this far, I am pleased to not have any injuries and still feel strong enough to reach Eastbourne. I haven't exactly been training hard for this one! so luckily my fitness is getting me through...
After hugs with Alma and thanks to the team, we head on out towards Jevington. The route is slightly detoured here, as the bridge is closed, so we run along the river bank until reaching the south downs way route again.
Greeted by dark woods and a beast of a climb, I challenge anyone to run this leg....It is brutal and I am not the only one suffering the torture.... Sunday, although a marathon runner, has just picked up his mileage again and on occasion suffers with ITB. Well tonight it is nagging and he starts to feel he is letting me down as a pacer.
I find that talking is a good distraction and I am buzzing from the night and coffee, so it changes my outlook and I forget, for a moment that I am actually a race competitor and just out enjoying a training run through the night.
The woods soon disperse and lead out to open downs, high up and breezy. The track is very dark and it is hard to concentrate on the floor. Luckily random post markers are dotted apart and the trusty glow sticks that Centurion provide help guide us the right way.
I am not so familiar with the section and only know the other side of Birling Gap and East Dean towards Seven Sisters.
After reaching a small lane, fairy lights and a blue glow shine up ahead. Jevington aid station is here and felt like forever coming...
I'm good for water and have plenty of cheese slices and nuts still in my pockets on me. So I have some melon and cherry tomatoes to tied me over until the finish. So close now, I really am just focusing on reaching Eastbourne than picking on the wonderful picnic display.