I picked Sarah up at 7.30 am, and off we went with the weather forecast looking grim for the whole event.
Salisbury fire station was easy to find, we had no traffic, so were there just after 8.30. The parking Marshals were extremely efficient, and this set the tone for the whole day.
At this point it was damp, so we got our numbers, sorted our gear, and got someone to take our photo, then headed for shelter.
Soon it was time to watch the ultra runners set off at 9.30. The ultra and marathon walkers went off at 8 and 8.30,we were off at 10 with the 10k walkers, then the 33 and 21k runners off sometime after us.
We set off in a bit of a drizzle, but it soon dried up, and was actually quite warm, the first and worst hill up to Sarum fort, a rather slippery chalk path, single file, but what a view at the top!
Here the ultra runners joined us, having done their extra 5 miles on a different loop.Here we had the first of many water stations, manned by cheery marshals.
From here it was a mix of roads ,tracks, fields and villages, passing under an impressive viaduct and gorgeous woodland,this was where we overtook the first of the walkers.
Next we hit the Longford castle estate, which was so pretty! This was the 15k point, and here was the first chip mat after the start, and a station packed with fresh fruit and juices.( we lingered here, there was so much to look at!)
We all went left here, except the 21k ers, who were taken off to the right( we never saw them again).
The next miles were a bit of a blur to be honest, I remember flapjacks and bread pudding, chatting to fewer and fewer people as we were spreading out more and more, a rather longer wait at a checkpoint, as the people on it were so friendly, and Sarah and I were both tiring.Here was another chip mat.
We were in for a treat next, as we followed the red string through an ancient yew forest, it was like something from a children’s book, the trees huge and twisty, simply stunning.
Pushing on through farmland in the now increasing drizzle and wind, we hit the 28k checkpoint, and a long road down then up to the racecourse, I have to say we walked a lot of this, we were in trail shoes, and the tarmac was hard on our feet by now.
Another longish stop at 31k, again, good food and chatty people, then another mix of terrain to Wilton at 34k.
Now we were definitely on the way back, and I guessed it would be all road from here, there were fewer people about, I was running on , then waiting for Sarah at turnings etc.
The rain started coming down in earnest about 39k, we had to pay attention to the markers a bit more, as there were turns through housing estates etc, but we could see the cathedral spire, so knew the end was nye! I must say at this point, my garmin was showing almost a mile ahead of the mile markers, so it was a bit soul destroying wondering where the end would be.
A little before I hit the cathedral, I made the decision not to stop again, Sarah was doing her own run/walk by now, and being so wet, I felt I needed to get some speed up to keep warm, and everything was hurting. I did however pause and take a picture of the cathedral, we passed right under it, which I hadn’t expected.
Then at last I hit the ‘1k’ to go marker, which several people said was a very long kilometre!
A finished ultra runner was shouting ‘well done’ to me, to which I replied, ‘am I nearly there?’ ‘Yes, just round the corner’ he yelled back, and he wasn’t lying, I turned and there was the finish line, so in true Tina style, a sprint finish was in order, and I was done. Sarah appeared about 4 minutes later, also finishing strong.
I loved the day, weather and all, Sarah I’m not so sure, but we did it, and I will go back, it’s so well organised, and so well marked, and very beautiful.