Griffo@ Hope 24 Soloist.
Me and the family set out for Plympton at 4 am dark and pouring with rain, Not the weather you want for your 1st 24hr Ultra. After a 4 hour drive we arrived at Newham shooting ground,still raining quite heavy as we crossed the field to the camping areas, I parked the car and got out and stretched the old legs omg they were like lead great heavy legged,in about 3 hrs time I was aiming for my longest ever run the Golden 70 as I infamously named it, a 30mile p/b lol!.We put up our three tents unpacked my gear into my tent,leaving the other two for the family, my wife Kim, son Ashleigh daughter Charlotte and daughter in law Kath,time to change into my running gear decided to go with shorts long sleeve top merino wool socks and my new balance Leadvilles with only about 40 miles in them,decided against a jacket as the rain had stopped. It was now about 11oclock when the call from our DJ for the day, called us to the HQ for our numbers wrist bands and our new tech t-shirts very smart, then Danny Slay and his team fresh from MDS raising £45.000 in the process, absolutely brilliant, called us together for our safety talk and asked us to put on our shirts for a group photo Very smart we looked too.At smack on 12 midday we all set out for the inaugural Hope 24,which included 36 Soloists, teams of 2, 4,5,and 8 on a trail 5 mile looped course with two great climbs chucked in for fun.1st lap, after about quarter of a mile we hit the first climb the new runners to the ultra distance and team runners mostly run the hill the old ultra dogs had other things on they mind’s stop and power walk the hill,save energy save energy at the top it levelled out for a couple of hundred yards in the process passing, Thomas the tank engine, yes that’s right a wooden child’s Thomas 😁 then a slight drop to a lovely open field for about 3 quarters of a mile, what a gorgeous view then a decent back onto the field and passing the tents,supporters Brilliant DJ playing all the great 80s music #Madness lol along to a wooed part over a stream a little climb onto the funniest part of the route,I’ll explain there was a family marshaling this part, Owain his wife and little son they were there for about 10 or 12 hours I think and they returned in the morning about 9 I believe but the encouragement and fun they give us runners was truly amazing, the Plympton wave the high fives thanks again Brilliant, as soon as we passed them then we hit the Hill omg this is a real glute hamstring and calf killer I honestly tried to do it I reached the concrete ring,all the runners will know what I mean, and that’s how good as it got for me this was a real ball buster fair play,then at the top you hit a amazing sight the bluebells they even glowed in the dark.Then you hit a level stoney path which came just as you hit the decent and this was very technical, this went on for about 3 quaters of a mile I think,at the bottom you hit a path that was ankle deep in muck this was the 4 mile point,on a bit further you reached the family again The Three Musketeers, huge cheers high 5s And half a mile you were back in the field,half a lap later you crossed the finish/start line to huge cheers and support from Danny and his team the DJ I don’t really know if he was mind,supporters and most of all my family who supports me in all my running needs.Lap 2,the rain has started again no stopping just cross the line and out again, now the runners have spread out they are finding their pace, I’m sticking to 10 m/m although my first lap was slightly quicker my plan was power walk the hills and run everything else,hill, Thomas, field tents,woods,3 Musketeers, ass buster hill,bluebells, 100 mph decent, muck,3 Musketeers again cheers high 5s,field, finish/start line hope you get my drift lol.Lap3 straight through again noticed my car has gone now, my crew has gone for dinner great I’m all alone,anyway I’m here for Golden 70 remember Griffo head down run.Start of lap 4 stopped toilet needed a pee,back to the tent ⛺ sat on the dreaded chair banana and lsotonic drink about 15 minutes i think back though the gate onward and upwards,lap 4 finished still feeling OK notice the family /crew are back as I passed I had a huge cheer off them, the next few laps 5 to 8 went by I was starting to feel tired I was now reaching my longest running distance,when I finished lap8 I told the family I would be coming in for some hot food,supplied by the catering van the best sweet and sour chicken noodles 🍜 I have ever tasted.I changed into some fresh clothes at this point leggings, two layers of long sleeve tops,clean socks,and now putting on my salomons,with all the rain we had it was really getting tricky underfoot,with more grip needed,the rain was really coming down now so on went my jacket for the first time, as it had been dark for a few hours I had been running with a headtorch which we had to use from 8pm,the next 2 laps was probably my hardest, I was at furthest distance that I had ever run and at my lowest ebb,miles 40 to 50 it was pouring, I was freezing and really feeling sick, I was now finding what I was really about,at this time there were only a couple of runners out on the course,the energy levels were really low now,at the end of lap 10 I decided it was time to get my head down I was totally ruined at this point,50 miles done I crawled into my tent stripped of my soaking gear and into my sleeping bag,set my alarm 2 hrs in blanket bay heaven. Around 4am I was woken by the rain hitting my tent I had seriously stiffened up my body I mean,I really thought 💭 it was game over for me, remember the mantra Griffo 50%running 50%mind omg how true,forcing myself into my last dry gear, shorts socks my last pair of dry shoes/Brooks Ghost a brilliant road shoe but shit on trails this was going to be really exciting (not)wet coat back on it was now or never,up I got and off I went, the next lap was torcher slow was a understatement I must have walked 3 out of the 5 miles grrrr:'( 3laps to go and guess what the rain as stopped,off with the jacket and then my son Ashleigh decided to run a lap with me thanks boy,off we went sun coming up more runners on the course new lease of life well almost still walking 🚶 the hills but running a lot more than the previous lap the mojo was coming back,2laps left what happened next really made me grin 😁 a first since I woke up my daughter Charlotte was up and ready to go lol,so off we went this time I dropped her off on the 2mile point where we pass the tents a bit to dangerous for her I think thanks chicks,at this point I met a great guy called Alister he was doing his 1st Ultra he was giving it a great effort despite having injured is knee.but he kept on going,lap14 my Golden 70 nearly there as I passed the line for my last lap there was a massive cheer photos taken and off I went passing my tents for the last time cheering again from my lovely wife Kim and gorgeous family,this is it let’s get this done,1hr and a bit later I crossed the finish line to massive cheers and congratulations I just completed my GOLDEN 70 at the, 1st Hope 24 hr Ultra Marathon 🏃 and a special thanks to Danny Slay and his gang who put on a fantastic event. WELL DONE GUYS,also I met some fantastic people who put everything into their passion for running that makes us run incredible distances. Well done all, last but not least my Wife Kim who puts up will all my running bullish*t (thanks babe’s I love you) and my son and daughter who supports me through thick and thin. Cheers Griffo.