Tuesday, January 22, 2013

The Spine 2013 - a few after thoughts

Spine (noun)
  1. The spinal or vertebral column; backbone.
  2. A ridge, as of ground or rock.
  3. Something, as a quality or trait, that constitutes a principal strength; resolution; stamina; backbone
  4. Britain’s most brutal race; the longest, coldest and most demanding mountain marathon in Britain; 268 miles of ice, snow, cold and savage winds.
The Spine 2013 was an epic and indeed brutal event. I cannot describe how it felt to finish – relieved, happy, so very proud, grateful, sheer joy. All the more so after a DNF in last year’s inaugural event at 135 miles with severe hypothermia.
For me, this wasn’t just unfinished business; it was an unfinished journey, and a journey I had to complete for so many reasons, for so many people. Very early on in the race, I realized that for me this was a pilgrimage – a journey I had to undertake, give in to, and finish.
Britain's most brutal race? Absolutely.
If you are considering entering this, please do not underestimate it. Don't read the info and think that looks good, that looks fun. Trust me, it is brutal and will take you to places physically & mentally that you haven't been to before. This is not just a long ultra, not just 268 miles. It's 6/7 days of continuous effort and concentration - managing sleep, food, the cold, your feet, trying not to lose focus but trying to make the right decisions, feeling so miserable, wanting to go home. It is tough and many will pull out in the first 2 days.
Not that I'm trying to put anyone off - I'm purely trying to add some realism. This is a great race, is great fun, and is one big adventure.
But if you do enter and are brave enough to stand on that start line, you will experience camaraderie, team spirit, a true feeling of adventure, being at one with nature, episodes of complete bliss. And believe me, the joy of finishing is unparalleled in my sporting life. I love this race; it sucks you in, takes everything you have but gives back everything you could wish for. I am a better person for undertaking and completing the journey. Happiness is the road....
My wife, Jenny, who is not a runner, does not get running, was part of the support team. She loved it, and will be part of the support team next year. She now gets running, gets why I do it. To have her there with me was so special.
I am part of The Spine family - I will be back next year either competing or in the support team. I would not miss it for the world.
Thanks to all who played a part, however small, in getting me to that finish line. I cannot possibly name everyone but you know who you are.

Just a few yards to go - with my best friend & eternal support, Jenny, and my best running buddy, Gary Morrison

Race report to follow.....

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