Longest Day Deca

 

Longestdaydeca

Here are some stats for you.

Swim – 24 miles – 1520 lengths of a 25m pool. Time 16 hours 30 minutes.

Transition 1 – 7 hours 5 minutes

Bike – 1120 miles – 112 hours 55 minutes

Transition 2 – 7 hours 3 minutes

Run –     108 hours 17 minutes

Total time – 251 hours 47 minutes

Punctures – 0

Mechanicals – 0

Total ascent climbed on bike – 43146 ft

Total ascent climbed on run – 9381 ft

Fastest bike lap – 1:39

Slowest bike lap – 1:54

Fastest swim mile – 33:00 minutes (mile 1)

Slowest swim mile 40:12 minutes (mile 11)

Shortest break on bike – 1 minute (on day 1)

Longest break on bike – 45 minutes (on day 1)

This blog is dedicated to the late Rab Macavoy.  He was my guardian angel throughout the Deca. He kept me safe. He was always by my side in spirit, talked me through times when I doubted myself and helped me get to the finish and in particular #Rabsaysdontbeshit.   He always had my back and will be greatly missed.

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Rab Mcavoy – A true gentleman

Firstly thank you to Wendy my wife, Mark Dodgson (DecaUK 2019 winner at York) all my family, crew, everyone who supported me both online and in person by either turning up to say hi, drop off cake, ride or run with me, the messages of support, the donations to the two charities and the businesses who backed me. I will forever be grateful.

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Mark Dodgson – Winner Deca UK 2019 Continuous Deca

I recently came back from Brutal Events DECAUK in Allerthorpe where I saw endurance athletes being awesome. I spoke to a friend of mine Martin Curran who was doing the continuous Deca and who had previously completed the 1 x 10 Deca 2 years ago at DECAUK 2017 in Windsor. He was asked what was the main difference between  the two formats of Deca and which was harder.  The reality of this is they are completely different beasts.   Martin summed it up like this.

“The 1 x 10 Deca is like a screw being turned everyday and it just gets twisted tighter as the event unfolds.  The Continuous was like being hit in the face with a sledge hammer on day 1 and then you just try to recover”.

So with this in mind I can now really see how right he was. My Deca aptly named the Longest Day Deca started on the 11th June 2019 and ended on the Longest Day the 21st June. I had given myself 10 days to complete it. Normally at an official Deca race athletes would get 14 days (12 at DecaUK) so I was giving myself a decent carrot to chase to finish in 10 days. I also only had a certain amount of holiday time off before I had to be back at work.

So why do this, simple really, obviously I wanted to challenge myself physically and mentally but more importantly I wanted to raise awareness and donations for two chosen charities I am connected with. Child Bereavement UK and Bigmoose based in Cardiff. In turn this would hopefully inspire children and in fact anyone to get active and to strive to achieve their goals and dreams, because truly anything is possible with the right support and mental attitude.

So onto the race of one! I say race with a cheeky smile. I have moved away from racing over the last few years. I enjoy the challenge more than whether there’s a medal at the end.  Even if it was a proper race, it would have still been a race of one. I find you are only ever really racing yourself in whatever you do and if you can be a better version of yourself then you’re a winner.

Swim

Day 1 Tuesday – 24 miles swimming

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The swim started at Devon and Cornwall Police Headquarters Pool, Middlemoor in Exeter. Thanks to Sammy the centre manager who made the swim possible for me, and Nicky who assisted with supplying some lifeguards during the day and she also rallied some fundraising for the charities at the HQ.

I pushed off from the side of the 25 metre pool to swim 1520 lengths, 24 miles in total. My plan was simple, swim 1 mile as efficiently as possible, stop for a short period of time eat, drink and then repeat 24 times. In my mind all I had to do was swim 1 mile, this would be easy right?

Mile after mile ticked by and to be honest I had no clue what mile I was on, what time of the day it was and how long I had been swimming or how long I had left. The swim was mentally challenging and I had a lot of time in my own mind. Lots to think about as I starred at the black line at the bottom of the pool. When something in the pool happened it added a short amount of excitement and a well needed distraction. The crew had planned to tap me on the head twice when I had two just two laps to go at the end of each mile.  I loved this and really looked forward to being hit on the head.

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photo credit – Darren Wheeler – That Camera Man (one of my favourite photos from the swim as this mirrors the dark times I had during the swim)

Darren (@thatcameraman) (check out his awesome website and gallery) a friend of mine turned up during the day, I saw him arrive as I took a breath. When my mile was complete I touched base poolside briefly with him and the next time I saw him he was in the water taking photographs. This was ace, a real distraction. It made me feel like a playful dolphin. I came out of my mind which was black and dark and suddenly everything seemed bright. I would push off from the side wall and get quite excited looking for him, wondering where he would turn up next. Sometimes he was some distance away or on the other side of the pool, sometimes underneath me or to the side. On the odd occasion we made physical contact or I would brush past the camera. I didn’t mind this at all and I know Darren had worried that he would piss me off. The hour and a half he spent in the water was amazing and he took some outstanding photographs. It really helped to take my mind away from the darkness and gave me a massive lift. Once he got out though, wow, my mood dropped massively and I was stuck back in my own thoughts. I struggled for a while when Darren left.

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Photo credit – Darren Wheeler – That Camera Man

I was later distracted by the Exeter Swimming Masters youth swimmers again who had returned for their afternoon/evening swims. As I slowly swam end to end I saw these young fish/sharks/dolphins and seals whiz past me doing all manner of stroke. They could swim and swim fast. I would get to the end having finished a mile and stop to eat to be greeted by a young inquisitive mind asking “how far have you gone now” or “what mile are you on”. The kids were really interested in what I was doing, they were excited by the fact that someone was swimming for so long and far, having encountered me first thing in the morning and then again later in the day. I had some good banter with them encouraging them telling them that one day they would be able to do such a thing, it was often met with laughter, giggling and disbelief.   They were really engaged and I felt that what I was doing was in some way inspiring them. That was the feedback we eventually received. This really picked me up and I was buzzing. If I could just inspire one person from this challenge then I would be happy and it would be job done.

During the early evening I received word that Jamie, a friend and neighbour of mine who I had been in a channel relay team with in 2012 was coming down to the swim to swim the last couple of miles with me. I was really looking forward to this as again it would provide a well needed discration from starring at the black line at the bottom of the pool.

Jamie jumped in with me with four miles to go. It seemed such a short distance compared to what I had already swam. The miles ticked by and with only one mile to go I was beginning to get quite excited. Each time I approached the lap counting end I would hope that this was the tap on the head, the moment I had been waiting for. When it wasn’t I thought “bugger”, and I knew I still had at least four lengths to go. The next time I approached, would it be this time? Nope, Dam four laps to go. My good friend Martyn had arrived and was given the important role of tapping my head for the last time. I swam towards the end and BANG my head was tapped. I let out a loud “YES” and slowly finished my last two laps. My head was all over the place. I was going to finish the swim. This was the one element I had been worried about, swimming has never been my strongest discipline and I was very aware of what training I had put in to the swim or not, hence being quite worried about it (that is another story). I knew I could run and cycle but everything rested on whether I could swim 24 miles and I had done it.

The relief to have finished was amazing. I pulled my wetsuit off in the water and the team pulled me out the water. I had a stretch, got myself sorted and headed home for T1.

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I had completed the swim in 16 hours 30 minutes pretty much in the time I thought I would. The time was 10pm.

Bike

Day 2 Wednesday – 212.2 miles cycling (bike total 212.2)

We drove home, ate, ate and ate some more and then I slept for 4 1/4 hours before waking to the alarm at 0430 and to be moving by 0500.  This was now going to be the daily routine for the rest of the Deca.  During that 30 minutes I would eat a bowl of porridge with blueberries and honey, a turmeric shot (wow! that wakes you up), water and a cup of coffee.  Wendy and Mark got up every day to get me going, I would have never finished without them.  At other times some of the other crew also got up to help too.  (Justin, Martyn, Sid and Lee – you are Ace!)

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At 0503 myself and Mark set off on the bike.  Mark had planned to ride the the start of the day with me, then work from home and then ride last thing in the evening with me.  Mark had agreed to come down for two weeks to help me with the Deca, work from home and get a decent training block in himself for his pending Deca at Brutal Events DECAUK in July in Allerthorpe – This would be an official IUTA event which Mark went onto win.

So as I set off the weather was, lets just say crap.  Wind and rain would be the theme for the next five days on the bike.  The original plan for the bike would change before the day was out.  My laps were 26.4 miles in length and were an out and back route with 1019 ft of ascent per lap.  In places the route is exposed and is normally quite windy.  My plan was to ride 10 per day over 4 1/2 days.  As with all plans you need a backup and then some.  Day 1 of the bike was the hardest day on the bike of the Deca.  Here’s why.

  • the weather was challenging
  • I felt sick and couldn’t eat
  • my backside and gooch hurt
  • my upper body (neck, back, shoulders and arms) felt like i had been through a mincer after the swim
  • chest pains
  • poor temperature regulation
  • I was tired

I had really not considered how much the swim would take out of me.  I was massively fatigued and on a number of occasions thought to myself, what the hell am I doing?

In the afternoon I started to have chest pains, felt sick, was having temperature spikes both hot and cold and started to fall asleep on the bike.  I came in before schedule and spoke briefly to Martyn who got me to try and eat some food, I needed to lay down and sleep.  I laid out on the sofa and within 20 minutes I was running upstairs having not slept and before I reached the toilet I was being sick all over the place.  I shouted to Martyn for help.  What a star, he cleaned up whilst I changed, cleaned myself up and darted out the door.  I jumped back on my bike, I felt utterly rubbish but knocked out another couple of laps.

I was joined on Lap 8/10 by Martyn, the rain had started again and it was dark.  I was seriously thinking about throwing the towel in and wondered how I could save face as this was so much harder than I thought it would be and we were only on day 2.  I was in pain all over my body and the thought of riding 2 more laps this evening was upsetting me.  I could only see the challenge falling away from me before it had even begun.  It was great being able to vocalise it with Martyn in a safe environment as I know he wouldn’t judge me as we cycled back to race HQ.  With some wise words from him I decided to cut the day short and try and get an extra hours sleep/recovery and approach day 3 with a different mind-set.

I had only covered 212 miles and was 50 miles behind schedule. Jake had also arrived home and was going to run HQ from now on.  Jake would support Wendy who had to go to work in between times.  Jake fed me, kept me on track with lap times, stoppage, cooked food, looked after friends turning up and generally did anything I asked off him.  He was brilliant and really helped his mum and both of them were often the last to bed and the first up, keeping the challenge alive.  I will be forever grateful.

I arrived home spoke with Wendy, Martyn, Jake and Mark about the plan.  We ate talked over the day, the new plan and I then went to bed, still wondering how I could get out of this.

Day 3 Thursday – 238.3 miles cycling (bike total 450.5 miles)

I woke up 0430 feeling more tired than the previous day.  There was no time to mess around and I was on the bike by 0500.  The weather again was challenging, wet and windy which would remain through most of the day. I had a number of people turn up through the day which was amazing.  Jackie G a friend of mine tuned up to ride 2 laps of the course as I had talked her into riding 52 miles on her 52nd birthday and today was that day.  Prior to this her furthest ride was 26 miles, a ride we had completed together just a few weeks earlier on my course.  I’m really happy to say she finished her own challenge and was pretty emotional about it to.  Well done to her.   Phil and Leona rode a lap with an hours stop in the Holman Clavel pub at the turn around point whilst they had a ploughmans lunch. HaHaHa.  Lee M also arrived to stay to ride three back to back 106 mile days in preparation for his upcoming Ironman race in Copenhagen.    The support was utterly awesome.  Every day on the bike Fran would arrive at some point in the day and ride clocking a number of miles over the 5 days.  He was apparently looking for his mojo.  I am happy to report he found it and was a great support during the challenge.

Today felt so much better after the previous days ride.  I was potentially back in the game and the new plan was working.

Day 4  Friday – 238.7 miles cycling (bike total 688.9 miles)

Another early 5am start and the weather was again not the greatest.  Wind and rain was the order of the day.  The headwind on the return leg was so strong on the laps.  My bro Darren had come down to help for a couple of days, he had supported me four years ago at the Triple Iron and it was great to see him, he’s always been a great support.

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As I was approaching the half way point on the bike my mood was starting to drop, I was feeling utterly rubbish both physically and mentally.  However I didn’t let it show.  I carried on trying to smile my way through it.  I was on the return leg of a lap in the afternoon and I had hit 560 miles, exactly half way, I just pulled over, told my brother to go on and I would catch him back up.  I was in so much pain in just about every part of my body.  I couldn’t see an end to the Deca.  I felt like this now and I still had the same distance to do on the bike and run.  I really didnt know how I could continue.  I just sat on the bike with my head on my handlebars in my hands and cried.  After a short while some of the guys who had been riding with me came back.  Nothing was really said by them, a couple of them just put their hands on my back.  I shared a moment with them and told them how I felt.

Just knowing so many people had my back, made me pull myself together, wipe my face, get on my bike and suck it up.  Every pedal stroke was one metre closer to getting off the bike with each rotation I had less miles to do than I had already ridden.  As I pulled away from this epic meltdown I knew I would finish the bike.

The day finished well with some more big miles hit.  Mark came out and rode at the end of the day with me and we talked over everything.  He was my sounding board every morning and night and a greta adviser throughout.  He never told me what to do, just steered me in the right direction and was the voice of reason.

I went to sleep listening to the wind and rain pounding the windows.  Surely it would blow over?

Day 5 – Saturday – 238.5 miles cycling (bike total 927.4)

Saturday the alarm went off. Ground hog day began.  I could still hear the wind and rain hammering on the bedroom window.  On any normal day one would have opened the curtains seen the weather and binned the ride or ridden on the smart trainer.  I wasn’t having any of that.  Full wet weather gear was put on, breakfast and out the door at around 5am.  It was lashing down.  Mark joined me, there was no sign of Darren or Lee who were going to join us first thing and to be honest I didn’t blame them in this weather.

As we rolled away from the house I could feel the heavy rain penetrating into my skin.  We had only got around 3 miles away and I was already soaked, the rain was the heaviest it had been all week and the wind had really picked up.  I began laughing out loud hysterically.  There was certainly no way I was not finishing this bike on Sunday,  Mother Nature could throw nothing more at me (apart from snow but thankfully I felt safe that wouldn’t happen).  Darren (full gallery of Darren’s photographs can be found here) had driven back down from London to take some photos, Mark D drove the camera car, by chance Jake, Fran and Ben T from Turners Cycles were with me at this point and we all had a good laugh having our photos taken on the bike route.  And during this period the rain had stopped, the sun came out, closely followed by some blue sky.

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Photo Credit  – Darren Wheeler – That Camera Man

Again more people dropped by which was blowing my mind.  The support was immense. Adam P had come down from Cardiff for the day to ride with us.  He was great company and great encouragement for young Mac who arrived to ride a lap with us.  He was only 14 and I had been passing his house everyday on the bike route and his mum Helen asked if he could join us.  We picked him up on the way through and to start he was like a fish out of water, 10 minutes later he was taking his turn up the front using his age against the middle aged pack behind. By the time we were about 18 miles in he was pretty knackered and he suggested he should do some more miles with us and not just the one lap.  I was concerned for him as he hadn’t ridden this far before, however, Adam on the other hand was all for pushing him, so thats what we did.  The pace was lifted, we blasted past his house for an extra 9 miles more than he had planned.  Mac was great company and did exceptionally well having never ridden more than 20 previously.  It was this engagement I was thriving off of.

The day ended late in the night in the pitch black.  Adam had decided to stay the whole day and had no lights.  He continued to ride on his black bike with his black helmet, his black clothing hidden from everyone.  He was going to ride in between Mark an I so he could see and be seen.  We hadn’t long set off on the last lap when he just rode off into the darkness ahead.  How he didn’t come off his bike I don’t know.  He was uber strong on the bike (in prep for his 1×10 pending Deca race in York).

We finished the day with lashings of lasagne and crumble with ice icecream.  Another solid day, only 193 ish miles for Sunday and then I would be off the bike.

Day 6 – Sunday – 194 miles cycling (bike total 1121)

We started at around 5am as normal. The wind was the one constant thing throughout the week and there was no let up for the last day.  The day to be honest felt like a ceremonial ride.  I was really looking forward to not riding.

I again had a number of visitors during the day,  I was really touched and quite emotional in the afternoon when friends travelled for miles/hours just to see me for no more than 15 minutes. Thanks to everyone for the support.  Mark Whittle from WhittleFit arrived to support me into the run, he had been a great friend over the last few years and was always a great sounding board for me to bounce ideas off of regarding training and he always had a level head.

The final lap was such a moving experience.  I decided rather than curse the course as I passed every part for the last time, I would thank it for looking after me.  So as I passed certain landmarks I said thank you.  just before the turnaround point all noise stopped, there was a calm, a silence that happened.  The wind stopped and you could hear a pin drop,  everything was still.  This state of calm lasted for about 10 minutes.  It was like the course was showing me a level of respect.  I felt like Rab had just made it all possible.

At the turnaround I desperately needed the toilet (number 2) I spent the ride home looking for somewhere suitable to go but couldn’t find anywhere.  As I rode towards the house Mark and I spoke about the bike and what lay ahead.  The race had not even began.  Tomorrow, the first day of the run was the start of the race where this would get serious.  As we rolled into the finish point of the bike, there was no one there to clap us in and cheer.  We just rolled in, got off the bike, wheeled them into the house, went to the toilet, bathed and ate and then hit the sack.  Tomorrow shit would get real.

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bike general.  The bike  I would be riding was a combination of a road bike (Specialiszed Roubaix) with tri bars borrowed from Justin (thank you for letting me use our bike) and my Triathlon Bike (Quintana Roo Calante).  The reality of this was after a lap on the Calante on day 2 it was enough for me to not ride it for a second lap as it was just far too aggressive and hurt my shoulders too much.

Run

Day 7 – Monday – 68.3 (run total 68.3 miles)

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First Run with Mark D, Darren and Mark W

I had spent the night backwards and forwards limping to the toilet with diarrhoea.  I felt dreadful and just hoped it was a blip that would pass.  I couldn’t be more wrong.

The alarm sounded and before I knew it I was up, getting dressed smothering myself in Betteryou Magnesium oil.  Getting run kit on and then I was out ready to set off for the days running.  I was joined again by Mark, Mark Whittle who had arrived the previous night for a bit of support and Darren, a friend and neighbour and my Sunday morning run buddy who had volunteered to run every morning and evening before and after work with me.  We set off at a walk for the first lap just to ease myself into it after being crouched over a bike for the last five days. My body was in bits before I had even started the run, but my mind was strong and I was with my mates.  The course was a mixed terrain lap with around 600 ft of ascent per lap.  The distance was 7.2 miles per lap. As we got to the wooded section of the run to my horror the course had been cut up by the Forestry Commission.  The once beautiful trail through the woods was now monster tracks filled with water and was unsuitable for running over.  I was gutted, I was really thrown by this.  I properly had a meltdown for about five minutes thinking about what I was going to do.  After a few “fecks” with the help of the chaps I made the decision to do an out and back course rather than a loop.  I knew the woods really well and had trodden the trails for hundreds of miles.  The route would remain a 7.2 mile loop.  I had no idea on the ascent but it would be similar to the previous route.  To get the lap finished and properly finished we ran it out and completed the 7.2 mile lap in around 1:30.

I started the next lap and then just pushed out laps.   Sadly though the stomach pains started, I stopped to take a leak, as I did this my bowels relaxed and I had a diarrhoea accident in my shorts.  I got back to the house after the second lap, changed my shorts, cleaned myself up and every time I wiped myself I would open up a saddle sore, often wiping blood all over the place.  This was pretty unpleasant and very painful.  I set off for another lap and I couldn’t trust myself to go for a leak without having another accident.  Every lap was spent going to the toilet out on the course leaning against a tree, coming into the house to go again.  It became extremely sore and draining.  I was worried about becoming dehydrated so kept on top of my fluid intake.  I soiled my shorts a second time throughout the day.  Mile after mile, I had pain in my stomach, my backside, my saddle sores, and my feet.  On a positive note my quads, calfs, knees and hips felt really strong.  Helen and Sid turned up today and were also a great support throughout the day.  Helen had only planned to run a half marathon, she ended up staying with me for over 35 miles.  She was great company and we chatted for hours.  She ended up joining me for four of the five days running turning up with a smile and a listening ear.

I ended the day at 68 miles.  I was really pleased with this but felt truly destroyed.  The ascent for the day was around 4500 ft.  I was done.  I crawled into the bath, to save time I was now eating in the bath.  Wendy brought me Risotto to eat whilst I soothed my battered body.  I was spending 20 minutes in the bath in Betteryou magnesium flakes.  As I was eating I fell asleep in my food.  I was woken by Wendy and I told her that I had said I would only stop if I had been declared medically unsafe to continue or properly injured with broken bones or something similar.  That I would not stop if I was just tired or in pain from things.  Well I really thought that had now changed as I told her I thought I was done, that I had given it everything and wasn’t sure whether there was anything left in me.  This explanation was met by encouragement by Wendy.

Day 8 – Tuesday – 60 (run total 128.3 miles)

I woke up normal time 0430 ready for the 5am start.  Dressed, Porridge, Betteryou Magnesium Oil and I was off again.  As with everyday Mark and Darren joined me first thing and last thing.  I still had diarrhoea again which was consuming me.  The day was really hard.  Helen had come to join me again for the morning this time and Sid was riding his BMX ( A BMX he completed the Outlaw Iron Triathlon on – YES on a BMX).

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Sid smashing the Outlaw Iron Distance Triathlon on his BMX!

Throughout the day more and more people arrived to run with me.  The company was very welcome,  about 3/4 way through the day when Mark came back out with me he suggested that I do a 10.2 mile loop and utilise the flattish soft part of the woods to add some miles as the road and hills were killing me and I was slowing with every step.  So the course changed slightly which allowed me reduce the total ascent for the day which was still over 3000 ft.  In the evening loads of friends turned up to run through the woods with me.

I was aware I didn’t look my greatest and every time I came back to HQ I looked like death, I am aware now that this really upset Wendy and my Daughter Megan who have never seen me like this before.  I tried to reassure them that I was ok, that they were seeing me at my worse after 10 miles with an empty tank of gas and that I would be ok after some food.

The day was tough but I was still moving forward and that’s all I had to do.

Day 9 – Wednesday – 51.7 (run total 180 miles)

0430 up and out of bed.   Clearly delirious as I thought it would be a good idea to fix the toilet cistern. What on earth was I thinking?  Absolutely wrecked with no feeling in my hands or feet, no coordination and up against it.  I know I had a thought, I will try and fix the cistern.  This was probably the most ridiculas thing I decided to do as I pulled the water inlet off and was being sprayed with water as it flooded the bathroom unable to get it back on shouting for help.  I was trying to hold the water in but it was no good, the water needed to be isolated.   I let go of the water and ran bursting into Marks room in my underpants shouting ‘Doddi help, I need a screwdriver’  there was utter panic throughout the house until I got the water stopped.  You can probably guess I was around 30 minutes late starting the day.  I must have burnt about 10000 calories in that one moment of panic.  Looking back it was hilarious.

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I then got out running and moving forward with Mark, Darren and Sid on the BMX.  I was still able to run some parts of the course which had now changed to an out and back run through the woods making it as soft underfoot and flat as I could.  Sid was due to leave and he had been awesome supporting me on nearly every lap for the last three days either on foot, passing me food or cycling the BMX next to me.  Helen was also back again and was superb.

I was also joined for a couple of laps with George who had come over from North Devon. Whilst I was with him something really special happened.  As we headed alongtheu track on our right about 15-20 metres away from us, the mist seemed to immediately clear and a silence was around us.  A massive stag was just standing there in full view.  It looked strong and powerful.  It didn’t move or run, it just stood there watching me as I passed.  Its head turned to watch me walk past.  I felt that Rab was somehow in the deer watching over me, almost checking in with me making sure I was ok.  Rab was there in front of me in a physical form.  I found that one encounter so moving.  Rab had appeared in physical form earlier in the week on a couple of other occasions too.

The BIG GUNS then arrived from Wales, Rich Fuller and Chris Gay arrived early having driven down from South Wales and were staying all day.  These two guys are awesome endurance athletes and were great company throughout the day as we exchanged stories.  The guys didn’t stop smiling and this was infectious.

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Reservoir Dogs! (Chris, Mark D, Darren,  Rich, and Jake)

Today was a special day, not only did I get to run a couple of laps with Wendy, but all my kids also came down throughout the day.  It really helped Wendy to run with me as she could see that I was ok as prior to this she had only seen me at my worse or at the end of the day when I was wrecked.

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My plan was to try and get two marathons done after the realisation and acceptance that I was not going to finish tomorrow, I knew my own body and if I was going to try and do almost 90 miles without stopping, due to the state I was in I would never finish.  With the guys/gals who had been supporting me the decision was made to try and nail another 50 miles tomorrow and then finish off whatever was left on Friday.  Mentally this was hard to accept but it was totally the right decision and this was respected by everyone else.

Again another day of fantastic support from all over the country.  The below photographs  taken by the talented Kathi Harman who had travelled from the far South East support me.

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Photo Credit – Kathi Harman – Kathi Harman Sports PR Photography

Day 10 Thursday – 49.4 (run total 229.4 miles)

The day started as normal at 0500 with Darren and Mark.  We were joined by Matt Pritchard (the original Dirty Vegan) and Lemmy (from Lemmys Chop Shop)who had come down from Cardiff to do a half marathon with me.  Helen and Grant also arrived later in the morning for some more miles.  It was great to see them all again.

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Running had now stopped, my legs now looked like someone elses.  There was no definiton in them, just the same size from my groin to my toes.  Tree Trunks!  My plan was to speed march 50 miles, so that is what I did.  I was joined by a number of friends throughout the day which was amazing, the support was just outstanding and really kept me going.  Friends were travelling from all over the country to give me their support and I was just blown away.  Chloe and Jeff from Bigmoose

Something else pretty awesome also happened in the morning. I stopped having diarrhoea.  It wasn’t until it stopped that I realised how consumed I had been by it, how much it had slowed me down and what a pain in the arse it was 😉

Day 11 Friday – 32.8 (run total 262.2 miles)

The glory lap! just a simple 32 miles to complete the Deca.  After Doddi and Darren got me going I was joined by Grant B and Helen.

I speed walked through the day keeping a great pace in my mind wanting to finish before 530pm which would then take me just under 10 1/2 days.

The last lap I was joined by loads of friends and we walked the last lap enjoying the moment.  I touched the far end gate on the course for the last time.  About 1/2 mile from the end everyone walked on, Wendy, Doddi and I sat down on the bench I had been passing for the last 5 days.  This was my treat, I vowed not to sit on it until the last lap and it was now that time.  I was able to share that special moment with Wendy and Doddi.  Without them both and the support they had given me for the last two weeks I would have not finished.  Doddi told me that I would of finished without him, only it would have been “shitter”.  The three of us then walked it in with Rab watching over!

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I crossed the line with everyone there.  I raised my poles above my head and asked “can we go home now for a cup of tea and cake”.  There was no big celebration, just an acknowledgment that I had finished something quite special that I would never forget.  I thanked everyone there.  My daughter Megan had made me a medal made out of a Honey Puff box and paper.  It was probably the poorest quality medal I have ever had but it was by far the most important special one I had ever had.  Claire, from Brutal Events who had been a great support and assisted me with loads of the logistics for the challenge had posted a Finisher T for me.  I was blown away and just wanted to head home.

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At home we cut the cake Abi had made.  Just wow, I had been properly spoilt, a three teir vegan cake, carrot on the bottom, chocolate in the middle and lemon on the top.  I can confirm this did not last past the weekend. It tasted as good as it looked.

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Thank you to everyone who joined me either in person or virtually for what was just the most amazing journey of endurance.  Thank you to everyone who supported the charities Bigmoose and Child Bereavement UK and with your help we raised together just under £11000 including the gift aid.  So many people to mention, you know who you are x

Thank you to all the companies who supported my dream, Brutal Events, Whittlefit, Unilite, Betteryou, SWYD Tattoo Cardiff, Meridian Foods, Waitrose – Wellington, Blue Seventy, Devon and Cornwall Police, Turners Cycles, and Always Beautiful – Taunton.

What an absolute blast and I wouldn’t have changed any of it!!! XXXXXXXXXXX

You can check out me talking about stuff including the Deca on Ger PrendergastPodcast. (also available on iTunes) Its a long one so maybe save it for a long ride or run.

 

 

 

 

3 thoughts on “Longest Day Deca

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