Saturday, 19 August 2017

Mudcrew's R.A.T "the Plague" 2017 - to be infected or not to be? That is the question.

In 2016 I had to defer my place in Mudcrew's "the Plague" 64 mile coastal path race due to an injury I incurred attempting to play football with work colleagues.

I helped out at one of the CP's that year and it was then when I realised my own event YOLO 2017 (see blog) was due to finish the same weekend as the following years Plague. It was one of the RD's and a friend of mine Andrew Ferguson who suggested I moved my event left and do both.

That was exactly what I decided to do. Now leading up to it lots of people were calling me crazy for even contemplating it. Maybe I was but I didn't want to waste the entry money. It could end being the most heroic performance I have ever done or the most expensive mile I have ever ran.

The time came and I had made it (just about) to the start line. Despite having a swollen Extensor Digititous Longus Tendon from my YOLO 17 adventure which finished only the day before, I was determined to give it a go.

Yay I made the start line!
Before hand I had set some goals. The first was to make the start line, which I had done, the second was to complete the race under the cut offs and the third was to finish the route. Now the third I had kind permission to do from the RDs who knew what I was doing. I had my own support crew still from YOLO 17 following me so I had no need for CP's or medical cover so basically my support crew was my insurance. So if I got pulled from the race for missing cut offs, I'd hand my number in and carry on.

I registered, got a hug from Jane one of the other RDs and tried to relax before the race. I caught up with friends who had come from all over and then tried to get some sleep in the van. It wasn't going to happen though. My mind was all over the place.

I got my self changed and prepped ready for the race. It was soon time to go listen to the elites that were invited to the race. This year GB international Jo Meek was giving a talk and she was then joined by friend's Paddy Robbins and Sharon Law (GB 24 hr Elites) for some Q & A. It was great catching up with them.

Some of my friends setting up their tents
The weather had slowly gotten worse over night with the rain coming in. It wasn't going to get any better until later the next day.

We were soon briefed by the RDs and medical team and in minutes few after we made our way to the start line. It was an early morning start, starting at 0005 Sat morning. I was pretty nervous now, all the waiting beforehand made me just want to get on with it.

A count down was shouted out and we were sent on our way. Everyone soon took off and I was passed pretty much by everyone except the sweeps as we headed down the hill to the South West Coastal Path.

All ready to go!
Knowing the SWCP well, I knew it wasn't going to be easy and with the added pressure of the cut offs I definitely was feeling the pressure and my so was my tired legs. Down the steps I went and up the steps I went. I saw the head torch lights go in the distance.

Luckily the sweepers were two friends of mine and I felt very honoured to be running with them. Already though I knew I wasn't going to be able to keep up the pace. I was struggling with the descents my tendon was in pain and I wanted to cut my leg off. Before I made the first CP, I had decided enough was enough. As Simon said to me I had to think of the future events I have coming up. So I did, I made CP1 under the cut off time but I handed my number in and called it quits. I didn't want to go on by myself either.

Me, Simon and Paul (the two sweepers).

After 155 miles of running I had knocked it on the head. Another 59 miles was not worth it.

So that was the end of my Plague attempt and I am still infected. It didn't matter though, I didn't need the bling, and I didn't need the invite to the Arc of Attrition 100 mile race as I was already qualified and entered for next year anyway.

I can not fault the event though, the organisation was spot on, and everything ran like clockwork. If you read all the other reviews you would be mad not to attempt one of the 4 distances you race during the R.A.T weekend.

We have some of the best events in the South West and I can recommend them all to all my Northern friends it's worth the travel.

Again I'd like to thank Fergie, Jane and Andy the RDs for accommodating my needs for the race, even if it didn't go the way I wanted. My amazing support crew (Wife Cathy and son) who did so much from the start of the week until I stopped and Tailwind Nutrition UK for their support.

Next up is Madness of Kind George 12 hr race on 27th Aug. Fingers crossed I'm recovered in time.

Thank you all
Owain


"We'll never truly find our limits until we try something we can't do"


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