Monday, October 27, 2014

Marathon 38, the end of my 2014 Challenge for Alzheimer's Research UK

Don't worry though, there's another challenge about to start!

But first let's get up to date with the last part of my 2014 challenge, the Beachy Head marathon, my favourite trail marathon, with the Three Forts Challenge a close second. I love running up on the South Downs as the views are spectacular if the weather is good, which it certainly was yesterday. Not too hot, slightly overcast and with just the gentlest of breezes. The only slight issue was that the ground was rather slippery in parts because of the heavy rain during the week but that was a minor niggle.

My right hamstring is still rather tight and I knew it wasn't going to enjoy some of the steeper descents and I wasn't wrong! No worries though as I wasn't chasing a fast time, I just wanted to get round in one piece and enjoy the day.

I haven't got any photos of me yet from but I have a funny story to tell when Ant sends them through!

I'll let the photos I took en-route speak for themselves as they give a good feel of the route and the atmosphere.

A moody sky over the sea 
An ambulance positioned at the foot of the first hill!

The registration area where you collected your timing chip

The obligatory queue for the toilets!
The inflatable 'start' line with mats that you have to run over to activate your race timing chip (attached to you ankle)

There are lots more photos of the route in my post from 2012 where I took a loads more photos than I did yesterday.

The piper at the top of the first hill - this year everyone wanted to have their photo taken with him

This lady wanted a better view so climbed up onto the monument! - she wasn't a runner

Looking back over Eastbourne

The mud on one of the early slopes was very slippery!

The expansive views are so beautiful they take your breath away

Look how tiny those runners look in the landscape

The sun popped out for a while and some of the paths dried up. This one is mostly chalk with loose flints on top, which can cause you to trip, so sensible runners chose the path along the grass
There are lots of feed stations en-route where you can get a cup of water and a biscuit but the one around mile 16 is special - they have cups of tea, squash, sausage rolls (not for us vegetarians of course) and hot cross buns. My friend's husband took a great photo of me stuffing my face with a hot cross bun on my first ever Beachy marathon back in 2006, just before I started my blog, but I can't find it (thankfully!). There is always a band there too and this year they were very good. I took a short video of it but I can't get it to load on here.

The reason it's a special feed station; they're preparing you for the toughest part of the course!

Refreshed by a cup of tea and food we trekked up this grassy bank which was very slippery - it's hard to show just how steep that bit is

After the grassy slope we go downhill, across a flat bit, over a bridge and then wallop, it's the first long set of steps, but there are much steeper and longer ones to come……..

…and here they are. I turned around about 1/2 way up and shouted "smile please". I don't think the man on the  right felt like smiling though!

After scaling the steps we climb over a low stone wall and run down a really steep grassy slope to go past Cuckmere Haven
This is the view when at the bottom of the first hill

This is the view, using the same zoom, but from the top of the hill! I wish I could have captured the sound of the sea crashing against the shoreline (which is pebbles) as it was magnificent

A side view of one of the 7 Sisters

Only another 3 Sisters to go. On the top of the last one you can see the Belle tout lighthouse which is famous for being featured in a TV series "the Life and Times of a She Devil' many years ago and for having been moved further back from the edge of the cliffs (yes really!) because of coastal erosion. The other thing of note is the row of houses just before there as last year one of them had to be demolished and the remainder repaired and strengthened, again due to coastal erosion you can read about it here

People have been warned to stay away from the edge of the cliffs because they are unstable. Last time I ran this there wasn't any chalk visible along the top of the cliffs

A group of twitchers waiting for a bird to appear from the bushes

You can tell how windy it gets up there from the growth of this tree

Heading back down the hill to the finish line

I think this photo gives a better feel of just how steep that blimming hill is. I picked my way down by going sideways and very slowly!

This van positioned just after the finish line made me smile with it's logo copying that of the post office
As I haven't got a finish line photo yet I'll share this one from 2006 which I think really captures the spirit of it:

Heading for the finish line with Jan in 2006, my first Beachy Head marathon. We ran half of it together and it was such great fun

The last marathon medal in my 2014 challenge

More photos to follow soon.


Jacquie said...

Well Done Susie!!!
It looks spectacular and very tough
Hope you are taking it easy today.
Jacquie x

Susie Hewer said...

Thanks Jacquie! It is truly beautiful scenery.