I guess it’s my turn to try to get some words into print about what was for me a simply fantastic few days away. Sorry but this is going to be a long one but I need to put it somewhere so here goes.
My adventures started slightly earlier than most as I headed up to Hawkesbury on the Thursday evening. With just over 300 miles between me and Llanberis HOBS had very kindly offered to put me up overnight and then we could travel to North Wales together the following day. After a warm welcome from Dave and his family we headed down to the local were we met up with Jim. Once again it was just like catching up with friends I’ve known for years and it was great to get a first hand account of their Cotswold way adventures, but what was evident was their excitement about the weekend ahead. I on the other hand was getting more and more nervous. Nervous about the run, nervous about those hills and nervous about meeting up with team Real Buzz.
After a decent nights sleep (something that I hadn’t had at home for a few nights) we hit the road. Unfortunately delays on our motorway and trying to get some food system meant our arrival in the SnowdonNational Park was somewhat delayed. But to a new comer it was certainly well worth the wait. It’s not just the views and the autumnal colours it’s the whole atmosphere of the area. On our final run into Llanberis Dave was keen to point out the route we would be following all be it in reverse the following morning. Once again the nerves were kicking in the down hill section looked fast the last part of that uppey bit looked particularly tough but the whole scale of it was pretty daunting. We finally arrived at the Electric Mountain Centre, some 6 hours after setting off, where Dave had arrange for us to go on the tour. The whole ElectricMountain experience was fascinating and something that’s well worth a visit. When we came back from our tour the first get together was well under way and it really was special to see everyone together to meet people for the first time or simply catch up with old friends. HOBS then presented everyone with their real buzz t-shirts, thanks very much for them they do make you feel that extra special. After sampling the delights of Pete’s Eats we rounded off the evening in the pub I didn’t go for one of the carb loading options instead settling for a softie. A few of us discussed what sort of times we were looking at I said was trying for a sub 4 hours which I would have been more than happy with. Angus eventually joined us after the journey from hell and finally team real buzz was complete.
Now I had the privilege of heading to the Youth Hostel at Pen Y Pass with my roomy for the weekend HD. Dave as you would expect full of excitement, full of positivity, full of anticipation, full of energy, full of encouragement and full of pride. I think if I had shouted go at any point he would have got that marathon done and dusted there and then. If I had any doubt about the marathon or the stones being returned home they were swiftly banished. This was getting done. We were up early on the Saturday, marathon day had finally arrived. It’s not until you witness someone wincing in pain trying to put on their socks that you can begin to realize how much they’re hurting but not a single complaint, not a moan just getting the job done. After I spent an age faffing around I caught up with Dave outside as he surveyed the pass in the pouring rain it was clear that he was content he was a man at home.
By the time we reached the Centre nerves had well and truly kicked in. It was great to meet up with Kirstie and her boyfriend. Slowly but surely the team started to arrive and boy did the team look good in they’re Real Buzz tops. I must admit that I found the 10.30 start a bit difficult to deal with by now I was pacing up down like nobodies business and to be honest I’m pretty crap company when I’m like this. Sorry people. Popped a couple of pills just to keep the knee and ankle under control . Finally after changing the clothing options a number of times I settled for the club vest under the Real Buzz T-shirt combo. Once more out into the rain for the walk to the start and time to get where I needed to be. The start was for me one of if not the highlight of the run, people may run 100’s of marathons, people may break records, people may run 5 min something pace but how many of them can say they started a marathon surrounded by 15 of their mates who were backed by supporters second to none, I ‘m proud to say I had that honour.
I’ve never started at the back of a run before and whilst I found it a bit difficult to navigate my way through the slower runners it did keep my pace in check normally I go off way to fast and end up paying for it in the later stages. Rob, Ali, HOBS and myself stuck together as much as we could over the first few miles constantly looking out for each other as we made our way to the first climb. The first part is steady long yes, it’s not until the Youth hostel comes into sight that it gets steeper. Once you reach that hostel the rewards lay ahead what a downhill section that is. By now I was a little bit in front of the others but that was part of my plan I knew Rob and HOBS were kings of the down hills and my plan was to try to stick with them and pick up any tips as they can flying pass. Cunning plan yes but at the pace these boys came past was unbelievable and I simply couldn’t live with them but I did manage to keep them in sight. I slowly caught up with HOBS of the next mile or so, we ran together for bit before he urged me on. I then managed to finally catch Rob and again ran with him for and it was obvious that he was another running when he shouldn’t have been. We split up at the orange feeding station, sorry Rob. By now we were getting towards the half way point, I was still feeling ok and the miles were being ticked off. Some how I managed to miss Nick unfortunately. For me the next 2 miles were the worst of the whole run, I knew the hill was there it just seemed to go on and on forever. Just when I needed a lift there they were, Mandy, Mark and the buzzer bus. If they could stand out in this weather to support us then I was dammed sure I could digging in for a couple of miles. I was now running with Alan we chatted about nothing in particular just helping each other along. Traditionally I find miles 17 to 20 tough it’s normally when I’m full of doubts, question what the hell I’m doing and generally swear and curse about anything and everything. Not today though the miles were passing quickly enough the rain had stopped and those views were becoming ever more stunning.
Alan had now started to drop back a little and now the ankle, knee and hips were starting made their self known once again so again I popped couple more pills. Now came to break down time 2 miles to THE hill we can do that, 2 miles up hill it’s going to tough and it will need walking we can do that and then 2 miles home we can do that. C’mon on we’re going under 4 hours by how much depends on what happens from mile 22 onwards. The hill took its toll I did try a walk/run approach but there was a hell of a lot more walking injected with the odd jog for a few meters. The last little section as you approach mile 24 was particularly tough. It was just after this section that I managed to get cramp. Fortunately it wasn’t too bad and after a bit of a stretch and self massage it disappeared not sure where it came from or why and though I have suffered with cramp before it’s always in the calves and when I’m sat down. Finally the downhill I couldn’t believe how high up we where in comparison to Llanberis below it was serious downhill time. I must admit to throwing a bit of caution to the wind I just wanted to get down as quickly as possible. The grass section was treacherous, the tarmac path was interesting, the finishing section brilliant. That was until I could feel my calves starting to cramp up and I think it was pure momentum that took me over the line. Job done a quick look at the watch 3.43.38 don’t quite know where it came from and if anyone had offered me that time at the start I would bitten their arm off. Soon after Alan finished a quick chat and handshakes all round. Off to get my bag, some warm clothes, food and drink. By now I was beginning to feel a bit funny and something I’m use to after a long run its as if my bodies saying oi we’ve got your round now time to look after me.
I soon met up with HOBS and Ali who I missed finishing but had absolutely smashed it and our own Real Buzz cheer station was set up. First real buzzer I saw finish was Red Dave how he ran the whole course is pretty unbelievable trust me there won’t be many people saying that, hats of to you Sir. By now HOBS had his tracker up and running and believe me we had the same fun games with it as all you brilliant lot back home. Over the next hour or so we clapped and cheered each and everyone over the line some saw us, some were so in the zone we could have been anyone. And then came our own rose shepherded by her 2 thorns (sorry men). What a trio to bring team real buzz home grit, guts determination and pure class. Now how we quite got 16 people on the start line I will never know. How we got 16 people home again is simply remarkable and it’s not because they were doing it for themselves its because they were doing it for the team they were each other and that counts for so much in my book. Not only the runners but the brilliant support crew so if were roadside or pc side willing us on I thank you trust me it really does make a difference.
Oh and what an evening from HOBS organisation and attention to detail, to Hollywood’s presentation, to the certificates (thanks Mark and Jane), to the food, to the drinks, to the chat, to the warmth, to the friendship. I thank you. If your sat still reading this, I wouldn’t blame you given up, and thinking should I, could I, the answer is yes, no matter how many blogs you read and there are some corkers out there the only way to fully appreciate it is to make your way to Snowdon.
I’m conscious that this is going on now so I’ll write about Sunday later and review all the bits that I’ve missed later. Suffice to say I didn’t get home until 21.00 on Sunday night.
For my own stats I’m going to I’m going to list my mile splits since Saturdays run the Garmin seems to have gone into melt down must have been all the altitude. 8.24,8.31,8.48,9.07,8.40,6.44,6.49,7.09,7.31,7.34,7.56,7.51,7.53,8.56,9.17,8.14,8.01,8.05,8.16,8.12,8.24,8.40,13.16,12.04,9.50,7.50 and last little bit 6.19.
First run back tonight. Take car out there folks.
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