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Royal Parks Ultra 50K - Sunday 12 October 2014

Charlotte Reeves reports on her London experience

After last year’s Amsterdam marathon I decided that I wanted to run an ultra, as I knew I could run a marathon! Rich found details of the Royal Parks Ultra 50K, so eleven months ago I entered. Almost straight away I picked up a calf injury that took several months to resolve.

Around February time I started to up my weekly mileage with the odd back to back long run thrown in. I ran the London marathon (4:04) and decided to try the North Dorset marathon (4:20) a few weeks later to see how my legs had recovered, the answer was they hadn’t – I found that a tough run.

With plenty of miles in my legs, I set a couple of summer off road marathons as tough training runs, they were Salisbury 54321 marathon (4:39) and the Purbeck marathon (4:51). After Purbeck I wasn’t sure if I was ready for the ultra, but others told me I was!

The week before the 50K could not have been worse, one of Rich’s parents required emergency life-saving surgery and we had a number of restless nights and trips to hospital - on my days off! With encouragement from Rich’s family we headed to London on the Saturday afternoon.

The weather on race day could not have been better, cool, dry cloudy conditions. With less than 500 other ultra runners taking part I nervously waited in the marquee for the 08:30 start. Rich did his best at eating as many of the free bananas and sweets as was possible - what he couldn’t eat found its way into his backpack as he knew the sweets were my favourites!

On the start line my only objective was crossing the finish line 50K away, this was a new level of running and I was completely out of my comfort zone. With Rich’s words of advice in my ears I started on a steady pace and ran my own race.

After about two miles I joined a lady who was also running her first ultra and we quickly got chatting, the miles seemed to pass effortlessly as we passed several of London’s big landmarks, Buckingham Palace, the London Eye and then Big Ben even chimed as we passed by him. The route predominately followed the Thames towards Kew, but running on the river path had its hazards. At one point we had to dodge a canoeist taking part in an event. In the final few miles we ran through Bushy Park where there were massive deer everywhere, some of these deer were feisty too – one was seen chasing a car!

The support from the other runners and public was brilliant. The feed stations on the course were every 5K and well stocked with Percy Pigs, my favourite sweets. The event was well marshalled, I will confess to having handed an empty gel wrapper to an innocent member of the public – well she did have a red top on like the marshals!

I can thoroughly recommend this event to anyone who wants to run an ultra and this will not be my last.

As for my time for the 50K - 4:55:56, with a negative split!

That might have been my longest race, but my biggest is the Las Vegas marathon on November 16th when I start as Miss Reeves and finish as Mrs House!

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