Supposedly the name ‘Peddars Way’ comes from the Latin word ‘pedester’, which means ‘on foot’. It follows a Roman road that was built over an even older path, from Suffolk to Norfolk.
Ed drove us down to Norfolk on Friday night, helped by an early get-away, we made good time. Not good enough for room service but you can’t have everything I guess…
It was an early start, 4.15 am. Had my porridge pot and a cup of tea, the usual. We had to be at the finish (Hunstanton, Norfolk) to pick up the bus to the start (Knettishall Heath, Suffolk). The bus was due to leave at 6am. We had some trouble with navigation and were slightly late, luckily, a lovely lady gave us a lift to the bus (even after Ed threw tantrum) Please excuse my husband kind lady!
It was around an hour to the start, I slept with my mouth open the whole way. We were dropped in the middle of nowhere, it was dry and cold.
At 8am we set off. The pace was good, we kept up well. Slightly muddy but very accessible tracks. I could title this post ‘Nowhere to Hide’ because, unlike other races we’ve attempted, this was BANG FLAT. There are no excuses, even the muddy bits were nothing like the Lakes. We hit the first checkpoint, just over 13 miles. I hadn’t packed sausage rolls, I took a Kierkegaard-ian ‘Leap of Faith’ I wasn’t disappointed. I ate sausage rolls at every checkpoint, maybe it should be marketed as ‘The Sausage Roll Ultra’.
Anyway, I was actually quite tired by now and I had a bit of a low point but I tried to keep things in perspective. My real goal was Castle Acre, next checkpoint over half way. We were spurred on by a deer running beside us, far more gracefully than me.
The piety of every man and every woman’s whispered prayer
Clasped in the grain of wood and stone & in the grace of ancient air.
Nicely put into context here: http://www.theguardian.com/travel/2008/feb/28/norfolk.walkingholidays
It was a tough first 26 miles for me, I think mainly because I’m not used to running so far, our usual races are hilly and so fast sections are punctured by tough climbs that can actually be a bit of a break. Although it was mostly trail, the steady tempo meant I was feeling quite achy in my lower back and hips. I was pleased to see Castle Acre coming up.
How fortunate we were with the weather! Sunshine, wind behind us. I felt a lot better and by 30 miles I was happy in myself again. More tracks through fields, flat stretching horizons, we were chatting away as usual about all sorts of things including the Form of a banana, what would Plato say? The field had spread out a bit but we were near people the whole way and played cat and mouse with a couple of guys, securing victory at the end!
Our pace was good, the whole way we averaged around 12 minute miles (I know that’s not impressive but I was pleased to sustain that for 49 miles) we worked out that we wouldn’t have to run too far in the dark.
The final CP came up quickly and we were heartened by shouts of ‘Only a half marathon to go!’ I had a warm sausage roll, some coke and pressed on. I felt really chipper and from the 40 mile mark to the end, we gained quite a few places.
As the light faded and head torches lit the way we traced our way back to Hunstanton. In a Barkley-esque spirit we had to reach the beach and tear a page out of a book- The Mill House, I think. The final half mile took us back to the Village Hall where we finished with a smile in 9hrs 40mins.
Finally, I have to dedicate a paragraph the helpful marshals and food at the finish, specifically the homemade cakes and even more specifically, the ‘shortbread thins’- an absolute revelation.