Peddars Way Trail Ultra Marathon

A huge well done to Lucy Mccallum for taking on the Peddars Way ultra marathon - the 10th anniversary of the event.

48 miles of road and trail.

Lucy has provided a write up of the event - a great read.

I’d set my alarm for 3.45am, no need, I was awake. A quick shower and a pretty big breakfast of tinned spaghetti on toast with cheese (believe me it works) and I was on my way to catch the bus at Holme. The bus was leaving at 6am and I wanted to give myself plenty of time to get to Holme and collect my race pack. It was a good call it was -4 and the extra time was needed. 
I tried to sleep on the way which I did intermittently. When we arrived at the start point the sun was just starting to properly appear promising a clear but chilly day. Just time for a quick loo stop then Kevin gave the race briefing his last as race director of the Peddars way ultra after 10 years at the healm. It was the usual to the point bluntness which I love  about Kevin.
It was a short walk to the start and within 20 mins of being dropped off by the coach we were away, no hanging around in the cold. There are a couple of kissing gates at the start which always hold things up but then it was a winding path through some silver birch trees, very pretty but I knew what was next. Just over 2 miles in we all came to a halt again as everyone decided to take different options about how to get through the dreaded water on the board walk. The front pack had long gone ploughing through not even thinking about it. I arrived to be met with a group taping large bags around their feet and legs. I’d thought about what I was going to do and went with removing my socks and shoes and having a paddle. A good choice I thought, the water wasn’t too bad but the boards between the sections of water had frozen and were like glass. This made progress slow but after 3 short dips I replaced my socks and shoes and I was off again.
The next 11 miles to the first aid station went along nicely. It was a lovely route and I could remember every part of the route so well from 2019. The aid station was well stocked with mini chocolate bars, bananas, squash, and water. I grabbed half a banana and went on my way I had packed plenty of food myself and was keen to keep moving. I ran into Great Cressingham and here the Peddars changes from trail to road pretty much until you reach North Pickenham. My progress slowed, the roads were so icy as the temperature was still so low  and the sun  hadn’t made it over the banks and hedges.
Coming into Swaffham I was really starting to struggle I’d been trying to fend of a cold all week and it was starting to cause me problems. My breathing was all over the place and I’d decided I was probably going to call it a day at castle acre, then I caught sight of my brother and niece up ahead.  They had come to cheer me on and had supplies of oranges and Haribo just what I needed. I told him I was going to stop but they both said you will be fine keep going and see how you feel once you get to castle acre. I had half a orange a handful of haribos and carried on.
It seemed to take ages to reach Castle Acre but just as I rounded a corner I could see a blue hoody and rainbow bobble hat, it was Hayley coming to give me some encouragement. We walked up into castle acre to the village hall where my mum, dad brother and Sylvie were. I just stood and said that’s it I’m stopping. They all said no you’ll keep going Hayley was saying you never give up at anything, but I really was feeling pretty rubbish.
In my head I’d convinced myself I would be fine with a DNF as I said it’s a bit better than a DNS. I’d completed this race before, I’d done it, why did I need to do it again? Mum then said you’ve got to keep going Kerrie is meeting you further on. Mum poured me a coffee and got me some painkillers. Then I just thought you’ve got to at least give it a go. I put my pack on which was feeling heavy now and just went, if I didn’t go now I wouldn’t go at all. I left with Robin shouting he would grab some cough sweets for me and Chuck them at me on the way past.
The Peddars Way out of Castle Acre is always bit of a battle. Most people choose to run it on the road but the actual route runs down the inside of a field which I opted for. The soft grass made for a welcome break from the slippy tarmac and frozen mud that we had, had up until now. I got going walking the ups and running the downs. I finally got to the end of this section meeting a track. This was the start of the many ups and downs of the route and although hard going I knew I was getting there. I hit 32 miles and started to feel a lot more like myself, a lot more positive and sure I could do it. My breathing was still awful but I worked out even if I walked the rest of the route I would still finish within the cut off time.
The next people I saw were Kerrie and Denise they were armed with honey and lemon, vicks and coffee and walnut cake. I downed the honey and lemon which was just the best thing ever. I couldn’t eat anything and was keen to keep moving, after a layer of vicks I was on my way again. I reached the last checkpoint at the Dogotel. Mum and dad were there asking if I needed anything. I grabbed a cheese and onion roll from the aid station and of I went again. I think mum and dad knew then that I would be ok and finish.
The temperature was really starting to drop again now as the light was fading. I stopped just after crossing the road at Anmer and put on my highvis, gloves and headlamp so I wouldn’t have to stop again.  The next few miles passed I was still walking the ups and making the most of running the downs. Finally I reached Ringstead it was just 2 miles to the end. I couldn’t believe it I was going to do it. I ran the last track down to the road hoping to  be able to continue to run down to the finger post to collect the page from the book to prove we had completed the full distance. I couldn’t run all of the road it was lethal under foot and I didn’t want to risk not being able to finish.
I got to the post and fumbled to get the page from the book my hands were so cold. I just remember it being a article about sheep. I scrunched it into my hand and headed back up the road to the finish at the village hall.
As I walked in, the relief was immense I had done it. Andy, Mum, Dad, Nell, Robin Kerrie and Denise were all there at the end. I was made a lovely cup of coffee and Denise gave me the piece of cake she had been carrying around with her for me, it was perfect.
My finish time was 10 hours 42 mins and 41 seconds. I had gone into the race with a time in my head I wanted to get under 10 hours my previous time had been 10.15.36 I was gutted I didn’t do it, I had trained well and felt confident and strong but unfortunately this cold had knocked me. It was just one of those days not quite everything went to plan. I think my stubbornness helped me but it was ultimately the support from everyone and the belief they had that I could do it. They know me so well and knew how to help usually by saying, well go on then don’t hang about you’re nearly there. The Peddars Way is still my favourite route and I would love to do it again. It was a perfect day to run and anyone thinking about entering you won’t be disappointed.
For me distance running is alot about your mind and belief. Time on feet is also so important. It doesn’t have to be running. If you're on your feet it counts. Although there are incredible ultra runners who do do it for the times I just love being out running, run/walking anything, just out. Ultimately the buzz I get after doing a ultra comes from where I’ve ran, what I’ve seen and how our bodies are capable of doing this in the first place.