Elevation: 4,800m
Distance: 85km
Duration: 17:22
Place: 9th

adam brodie 01Hells Cauldron - for me it was the ultimate Schrodinger's Cat of a race. Was I alive or dead? Was I strong enough, or not? Did I finish, or should it count as a DNF? Even the race tag line "where runners are forged or broken" - I definitely experienced a quantum state of both these feelings simultaneously. The mental highs and lows were just as challenging as those on the terrain in front of my feet.

This all started so many months ago - an epic sounding race, no course markings, navigate by map and compass only, plenty of vert, and it coincided with the weekend of my birthday! The perfect challenge!
But even before I entered I built it up too much in my mind and put too many expectations on myself - I've done plenty of races on the qualifying list, but none with a fast enough time to qualify. Somehow, I was still accepted into the race. A great opportunity to prove myself worthy, but I knew I'd have to work so hard to meet that cutoff time of 15 hours.

Breaking my 2nd metatarsal a week later didn't help matters - I lost 2 months of training and then had to ramp it up so quickly. I have the greatest physio in the world who helped get me to the start line (thank you Pete I couldn't have gotten there without you)! But I put a lot of pressure on myself, and it's been the most stressful training block I've undertaken. But then again, would I have trained so hard without the challenge presented by the adversity of injury? (I like to think I would have - at the time, I wanted to hit that 15 hours more than anything).

If you've been following my journey, then you'll know that I felt good going into the race. Despite the injury setback, I put in absolutely everything that I could with my training, and I knew that whatever happened on the day, I had done the very best I could in terms of preparation in the lead up - managing injury and niggles was a balancing act, and I know that I couldn't have possibly done any better or worse.
In the end, doing your best is the best you can do - and that is always good enough.

I'm so grateful that Jin and I were able to finally go to Victoria for a course recce weekend just 3 weeks before the race. I had planned 4 course recce trips, and if all of them had happened, the benefit to my training would have been so incredible. But a combination of injury, Covid lockdowns, and border closures meant that 3 of those trips were cancelled. Still, 1 trip was enough to give me the confidence that I'd be able to navigate the course on the day (although afterwards I definitely had some anxiety about the course itself - hopefully we wouldn't be experiencing 30+ degrees temperatures on race day)!

At the start lineThe best thing about travelling to a race is the time you get to spend with friends. No matter how the race ended up going, I couldn't have been happier than to have spent my birthday with the company of Matt, Abhi, Sara, and Jin - and showing them some of the Buffalo Stampede (summit) trails as part of our taper day before the race was such a fun experience.

The following day, during the race, I spent a lot of my time thinking about my friends and how they were doing - each had their own challenging journey leading up to this event, but I knew they'd all do well in their respective distances. Afterwards, I was so happy to see them, and so proud to hear all of their stories of their adventures on the trail. The hugest of Congratulations to each of these Legends ๐Ÿ˜Š

The night before the race, and at the start line, I felt calm. More so than I have before any other race, and definitely more than I had in the last few months. All that pressure I had put on myself to train hard and worry about the cutoff times, it was all finally behind me. I was just going to go out there, have fun, enjoy the experience of finally being in those mountains. And see what happens on the day. The weather forecast was for a lot of icy cold wind and rain. But I know better than to worry about things that are outside of my control.

The pre-race briefing had gone well. My pack was bulging with mandatory gear. And just a few days earlier the RD had informed us of the updated race cutoff times - now 18 hours instead of 15, plus we'd be allowed to access a dropbag at 2 points along the course. You never know what could go wrong on race day, so I took advantage of the opportunity and packed some spare shoes, socks, thermals, and even trekking poles - my physio might be proud, or maybe he'd prefer I had them from the start line ๐Ÿ˜‚

6am and we're off! Headtorches on, for an easy warm up into the race, the first few km being completely flat. The weather was perfect - just cool enough that I was glad to have worn my calf sleeves, arm sleeves, summer beanie and gloves - but not too cold. No wind. It was going to be a beautiful morning. Only 15 of us at the start line for the 85km race, and we spread out quickly. I was going to be spending a lot of time alone out there today.

Then I made a wrong turn. At the very first turn! ๐Ÿคฆ‍โ™‚๏ธ
How the heck did I manage that? ๐Ÿ˜ก

Well, it was dark, and it was a really simple mistake to have made. It had obviously been daylight during our course recce. I took a left instead of a right. I realised my mistake very quickly, within a couple of hundred metres, and it cost me less than 5 minutes. It turned out to be my only nav error of the entire day. But boy was I angry at myself, and I wouldn't let myself forget it for a little while yet. Eventually I did forgive myself for that simple mistake, it really didn't cost me much at all, and without it I might not have met some of the amazing people I met during the race. But, unfortunately I opened up my mind to a lot of negative thoughts and unnecessarily put myself down - probably a gateway to some psychological lows that I'd experience later on.

I corrected my course and continued on, wondering whether I was now in last place, and whether that really mattered anyway, so early in the race. During the briefing our RD had mentioned there would be one single course marking, and I knew I was about to hit it. My headtorch shone on the ribbon exactly where I expected it to be, and I veered off from the road onto the trail, about to commence our first big (BIG) climb of the day. Then I saw more headtorches coming towards me - a few of my fellow runners had missed the ribbon, and seemed grateful that I could show them the correct track. I was glad to have some company as we began to climb - them with their trekking poles, me with none. My legs felt good, my only worry on this section was the gradient - it took my toe about a week to recover after last time I was here, the relentless steep climb not allowing me to stand flat for so long, and just putting a bit too much pressure on that niggle that still remains after the broken metatarsal.

Here I met Brendan and Ash, and we enjoyed sharing stories of our ultra running adventures together for the first half of the climb. I'd seen Brendans' name on the entry list a few weeks earlier, and couldn't place where I knew him from, but it definitely sounded familiar. It turns out Brendan is practically my neighbour! A fellow Northern Beaches resident, and I apparently used to train his wife at the gym. Small world!

I was pretty glad to hear Brendan mention that he's been stalking me on Strava and gaining some inspiration from my (lengthy) write ups of my training runs. I explained that this was mostly for the benefit of my physio, to help him gauge my training and niggles - but if my words can inspire anyone else, then that's something that I couldn't be happier to provide to people. Eventually I wished Brendan and Ash the best of luck and pushed ahead, feeling a rumbling in my stomach and knowing that I'd appreciate the facilities at the top of this particular climb.

Stomach problems have plagued me in races before, and often in training runs over the last couple of months, to the point that I've been using immodium tablets as a precaution for almost every weekend long run - it hasn't usually been an issue prior to my latest injury, but I changed my diet up a lot for the training for this race, and lost a bit of weight as a result. Maybe it was diet related, or partly nerves, or even the elevation changes - but all I knew was that I felt a bit nervous just now. I didn't have time for this to be an issue today, so after my short stop I took my 2nd immodium tablet for the day and continued on, hoping that would be the end of it.

Unfortunately, it wasn't. Although, I have to say the issue was nowhere near as bad as it has been at some previous races, that uncomfortable feeling remained for the rest of the day. I only needed one other stop, at the halfway checkpoint. And once again I took another immodium tablet (my last one in my pack). It was enough to get me through to the finish line.

The next problem to present itself was that I wasn't eating or drinking properly. I recognised it early on, and I did my best to manage it, but I knew this was going to be an issue throughout the day. It wasn't that I couldn't eat, it was that I didn't want to. I knew I'd need the fuel to burn during the race, but it was going to be a balancing act to make sure I didn't make my stomach feel any worse than it already was.

After that first pitstop was a mountain spring that I'd been looking forward to drinking from, the water there was so cool and fresh. I already knew I hadn't drank enough water up to this point, because my bottles didn't really need refilling. I wanted to guzzle that delicious water straight from the heart of the mountain, but I knew better. I took a few sips, refilled, and continued on.

It was somewhere around here that I met Jacqui, another of my fellow runners in this race. I was pretty glad to spend some time chatting with Jacqui, a very inspirational runner who has taken on the Razorback 65km many times over the years and had been looking forward to our new challenge today. We chatted for a few minutes and enjoyed refilling our bottles with the mountain spring water together before I pushed ahead, wishing her good luck as she paused to get warmer clothes on before the summit ascent - she's a smart lady, but I decided to brave the freezing cold summit in my shorts and shirt. It wouldn't be long before we descended again, hopefully into warmer weather, and my race plan didn't allow time for too many costume changes.

At the CrossThe summit ascent was a wonderful adventure! There was fog and people everywhere - we'd caught up to the runners in the 22km event here and they were all over the mountain, coming and going. With such poor visibility in the fog, they seemed to just pop out of nowhere and then disappear again. In our race briefing we'd been told to expect a photographer at the summit, and with such poor visibility I was relying on that landmark to know when I'd hit the top. But the photographer wasn't there - no point taking photos of clouds all day, haha. Luckily some other runners who had travelled too far and gone beyond the summit told me when it was time to turn around and go back down. I'm glad to have experienced the amazing views on offer a few weeks earlier.

The course flattened out for a bit and the clouds began to clear slightly. Oh look, there's our photographer! I felt good shuffling along, carefully over the rocky, jagged, technical terrain, before turning off for a steep descent. Wait, wasn't there supposed to be a "minor aid station" at that junction? Oh well, not to worry. I knew that I easily had enough water to get by until the next river crossing. But curious that it shouldn't be there. Perhaps the weather was a bit too treacherous for them. You should never assume that an aid station will be where you expect it to be ๐Ÿ˜…

It was a long descent, and in some parts very scrubby, in some parts quite steep. I've been here before, during a previous race, and there's definitely still some trauma associated with it since then. It wasn't as bad as I remembered, but right now, my brain is about to start worrying about how the heck I'm gonna get back up there again later on.

You have to believe in yourself - if you don't think that you can do it, then of course you won't be able to. All you have to do is believe that you can, and you'll be capable of achieving so much!

A nice little motivational tip that I often use as a PT. It's proven to be true, time and again. I wish I'd remembered it sooner on the day - I spent roughly the next 30km so worried about climbing back up that mountain on tired legs, that I know on some level at least I had psychologically convinced myself that I wouldn't be able to do it.

The viewBut in the meantime, I'd caught up to a couple of the tailend runners in the 65km course, and I was happy to see them. We parted ways soon after and I wished them good luck with their adventure as I settled into a nice runnable firetrail section, finally pulling my gloves off as the weather had warmed up enough at the bottom of the valley. And the sun was getting stronger. This next climb destroyed me during our course recce, it had been such a hot day and I was fatigued, nearing the end of our 90km weekend.

Today it wasn't quite so hot, I had the energy to push on, walking up and up. I pretended Jin would be up there waiting for me at the next water stop, as he had been on the day of our recce, and that made me feel a bit better as I climbed. But I knew already that not eating or drinking properly were beginning to take their toll on my energy levels. And that sun! I should probably stop and put sunscreen on, but no, I'll be ok. There's no time, just keep pushing on - I still want to make that 15 hours cutoff, and right now, I'm still tracking according to my schedule.

Over the next bit, and back down again, happy to once again be shuffling along. Slowly on the technical downhill, but happy enough with my pace. It's really beautiful here, and my navigation is still right on point. I'm almost halfway. Just one more big climb and I'll get there.

It was a big slow climb, my legs felt tired now and this section was steeper than I remembered - we'd done it on much fresher legs during our recce. And that sun just kept beating down on the back of my neck! I knew I was definitely getting sunburnt now, but I wasn't stopping for sunscreen - I was grateful to still be wearing the calf and arm sleeves for protection, although I have to admit if I hadn't been wearing them then I definitely would have stopped to put sunscreen on.

I finally made it to our halfway checkpoint! What a thrill to take a pitstop, and drink some Coke! and some Red Bull! And to eat a banana! And oh wow! Fisiocrem! ๐Ÿ˜ My back had been hurting on that last climb, and I realised I'd made the mistake during my training runs of not carrying a full pack, instead opting for the easy option of using the car as an aid station to refill water at the top of Kedumba or Perrys. The Fisiocrem did just the job and luckily my back was fine for the rest of the day - or else everything else hurt so much that I just didn't notice it, haha.

Hearing of some runners that had already pulled out, or changed to a shorter course, was a bit disheartening. I always hope that everyone will be able to finish the race. But at least I got an update from the checkpoint that Jin and Matt were doing well. I knew they would.

I felt recharged, and after a bit of a slow start with a slushy stomach full of softdrink and banana I managed to run strong for the next section. And then I bumped into Sara! ๐Ÿ˜ƒ Meeting a friend along the trail is always a great experience. She was going the other direction though (on the 65km course), and so we briefly passed each other as I shouted out some encouragement.

I'd spent a bit too long in the checkpoint, and I knew I'd need to make up some time to get back on schedule. I'm pretty sure I made it up, but I let some of those negative thoughts creep in along this next section. It was almost like approaching Mordor - the closer I got to that next climb the worse I felt about it. Although I shuffled along easily all the way to the base of the climb, I just knew it was going to be tough.

I recognised what I was doing to myself. A long stretch where I hadn't seen anyone else for a long time, and I was spending too much time feeding the negative energy in my head, telling myself that I wouldn't make it in time, that it would be too hard. Recognising it is the first step. I tried to pull myself out of it. Thinking of all those Skyrunning videos I always watch, all those mountains that I'm yet to climb. I live for this shit!

I still wasn't hungry or thirsty, but I resolved the plan in my head - once I get to the base of the climb, refill the water bottles, take a snack, an energy gel, a salt tablet. Get the earbuds in and pump some motivational tunes. Do whatever it takes to get up there. It'll be slow, but I'll get it done! It had really started to cool down, and the dark clouds were coming over fast - it was well past the time of the day that the storms had been predicted, but they were coming.

As I reached the base, Ash and Stuart passed me. We'd been playing a bit of catchup with each other all day. We all agreed that we were dreading the next section, but we were determined to get it done. They took off ahead of me and I began to climb, occasionally seeing Stuart not too far ahead. It began to drizzle, and I knew it would continue to get colder and colder as we climbed higher and higher, gradually becoming more exposed to the wind and the rain. I remembered there was supposed to be a minor aid station at the top when I get back to the junction - I should probably stop there to put on some warm clothes, maybe my rain jacket and even get my headtorch ready for the night section that was coming up. I kept climbing, still strong, but so so slowly - I knew I was starting to fall behind schedule now, but hopefully could make up my time on the next section where it's a bit flatter on the way to the next checkpoint. Why is this playlist so ordinary? And why didn't I consider that I'd start to chafe in the rain? ๐Ÿคฆ‍โ™‚๏ธ

I finally made it to the junction, so grateful that the trail flattens out a bit. I'll be able to run for a bit now, but slowly and carefully, those rocks are jagged and technical, and it turns out they're pretty slippery in the rain.

Why did I expect that the minor aid station would be there this time when it wasn't earlier? Don't you know you should never make assumptions about aid stations being where they're supposed to be? ๐Ÿ™„

I'm a bit low on water, but not to worry, I know that next checkpoint isn't too far away, and I won't need much water for this next section anyway, now that it's raining all I have to do is open my mouth, haha. I'll push on, I don't have time to waste getting warm clothes on when the checkpoint is so close.

Visibility is starting to get pretty low. I'm spending far too much time walking on this nice flat easy runnable section that I'd been looking forward to. I know there's a junction up ahead somewhere, and the checkpoint isn't too far away from there - but I've been travelling forever, why is it taking so long? I'm so wet, and so cold. It's getting darker, and those rocks are getting too slippery. I'm power walking as fast as I can but trying to be careful not to mis-step. If I had my headtorch on I probably would have been running in the twilight, but I was surely so close now. Just keep pushing ahead!

I finally see the junction, once it's about a metre in front of me in the fog and the darkness. It's too late now to stop and try put warm clothes on, or even look for my headtorch. I'm really cold, and the minute I stop moving my heartrate will drop and I'll shiver, I just have to keep pushing as hard as I can in the hope that I'll stay warm enough until I get to the checkpoint, and the hope that it won't get too dark.
But it does.

I know I'm close now, but it's also pitch black. I can just make out the trail, but I'm slipping and sliding on jagged rocks every few steps. I'll be honest, I'm a bit scared, and annoyed at myself for being too stubborn to have stopped earlier when I had the chance. But my main thought is on survival now - I'm going to find that checkpoint and I'm going to get warm then quickly get out of there and finish this race. It's all downhill from here. I worried that the checkpoint people will take one look at me and pull me from the race for having been so dumb and not kept dry and warm and worn my headtorch. I'm sure I'll be ok though. I know I've got this. I want it so bad!

adam brodie 05Finally I'm at the road! I know the checkpoint is in a hut just across the road from here. It's so dark that I can't see it, but there's a trail to it somewhere and I stumble across it and into the hut where there's a nice warm fireplace, oh thank you so much! ๐Ÿ˜

Ash is inside and Stuart isn't far behind me. I'm almost in tears to have finally made it here and there's a part of me that wants to pull out and not go back out there - stay here by this warm fireplace. But I won't listen to that voice or entertain it for even a second. Ash mentions that he was considering dropping here because conditions out there are so poor and he's not confident of finding the trail back down the mountain. I tell him I know the way and I'm confident, and that we can continue on together. He agrees to join me, and I really hope that I know the way ๐Ÿ˜ณ

I get changed as quickly as I can into all of my mandatory gear, realising even as I do it that I'm making yet another mistake here, but knowing that I have no choice as I'm shivering uncontrollably - I need to wear everything I have to get my body temperature back to normal, but after 10 minutes back on the trail we'll drop below the tree line, and I know I'll be too hot wearing thermal pants, waterproof pants, thermal top, fleece top, rain jacket, beanie, and gloves with handwarmers in them.
I'm also faced with a bit of an annoying choice here - continue in the Peregrines, or switch to the KOMs that I stashed in my dropbag?

The Peregrines are a great shoe for me in dry weather, but they're so bad once they get wet, and the insole always comes loose or comes out. I also know it'll be too slippery to wear them going down the mountain in the mud. The KOMs on the other hand are great for these conditions, but I haven't trained in them since before I broke my metatarsal. They are a bit too much of a stability shoe for me these days, and I know they'll give me ankle pain (a recurring niggle since the motorbike accident 2 years ago).  But I know the KOMs are the better choice, and so on they go. My quads cramping massively as I try to reach my shoelaces.

After enjoying a hot crossed bun offered by Ash, and stashing some small mars bars from our legendary aid station vollie, plus another small bottle of Coke, we finally head back out into the cold, wet, windy night. Not before getting another progress update on Matt and Jin from our awesome vollie - I'm so glad to hear that they were both looking strong and enthusiastic when they came through, and it sounds like they both missed the worst of this weather. I really should take a lesson from them both and try running a bit faster - it sounds like it would make the race so much easier if I could avoid this weather too ๐Ÿ˜…

I realise now that I'm so far behind my schedule. If I were going to finish the race in under 15 hours then I would have needed to leave this checkpoint at least 2 hours earlier. My mistakes cost me my goal time, which was obviously to finish the race within the original cutoff time - but as unrealistic as that goal was, I wouldn't let those same mistakes cost me from finishing the race at all. And now that the weather had turned, the time didn't matter any more. It was dangerous out there, and it was about getting it done and surviving, not worrying about meeting a goal time. I'd ditched my analogue watch at the aid station (no GPS watches allowed and the Velcro strap was irritating me), but I was reasonably confident (and hopeful) that I'd get to the finish line before the final extended cutoff time.

I'm trying to have a bit of a conversation with Ash as we navigate our way through the night, but it's so wet and windy that we're just shouting to be heard. We're better off saving our energy. We find the junction and head the right way down the mountain! I'm so glad that I didn't get us both lost up there, haha.

adam brodie 06I naturally start to pick up the pace a little bit coming down here, as I have done before on this same section. But this is my first time going down here in slippery wet weather, and I realised pretty quickly that it'll be more of a fast hike down the mountain than a run on this slippery mud with a few rocks and tree roots sticking out of it. I'm getting ahead of Ash now and he gives me the all clear, assuring me that he's confident of knowing the way from here, so I shuffle along where I can heading down the mountain, but still much slower than I'd like. And just as I expected, within 10 minutes I'm hot. I pull off my beanie, but then put it back on again, deciding that a wet beanie will help cool me down more than wearing the rain jacket hood (and I need something between my head and my headtorch). I pull the handwarmers out of my gloves and stash them in my pack, but keep my gloves on for safety and confidence coming down the wet slippery mountain incase I trip and fall.
The KOMs were the right choice, but they are soaked, and I'm still slipping around a bit, plus they are already hurting my ankle.

I finally make it to the bottom of the mountain, knowing that I just have a few more km on flattish terrain. I'm disappointed, because I should be able to run this section pretty strong, but it's still really slippery, and I'm still overheating with all this gear on, and my ankle is hurting in these shoes. So I walk it out as fast as I can, and before I know it Ash has passed me. As he does I ask the time, just a little bit concerned about whether or not I'll get to the finish line before the 18 hour cutoff. I've still got an hour to go until then, but I have no idea how far away that finish line is. 2km? 5km? How fast am I moving? I try to shuffle as much as I can now, pushing through all the discomfort - it's only discomfort, and I know it won't last much longer now.

I've been wondering for a while now whether I'll see anyone else at the finish line. The RD told us to write down our finish time because the finish line will be unmanned after 6:30pm. Maybe Ash will still be there? A part of me wishes that all my friends will be there waiting for me, but they've all done their own huge races today - they should be back at our accommodation sleeping already by now.

I don't know this last part of the course to the finish line. For some reason we didn't include it in our recce. But once I come off the trail and out onto the road, I take a gamble that surely it's this road to the left (usually I've gone the other way here). If I'm wrong, that could be the difference between finishing before or after the cutoff time. Luckily I'm right, there's a junction up ahead, and the finish line is just beyond. I'm finally there!
And, so are all my friends! ๐Ÿ˜ƒ

Hells Cauldron 2021I can't even begin to describe how happy I am to see Sara, Jin, Matt, Abhi, and Ash all waiting there for me and cheering me across the line! It's the middle of a cold wet night but somehow it still feels like the right atmosphere to finish a race. I can't believe they're there, they must have been waiting in the cold for hours. Thank you so much guys ๐Ÿฅฐ

They've got pizza and tea for me, and I collapse into a chair feeling overwhelmed and exhausted. I'm a little bit emotional, and honestly, I'm also a little bit disappointed - I'm so grateful to have finished, even if it's in last place (the team informs me that out of 15 starters I am the 9th and last to finish). One of my first reactions at the finish line is to feel bad about having not done it in my goal time of 15 hours.

This is that Schrodinger's Cat analogy that I mentioned earlier. Of course I'm happy with my result, and I'm so happy just to have finished the race - even if I didn't, it's such a tough course that anyone who was brave enough to toe the start line deserves amazing kudos and recognition for the achievement. But paradoxically, knowing that the cutoff time had been extended made the finish line feel bittersweet - if it hadn't been then this would have been a DNF, and I had been training all that time for a 15 hour finish.

I spent some time considering it for the next few days. I have signed up for 2 Milers this year, and for both of them I was very seriously considering dropping down to a shorter distance, based on this result. But, at the end of the day races can't be compared against each other - I've succeeded at both of those races previously, and with some luck hopefully I will again. I know that I'm strong enough to do them, and that the challenge with this one was the time, not the distance. It was my first 85km event (Hounslow and Buffalo being the closest 2 that I can compare it to, at roughly 75km each). And true to my usual form, I picked a challenging one - because you have to challenge yourself. That's what this sport is all about.

I found out that only 4 people finished within that original 15 hour cutoff time (and an absolutely massive congratulations to Matt and Jin for both being within those first 4 places - I'm so proud of them both). It's a testament to how tough that race was - and for the inaugural running of the event, it makes sense that the cutoff times might need to be adjusted and reconsidered, now that there's some data available to show real world finishers times. I'm not going to beat myself up about not achieving my goal time... but maybe I'll be back to punish myself here again.

I learned so many lessons out there. But most of them were lessons that I've learned before. In the absence of races for such a long time, it turns out that I've forgotten a few of the lessons that I should have remembered. The stomach/fuelling problems are something that I'm continuing to educate myself on - this time was nowhere near as bad as other races have been, and I'm hoping that I'll turn a corner here soon.

The mental game is always a tough one, and it's a good part of the reason why I usually have a pacer and support crew for the big races - but I've been considering doing one unsupported for a while now, and that'll give me a good opportunity to get mentally stronger.
The biggest mistake was not getting changed into the right gear at the right time, and I feel like that's the one I'll learn the most from in the immediate term.

adam brodie 08After a couple of days of processing it, I can finally say that I feel great about this race. It was such an amazing experience, in a really beautiful part of the world, and the level of challenge was exactly what I wanted it to be. Training for it has been a rollercoaster of a journey, but it has gotten me to a really good place, where I feel healthier than I have in years, and more dedicated to my sport than ever before.

Huge thank you to Running Wild Victoria for putting on such a great event - to Paul for dreaming up these crazy courses for us, and to all the volunteers that helped to make it such a success! And while I'm at it, I'm also so thankful especially to Jin for being such a good training partner, and to all my other running friends who have trained with me and helped me to get strong enough to take on this challenge, and thank you to everyone for the support in the lead up the race as well as during it. Biggest thanks of all (once again) of course has to go to my physio, Pete from Bioathletic, who has helped me overcome injury and prepare for the start line so many times now, and surely must be sick of reading my long emails about niggles by now ๐Ÿ˜…

I'm only as good as my team, and I'm really grateful to have you all on my side. Thank you ๐Ÿ™