Peddars Way Ultra Race Report 2017

In assembly on Friday, we sung my favourite hymn- ‘To Be a Pilgrim’. Not only is it a bangin tune, the sentiment is that of determination and commitment. It was also apt as that evening I’d be on my way to Norfolk, a place of pilgrimage, to run the Peddars Way Ultra for the second time.

After a long drive and a McDonald’s….”carb loading” 😏

We arrived at the hotel in Old Hunstanton- a picturesque 12th Century village.

It was an early get up- 4.45am. Porridge, tea, grab kit and go. The start wasn’t too far from the hotel so we parked up and were on the bus by about 5.45am.

I slept the whole way.

The start of the race is at Knettishall Heath in Suffolk. It’s the middle of nowhere- just 130 cold, Lycra-clad ultra-runners, buffed up the hilt.

The banners said ‘Flat is boring’ somewhat ironic in Norfolk but there we go…I guess that’s a Buff thing but for this race it really should be “Flat is painful” because this race is flat and it is painful!

But that doesn’t detract from the route- I’m back again!

I enjoy it because it is a lovely route, a very well organised event, superb marshals and volunteers, well stocked aid stations and lots of encouragement-so thanks everyone!

Anyway back to the race. When we started off at 8.00am I was raring to go and with my recent forays into shorter more technical fell races, found the pace a sinch and before I knew it, I’d ran a 1.55 half marathon…oops, yes I paid for it later. The earlier stages of the run pass close to an army firing range and you could hear the ammunition going off all over, it was quite something. Runnable tracks, soft underfoot with a few dicey road crossings, easy to go too fast.

After CP1 we got a better measure on the pace but it was a little too late for Ed, he hit a rough patch physically and mentally and needed cajoling to get back in the game. It happens. His mood lifted after a couple of steady miles and we cracked on to the major CP of Castle Acre.

Helpful volunteers sorted me out with soup and coffee- just the ticket. Ed caught up soon after and we discussed strategy over a sausage roll.

Strategy decided (eat more sausage rolls) we pootled on here for a good while. We hit 30 miles, 35 miles and in no time, the final CP.

I started throwing a tantrum at around 36 miles- it lasted until mile 42.

The route is basically a flat, straight line…the Romans liked their roads that way- with good reason obviously. They clearly weren’t considering anything but the fastest most  direct path, what I would have given for a hill…or a corner…a turn….

Ed eventually talked me round but it did mean revealing that he’d booked a Michelin Star restaurant as part of our ski trip to Chamonix- that certainly cheered me up and we picked up the pace through the village of Ringstead and on towards Hunstanton.

We put in a good final effort and finished in the daylight- 9 hours in total. An improvement on last year by around 40 mins. There were around 20 DNF’s out of 130 starters. We finished 39th and 40th, with a 6th for me out of 35 females. So a good result but a hard day at the office.


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