Norfolk 100K 2024

Towards the end of last year, Positive Steps announced that 2024 would be their last year of organising and hosting events. As an addition to the regular grandslam that they do (completion of Peddars Way, Norfolk 100k and the Bury 50k within a 12 month period), they were advertising this year with an ultimate grandslam; so completion of the standard three races plus the Marriott’s Way and Norfolk Coastal marathons and the Bury to Clare Challenge. This intrigued me and I found myself signing up for the Peddars Way and saying, yes I was entering for the ultimate grandslam.

Peddars Way was an absolutely brilliant way to get extra distance in my legs in preparation for the 100k and it was also good for the route recce; the latter part of the Peddars forms some of the first part for the 100k. With the help of Kerrie and Lucy, I got some of the route practised and fresh in my head, especially parts which I hadn’t done before – mainly from Morston quay towards the finish.

In the last few weeks before the big day, I had done a lot of mental homework; working out what time I wanted to be at the first and second timed cut-off points and my average pace to achieve this. I also planned drop-bags for each check-point with drinks, snacks and motivational messages to myself for when I got there to get me through to the next point. I felt this helped me go through the check-points quite quick as I didn’t have to stop so long for lots of refilling and picking at snacks. I also had a jug with coke in to make it go flat ready for Saturday.

On the day my alarm went off at 4am so I could get to Castle Acre in good time, I wanted to start at 6am which had been allowed; the official start time is 7am but I figured if I wanted a fighting chance to complete this, then it was a good help! My partner Mark drove me there and getting out of the car you could see it was going to be potentially a good day and I realised I hadn’t put my sunglasses in! Collecting my race number and tracker, I felt unbelievably sick and shaky – I was so nervous. I could have quite happily got back in the car and gone home. Seeing Lucy and Nur there helped me relax a little but I still felt sick, worried I was going to get lost early on and still doubting I was going to make it to the finish line. Especially when everyone else there looked so much more confident and capable. I had said to Mark that if I call him to pick me up to say no! I missed Kerrie as we had run all the other events together, today I was on my own but was nice knowing she would be along the route later with Marie on their own mission. Mark waited until we had set off and then went.

Starting at 6am I was surprised at the amount of other people who had also chosen to do this and I was quite grateful that some of them were going at a similar pace to me, so when we were going through the muddy section at the start there was always a bit of company and chatter around me. Picking up the Peddars Way route after a few miles was nice as I recognised it from earlier in the year and I didn’t lose my way as I had worried I would. Coming down towards the main road at Holme, my mum and dad were there which was such a lovely boost. Getting to Holme and then fairly much all the way along the route there was a horrific headwind which really sapped my energy and I found myself power-walking a lot more than I’d have liked, but it was needed. The wind was absolutely relentless in places and at a direction that it was hardly ever behind!

Getting to the hall at Burnham Overy Staithe was good as there was a proper loo to use! A quick use of the facilities and grabbing my drop-bag with headtorch and extra items in for the latter part of the run, I was in and out quite quickly. Knowing that I would see mum and dad at Wells, I gave them my bag so I didn’t have to carry it for quite so long and off I went again. The bank from Burnham Overy was blustery but had a lovely surprise in the form of Ana, David and his girls. They cheered my name which lead to others also doing it, another lovely boost.

On the back path from the dunes towards Lady Annes drive, I felt a bit sick again but kept on going and sipping some drink so as not to become dehydrated. I’d noticed my hands were swollen so I tried to keep them moving to ease it off a little. Getting to the car park at Wells, my mum and dad were there with the anticipated Mr. Whippy! 🙂 It was good, but I couldn’t stomach it all. I walked along the bank with mum, promising her that if I still felt bad I would stop. Getting to Wells and along the way, there were quite a lot of people walking who were asking what event we were doing which was nice.

Getting to Wells and having two cheer crews was fab, so thank you Paula, Vicki, Kevin, Evette, Chris, Ceri and Tim.

A lovely chap on the quay also had a cola ice-pop which was gratefully received. It was much easier to stomach than the ice cream.  Leaving Wells led onto the marshes and as ever, the angry music came out. There is just something about that stretch!! Coming up towards Stiffkey (the first timed cut-off which closed at 17:45) I realised that my mileage calculations were incorrect, for once in my favour and I actually had 7 less miles to do than I’d thought. This improved my mood so much as by that point I was fed up with the wind, the sun and the hard-packed stony paths! The angry music had helped as well. 😄 I left Stiffkey at 16:30 so was very happy with myself.

Stiffkey to Cley (the next timed cut-off and last checkpoint) was a bit of a blur, except I got myself into a small muddle navigating my way through the grounds of the windmill and then I was on the bank and couldn’t think where the check-point was. Being on the bank and seeing various cars and vans on the road below panicked me into thinking that I had been in the wrong spot for the check-point. I gave Kerrie a quick call to confirm where the check-point was and to reassure myself. The wind made hard work for conversation but it was so nice to hear her voice. Also good to see Chris L drive past and give a wave to as well. 🙂  Thank you too to Lucy H who made a solo special trip out to Morston quay to cheer. I was chatting to a lady who I was running with at the time and explaining that Morston was the finish for the coastal marathon so I expected to see banners there. I didn’t not expect to see Lucy there but it was a fantastic surprise – thank you. 🙂

The marshals at Cley were complimentary about my drop bag and another speedy turnaround meant I hit the shingle beach, still with a face full of wind! Ironically, as much as my feet were hurting by then the shingle was much nicer on my feet as there was a bit of give. The other bonus of the shingle was that with the incessant wind, I didn’t keep getting sand in my face – every cloud and all that! I also had to put my jacket on as it was starting to get chilly now the sun had gone down and it was so exposed, my pace was also slower as well so knew I’d feel bad if I didn’t do the sensible thing. I also decided to play the alphabet game again which I’d done earlier into the run but I was getting frustrated with myself as I couldn’t remember an actors name; I must have looked very random stomping along the shingle yelling ‘Richard’ and yet I still can’t remember who I was trying to remember!

I ended up stomping along with another runner which was really nice and then she was getting chilly so she went off and I carried on stomping. Getting into Sheringham was a relief as I was finally back on smooth flat tarmac. Managed another run and then got yelled at – another runner had spotted that I’d missed the turning to take us off the prom and towards the dreaded Beeston Bump and called me back – luckily I hadn’t
gone too far past so a quick double back and on again. Having never been to Beeston Bump before, all I had heard was how hilly it was. Sadly, the rumours were true.  I had heard that there are steps on the hill which are useful, but when the step comes up to your knee you know it’s going to be a struggle regardless of how far you’ve travelled to get there 😂. Reaching the top and knowing I had to go through the area for the tracker to register I was careful, no way did I want to be disqualified for not registering through that point! Down the other side and up a quiet lane, over the train track and onto glorious grass for the finish line. So grateful to Kerrie, Marie and Lucy for waiting for me to finish (plus partners and children!) and then we waited for Nur who wasn’t too far away either. ❤️ 

So that’s four out of the six events complete so far and looking forward to the last two knowing that the toughest one is done.

Thank you to everyone who messaged, tracked, supported and generally took time out of your day to be the awesome RNTS crew we all know and love.

Kirsty xx

Official Results
Lucy M – 14:21:03
Kirsty L – 15:10:50
Nur – 15:34:04

Marie – 07:37:47
Kerrie – 07:45:37