It’s been two days since I finished my run across Mallorca and things have begun to sink in. First, massive thanks to those who have taken time to give kudos or give words of support. I’m a little overwhelmed by the response, so kudos back to all of you.
The second big shout goes to the unwaveringly professional photographer, James Carnegie. On paper it might seem a fantastic job following a runner through the mountains of such a beautiful island. The reality is far different. It’s a thankless task in which James drove and ran ahead of the route to try and capture me on some crag or outcrop along the route. Even with a SPOT tracker and Strava’s excellent Beacon feature we would miss each other – sometimes by only minutes. It was a lot like trying to thread the eye of a needle while jumping up and down on a trampoline. A frustratingly impossible task and yet he still captured photos with pure emotion and poise - just check out the one that accompanies these words. Incredible.
For now, the final thanks go to the UK team at Hoka One One who kitted me out for the run. In fact kit was the one thing that went perfectly. Testament to the quality of the apparel and shoes from this exciting brand. ??
And so on to the run. I don’t want to spike the Strava story that I am currently writing but it’s fair to say it was an incredible yet humbling experience. The difference between a race and a self-supported run is markedly different and in my opinion much [much] more difficult.
Without aid stations and support it is down to the runner to look after him/herself. There are no fully stocked running buffets. No friends with cold drinks or words of encouragement. The task becomes about rationing and scenario planning; will there be water at the refuge ahead? Will the next village have stores that are open? More often that not the answer is no.
And yet there is something invigorating about that. It’s you against the elements. Against the mountains and, ultimately, in this case against the clock. Tick tock.
In many ways my run was a complete disaster. I ran too hard in the early miles. The heat cooked me like a turkey. I had GI distress and then full body cramp. Route markings disappeared and I ended up off track more times than I cared for – sometimes with potentially fatal consequences. I added more than 15km of extra distance to the run by following the wrong route. It was a perfect storm of missed turns and bad decisions. If it had been a race, I’d have dropped. I’ve only ever dropped once.
But on reflection in a twisted, f*cked up, way that’s what a wanted. A proper adventure. A me against the world story. And that’s what I got.
Could I have run smarter? Could I, as some have suggested, taken a better route? Is an FKT on this route a bold claim? Yes, sure and I don’t know, probably.
But that wasn’t what it was about. My goal from the start had been to run the length of the island and I’m proud to have achieved that. The rest of the stuff can be worked out in the wash. Right now it’s time to take stock, to learn from the experience and to plot something new.
Anyone got any bright ideas?