It has been a very long time since I blogged which was March 2016 and a lot has happened in all those months, I had ran the SDW50 in April and did not finish, Thames Path 100 (second attempt of the 100 miler) got to 77.8 miles and timed out because I got lost with my pacer 😖 , Brathay Windermere marathon, Jo Yarnall snickerton 100th marathon, potteries, World Cup anniversary, back to back planes, cars and automobiles, 24 hrs Equinox, so I had done 9 marathons up to this, with 2 DNF’s which I had to replace with two to be able to get the target of 10 marathons in one year. And also the usual busy life with 3 children, mr toks and working part-time, trying to keep the training up as well and also still grieving over the loss of my brother Yemi just made the task of updating my blog an after thought. Even i had the TP100 blog incomplete too!
With all the above heavy schedule, I had added my name to the wait list of the A100 centurion race which was going to be taking place on my birthday, I was super excited of the prospect of running 100 miles on my 25th bday again lol. I wasn’t sure if would get in, 2 weeks later I got the email to say I was in, I was so happy, 3rd time going to run 100 miler, to finish this business of nailing and getting the buckle. I ran the Equinox24 one month before the A100 and my back didn’t feel great at all, painful a lot on the hills and I even had to take four hrs sleep/rest during the race because of the pain and now the doubt of running the 100 miles began to set in and I almost withdraw from the event but I changed my mind and decided to get on with it and be on that start line on the 15th October, saw my regular physio who worked her magic and got me ok one day before the race.
Now the race day was here, I didn’t have a brilliant night before the morning as I was tossing and turning every 2 hrs till 5.45am and decided to get ready and go and collect my number and drop my bag early when the registration opens, all the centurion staff wishing me well and rooting for me to get that birthday buckle. Meet up with Emma Bird we had breakfast before going to the main hall were all the runners will be addressed, greetings of happy bday and wishes of all the best to run strong and get that buckle for me bday, it was now time to reach deep down inside and focus on how am going to run this race, 9.45am race briefings by James about the route, the navigation and to look after each other out there. Then it was 10am and we all set off, I had decided I will run/walk for 13 mins miling for as long as I can for the first 50 miles, since I wasn’t familiar with the route and didn’t recess it, I will not listen to music so that I don’t get distracted and get lost, even though it was out and backs, a wrong turn can end my chances of finishing and I don’t want that again just like TP100 in May.
The smiles before the challenge!!!!
It was a friendly race, everyone wishing everyone well, I wore a sparkling skirt for my bday which everyone commented about that I was the best dressed runner, wishes of happy bday along the root, just lovely to see runners the opposite way and you say well done and receive the same back, very friendly. The pace was going so well, trying not to drop below 14 mins miling unless it was at the checkpoint which I didn’t faff about too much, take what I needed, thank the lovely volunteers and off I go to keep making progress for the first 50 miles. Few times I wasn’t too sure where I needed to turn, but then I see a runner in the distance or opposite way and will follow the right path. Leg one was completed in 5.34. Back to goring main checkpoint, got the necessary items, had water refilled, grab food and out again, the staff and volunteers not allowing me to waste too much time at the checkpoints for fear of being timed out!
leg 2 begins, the ridgeway path, omg this was very tough on the feet, lots of tree roots on the ground that were not easy, my legs almost giving was a few times, i could have gone flying so decided to walk and be very cautious of my movement during this very difficult leg, i think it started to rain by this time and it got a bit dark too very early as by 6pm i saw runners with their head torches on, it was getting difficult to see the tree roots and knowing where to place the footsteps. This should have recessed but i can’t dwell on that now, i move on and stay positive and try to finish this leg by 10pm to meet my pacer emmett. I met up with susie when i was about to get lost at the golf course area and we were together till the end of the second leg, nice to have someone to chat with and be with as it was getting darker. As we approached the goring checkpoint saw volunteer Glyn who ran with us for half a mile or so to the checkpoint and by this time it was 10.45pm, which was later than planned and my pacer wasn’t very happy. I had to change my socks, cream my feet with vaseline, wear warm clothes, get hot food and start the 3rd 15/20 mins after, eating as i went along.
3rd leg begins, with pacer emmett and susie. The night sections was always going to be very challenging in any 24 hours race, by this time it was very cold and the section is just exposed to the elements. I was cold i was tired now, being on my feet for 13 hrs now and pacer emmett needs me ‘to get a move on’ walking alone will not do it, i had to run a lot to keep pace of 15/16 miling as he said my walking pace is too slow and it was about 19 and we risk being timed out! OMG!! I don’t want that to happen, i have come a long way to get to this point again, I don’t want it to go up in smoke again, I asked emmett about the caffeine tablets i had during tp100 in may, i took a tablet and it worked instantly giving me the much needed boost and i kept up with the pace for 4/5 miles and then i flag again. Emmett will be way ahead by 200/300 yards ahead screaming for me to get a move on, i was getting cold and very tired, my back has now started playing up, it was a very tough leg, wanting it to end sooner but it went on and on forever, it was very cold and it rained quite a bit again, long drawn out leg that finished in 7.30 so we had a battle on our hands to get moving fast and finish. Got the checkpoint goring, left the walking poles, even though i still needed it, but it caused an issue during the third leg lol with my pacer, he carried for most of the 7hrs plus and he was happy at all, so we left it, didn’t change anything, just grab tea and hot food, Nicci gave me 15 mins to get myself ready and out, Donna providing the hot food, just before 6.30am we started the 4th leg thames path.
4th leg Thames Path, i was now at the last position and few miles into the race, Emmett reminding me that if we done push on faster i will be timed out, is that what i want?? Of course not the thought of that happening again was just too terrifying, i screamed and shouted and got my head in gear, come on Tinu, move on, move on, you can’t fail now, you have to give it your all even though you are in hell right now but it won’t last forever, come on keep moving, moving forward (started to rehearse gospel song) in my head. Dan the sweeper met up with us at this point and I thought oh no the sweeper, i will be timed out but he assured me that i was on good time and am making good progress and he was under instructions from nicci that i need to get to the finish and earn that buckle, omg my whole body was already in so much pain, 25 miles of hell, emmett still expected me to do a lot of running, my body felt like it was in hell, i cried, and cried, cried, the tears will not stop, i was in a very bad way, my back was so bad, dan got me to focus on park bench to park bench, pole to pole, bin to bin, landmark to landmark on the path, 25 miles now felt like 250 miles, how am i going to make it to the finish in this state, I started to run with my head down and my hands by my side, just trying to focus on my breathing and that wasn’t going too well, it took forever to get to Reading the turnaround and checkpoint and there those ridiculous stairs after you have been running for almost 90 miles, that was just evil omg!!! When we got there, it was a dragged down by emmet and shoved up. Then going up the checkpoint at reading to register my arrival, that was evil again, could hardly walk let alone climb the stairs, i can also remember that it took forever to actually get to Reading, remember seeing people pass me coming back and i was wondering when am I actually going to turn around and start making my way back to the goring main checkpoint the finish, it was as if that will never happen but it did, got to Reading, got some tea and few snacks and 13 miles to get to the finish with one more checkpoint to overcome at Whitchurch. Sill being pushed and encouraged to move on by emmett and dan even if it a shuffle of many steps better than nothing at all and i have to keep moving very fast, after running 87 mile, i am now down and out and thinking and saying it aloud that i might not make, i dare not look at the time, i am struggling big time. Meanwhile, i had caught up with a few runners and i was no longer at the back which was shocking with the pace i was crawling at, at around past 12 noon, i was getting worried that i will be timed out at whitchurch as I wasn’t aware of how well we were doing for time, so i cried and i was thinking omg the dream is now going to be over, all the pain over night and running and crawling for over 24 hrs is going to be in vain but when we got in the checkpoint we had 20 mins in hand and now had 1.40 to completed 4 and half miles, i was relived but it is a very long was on tired legs, emmett was saying the get a move on and he isn’t messing about, my legs my whole body was just completely gone, i moved as fast as i could, he calculated that 17 mins miling will get us safely in good time to the finish line.
So the final last few miles were now on, i was an emotional wreck, wanted to speak to jo, wish she was there at the finish, we manage to speak to her, with 2 miles to go and the emotions and the realisation that the dream of wanting to run 100 miler is about to come true, i cannot believe it, there is a light at the end of this tunnel, the whole running family, centurion staff, volunteers getting me thru this. Then the last few yards, i saw emma lewis, broke down into her arms, so worn out, so shattered in so much pain, manage to get to the goring finish, hug james, Nicci had the buckle and the shirt, crying uncontrollably, with everyone singing happy bday, i had done it, by the skin of my teeth, i was beside myself with tears, fellow runners congratulating me, i just couldn’t believe that the dream has come true, 3rd time lucky and birthday buckle, i have done it in 27:31:43 the last leg took us 7:15 negative split and 15 mins quicker than the 3rd leg, with many thanks to emmett and dan, I doubted the reality from 75 miles onwards if it was going to be the case. It has been a week since the race and it is still very surreal and cant believe me, slow runner has participated and completed an 100 mile race, many thanks to everyone that has supported me over the years for past couple of years when I decided i was going to embark on this crazy stunt lol. It has been an emotional rollercoaster of a journey from 2014 when i started training for TP100 and did the first one last year that ended with a very bad fall but i got to 67 miles and Tp100 this year that ended at 77.8 because we got lost but both races i have learned so much from and it got me to this place of completing for the 3rd time. For everyone that was tracking me at home and sleepless night last week, i thank you all. The support on facebook/twitter has been overwhelming, am truly grateful to be able to set a goal and achieve it, still trying to catch up on sleep lol since the race, i have manage Parkrun yesterday in 34.48 and legs were not so bad at all which is very shocking as I thought it will just be walking for a while yet
The finish picture with Emmett, the pacer, so wrecked and broken I couldn’t manage a smile at all 😭😣😫 but my pacer was pretty pleased with himself, lol he got the job done in getting me to the finish and for that i will always be forever grateful.
This is an experience that i will never forget in a hurry, just like the 10in10 four years ago surreal that i achieved it then, i will forever treasure the memories of last week and my bday for a very long time, as for what is next, The A100 was the 10th marathon of the year and i have one more marathon next month, for the quest of running 100 marathons so that should keep me busy for the next few years, thanks to everyone that has followed my journey so far there are so many people to mention pls forgive me if I don’t remember or mention all, nicci making sure i get that buckle at all cost, james for the lovely mention in the A100 report, Emmet and Dan they drove me kicking and crying for those last 30 miles or so brutal but it had to be done i know, Jo yarnall, kept in touch with her and she was updating everyone online about my progress on the race, run mummy run group sole sisters, i could hear you all screaming me over that line literally with every cut off point looming, run for fun, fetcheveryone, running the distance, ultra running, centurion running groups, just so many groups to mention, am very grateful for the support and the faith in me that i can achieve this impossible task against all the odds as a slow runner that has never manage sub 5hrs for a marathon yet! My family too were rooting especially my second daughter who was keeping up to date with the tracking my every move, they were all excited 😊 that i made it in good time to the finish.
Just to end with keep believing and achieving your dreams, it is not the fact that you get knocked down but how many times you get back up and get on with accomplishing your goals, we have to surround ourselves with people that believe in us and that makes all the difference, that is all the encouragement we need to make us achieve our gaols in whatever area in our lives, I didn’t know how i was going to achieve running 100 miles just getting to the start was a miracle and with everyone support, that got me to the finish line with 3 attempts, keep believing, don’t give up, if i can do the impossible, anyone can, i thank you all from the bottom of my heart, thanks for reading, word of advice, anyone wanting to do the race A100, make sure you recess the 2nd and the 3rd legs, very challenging legs for me and i wish i had put that effort into doing that before the race but life gets in the way of the way i would like to train. The buckle hasn’t left my sight, it goes everywhere with me now, am still reflecting oh how everything happened, with all the very challenging day last week, i will do it again but not in a hurry though!!!! Got lots of recovery and catch up on sleep 😴
The two amazing gentlemen who endured my whinging and crying for 30 odd miles to the finish, bless them and many thanks to both of you, sorry 😬😖😊 for the endless crying!!!
Donna super amazing volunteers and supporter of the runner, feeding and looking after us, many thanks from the bottom of my heart 😘😘😘😘
The recovery meal after running for 27.31 that tasted soooooooooooooooooo gooooooood