Race to the Stones

You may remember that Qual-i-tea-m first did RTTS as a team of 4 in 2017 and I was very surprised when Maria Drummond said yes to doing it again and agreed with “unfinished business…”. I was even more surprised when Karen Jones and Tracy Dolman signed up to do Day 1 – more about that elsewhere.

What was great about it this year?

The views were stunning! One thing about running during a heat wave is that we could usually see for miles and quite a few planes from Fairford air show including the Red Arrows doing a colourful display both days. There was also a firework display on Saturday evening that was beautiful to look down on from Basecamp high on the ridge.  The birds were singing their socks off and the wild flowers were varied and colourful.

We spent more time in Basecamp so had an early free massage, a pint of shandy (thanks Melvyn), a long shower (someone called my towelling DryRobe a dressing gown!) and I sat down to eat twice. First time a pile of pasta and sautéed potatoes and the second time a heap of fruit crumble and a cake that was like a massive Jaffa cake. My pudding round took me about an hour to put away and I kept saying you need carbs for tomorrow, get it down you…. I also managed to charge my Garmin and my phone and the energy block thing.

The crew were really lovely this year – they carried our bags to our tents and just went that extra mile to help. Useful when you can’t take the top off your water bottle or open your crisps.  They were there with water sprays at most pit stops and made sure you used sunscreen.

So what did I do differently this year?

To help keep cool, I soaked my hat and my new ‘cool scarf’ (available at all garden centres near you) at every pit stop. This meant my t-shirt was also soaked and it made a real difference.  I taped my feet both days with Rock Tape having learnt how and where to while in the Alps. I did not eat a single Perkier bar (fibre of the worst type) but ate peanut butter sandwiches, mini cheddars, crisps, fingers of Fudge, water melon, Soreen malt loaf and orange segments. Mini Pretzels will be avoided if there is ever a next time – they crumble to dry dust which you then inhale….. The best thing – Babybels and Malt loaf.  And I think I drank at least 5 litres on each day. Thank goodness for the regular pit stops roughly every 10k.

We also promised to enjoy ourselves! 100 k is a long way – this year it was 63 miles and if you are going to do it, it is important to enjoy it.  The time is sort of irrelevant especially in the heat (28-30C). We enjoyed ourselves by stopping at the Perch and Pike for a pint of shandy (very restorative electrolyte drink) and also taking a detour to have a good look at the Uffington Horse. We also had a good natter, put the world to rights (nearly) and enjoyed the views.

Review by Deb Heighes