Last year some of us were watching this race with interest, local runner Mick Clark was taking part. Something like 25 runners started and 11 finished including Mick.
As soon as we could four Doncaster based runners signed up, the chance to run from Southport to Hornsea on the Trans Pennine Trail sounded amazing, particularly as the route passes through Doncaster for about 30 miles.
The route is 200 (or slightly over) miles long and fairly easy to follow and mostly quite runnable. You have to complete the race in 100 hours. The race has several checkpoints in village halls and several more under gazebos. You can choose to sleep and eat at the check points. The support and help available at the check points was brilliant. The maximum spacing between check points was 28 miles so you had to be equipped to be self supporting, able to run in all weather conditions and at night.
The Doncaster runners arrived at Penistone at about the same time (half way) around 25 hours in to the race, and it was nice to reunite at Bentley and Sykehouse.
The support we got through Doncaster was amazing with lots of our friends and Club Mates coming out to keep us going. Just a shame we could not stop at the Boat Inn for a drink.
Our results were very impressive, 4th (3rd man) Martin Hookway 57:20. 6th Mick Clark 63:00. 11th Neil Wood 69:12. 25th Martin James 80:57. It was great to see us all finish as the drop out rate was quite high, approx. 60 started and 43 finished this year.
So on Friday we headed over to Southport, picking Mick Clark up on route, in a van borrowed from the very generous Paul Machin. It was not the best start to a race as I parked to sleep on what must have been the busiest road in the UK for boy racers. With that and the freak driving rain I think I only managed 4hrs sleep before my alarm going off at 5am for a 6am race start. The race plan was to run 10’min/mi for 5 miles, then walk for a mile. The cold strong winds at the start pushed us along so we did go a little fast at the start. Martin James & Neil Wood soon vanished in front of myself and Mick. The race plan was working with myself and Mick working well together, supported by the awesome Susan and Jen Scotney we ticked off the miles paced from CP5-7 by Chris Marritt. At night we chose not to sleep and moved from 13th & 14th to 5th and 6th as we moved though the 1st night. The night played with my mind a little, I was sure I was seeing creepy faces cut into the bushes, but as I got close they vanished and morphed into normal bushes, a manquin in a shop window looked like a ghost to me and at one point I walked past a bush and was just about to tell Mick to stop to help a dog under it when I realised it was just the dead leaves at the bottom of the bush, ultra brain had kicked in. We crossed the Pennines in pitch black, missing the great views, we looked forward to morning as it usually brings a surge of energy during these events, but it seemed to have the opposite effect this time with us.
As morning broke we found ourselves walking more and actually falling asleep while walking, we spent a while constantly walking into each other and waking each other up. The plan was to have a nap at Penistone (half way) as we were 3hr 20 ahead of schedule, but as we caught up with Martin & Neil just before Penistone we both found our 2nd wind, I stopped for a selfie with the lads before heading onto the CP. We left Penistone after a shoe & sock change with more awesome pacers, Martin Bown starting with us, shortly joined by Jimmy Osborne, Lucy, Sharon Maughan and Marie-Louise Taylor. Legs felt fresh considering what we’d been though, feet were great, I’d maintained them at every CP. We dropped our run time to be able to walk more as we were doing so well and my right knee was sore. Spirits were up and down but we helped each other through the lows. We were joined by Peter Poppy, Wayne, Michael Barnett & some of his and a Micks Doncaster Tri friends along with Stuart Bartley for the first time on his bike, Stuart would turn out to be a key person on my support crew without him even realising as he popped up on his bike at perfect points during the race to offer support. Sadly by this time my knee was getting worse, cramp in my quad caused more issues with the tendons in my knee. Michael helped release my quad and we headed back out. I could walk but running cause unbearable pain in my knee, this walk into Bentley really lowered my spirits, I never wanted this to effect Mick so I told him to go on without me to see his family at the next CP.
I’d like to thank everyone who helped out and tried to pick me up, from Vicky Fairclough setting up a makeshift CP to all of the Doncaster Pacers who were at Sprotbrough with bandages, medical supplies and positive attitudes. Thank you to Jim Fletcher for walking me into Bentley and taking my mind off of the knee. Coming into Bentley Mick caught me up, then within seconds I filled up instantly after seeing my Mum and friends from Thorne Twilight Trotters at the other end of the trail. I walked into the CP with Mum followed by what felt like army of support behind me. Just as I’d composed myself I clocked my eyes on my children and Sue and started blubbering all over again. I took myself into the CP to get it out of my system. Thanks to Martyn Kellett and Anna for putting on a great CP, I honestly felt famous at this point. Emotions were high and I never wanted to walk the last 75mi and thought my only option was to DNF, but then I saw Mike Wells & Sarah Wells who had obviously come to run with me and then many DAC members with club physio Eddie Fletcher.
Eddie assessed my knee and treated it, he gave me hope that if I walked though the night took codine and rested my knee, I may be able to run the end of the race. I’m not sure if that’s exactly how he put it but that what I heard. I left the CP with the Wells and I used running poles to pull myself along. I broke out into a run of 2mi but pressure slowly started to build again so I chose to walk. Confidence was back to a high as Sue and Peter caught up with us on the bikes. Lee Chadwick & Cezary Swiatkowski took the support van to Sykehouse CP. Mick soon caught me up as night fell again, we were soon startled as we walked down a dark lane by a car pulling up by our side and someone jumping out, in comes Gibbo. Top lad David Gibbonskept spirits high and my mind off my pain as we walked to Sykehouse, only stopping before the canal section to see Amie Knott and her Trust22 support squad. We stocked up on much needed sweets and headed off. By Sykehouse all 4 Doncaster lads were united again. Martin, Neil and Mick had a sleep and after a much needed massage from Peter Andrews I headed back out, choosing not to sleep again. Peter Poppy joined me on foot and proved to be a valuable pacer on this section as he was an avid walker and member of LDWA. He got me through the night and we actually closed down 4th place a Japanese ultra runner called Hiro. I taped up my little toe and got 10min sleep in a chair by the roadside as Peter taped his own feet.
As the sun rose once again I made my mind up that I wanted to finish today. So I set off running again, to my delight I could run, it hurt but it was bearable. Mick was closing me down fast, I expected him to catch me but he too was finding it hard now. My pace increased as I ran with the sticks and hit Broomfleet as Hiro was Sat in there, he had his shoes off and he was eating. Becky HB had joined Sue by this point, I knew this was my chance. I had a quick stop and shot back onto the trail, 4th overall and 3rd male. I ran out but after a couple of miles the pain in my knee came back with vengeance. I’d forgot take my next painkillers. Luckily Peter knew a point where the crew could intercept me. I managed to run the rest of the trail into Hull, only walking on uneven grass bank and some dodgy footings near the bridge. I had made a 6mi lead on Hiro but by Hessle he has started to close me down. The food stop had done him good. I started to think that maybe I sould have stopped with him to eat, I had doubts that I could keep my pace up, but as I entered Hessle Sue asked me how much I wanted 3rd? I said I needed it. I’d made my mind up. I was now racing hard. Jonathon at the CP gave me suncream and I took an ice pop from Beckys cool box of awesomeness and headed into Hull.
This section was tough but Stewart re appeared on his bike and chatted to me to help the miles tick over. Hitting the dock he turned around and I moved inland on my own. I was told it was 17mi from Hessle to the finish but once back onto the trail I asked a few locals who all have me different distances from 25mi to 20mi. My head went and Hiro got within a mile of me. I was giving it everything, I knew I was moving too fast. I knew I could not keep the pace up, I just wanted to put enough distance between us both in the hope his head would go. At halfway Sue met me on the bike, I was in a bad place but pushing so hard, I was overheating and drinking loads, I just couldn’t quench my thirst. I used ice packs everywhere I could fit them and Becky popped up along the trail to pour cold water onto my head from her cool box of awesomeness. Sue was amazing, she’s been a rock for the whole race but now she was going above and beyond, she was riding behind me playing music, videoing me and reading messages of encouragement, talk about multi tasking.
My highs and lows changed more frequently, part of my head wanted to give in and walk, it was a lovely day, if get 4th male if he caught me, that’s still good I though, think of your knee. The messages of support kept coming, Sue kept reading them our. I knew people were watching the tracker, my Mum, my children, the children at work, I knew I had to keep pushing up the hill. I watched the miles tick down and did the maths. If I keep this pace, there should be no way he can catch me, I had 7mi left. With this a couple on bikes came up the trail. “are you Martin? Wayne said there is a Japanese lad catching you. You need to speed up.” With this I picked my pace up again. I was in a world of pain but I wanted 3rd so much. Sue left me as we hit Hornsea and I ran into the finish straight to meet her, I put my arm around her told her I love her and crossed the line together. 57 hours 53 mins in 4th overall, 3rd Placed Male. I was greeted by race director Wayne with my 2 tone gold and silver buckle, I had wanted 60hrs and a top 20 finish to give me a gold buckle, to get 3rd and a multi toned one I was over the moon. After the obligatory photo shoot (which looking at my eyes in the pics now, I’m sure I was asleep stood up) I turned to see race winner Neil Rutherfordwho congratulated me and passed me a much needed alcohol beverage. I was asked if I would follow the series next year into Scotland and I agreed instantly. I had previously been asked and I’d told Sue to shut up lol. “talk to me when I’ve finished”, I think were the words out of my mouth. I also have to admit that I had one diva moment during the last 5mi, when I basically told Sue to shut up, she was trying to ask me questions but I just couldn’t answer, then she started singing to the music she was playing. All I wanted was to know where Hiro was. All in all this was an incredible experience and adventure, my hat goes off to everyone who started the race, and to everyone who finished it. I believe the DNF rate was high, it certainly was a big challenge. Thank you again to Sue, Jen, Becky and Peter for van crewing and pacing duties, Eddie, Peter and Marcus Scotney for medical support and advice, Jimmy, Gibbo, Mazza, Sharon, Martin, Peter, Chris Mike & Sarah for the pacing duties, Doncaster AC and Pacer members, Amie and her Trust22 crew, my mum, Justine Rickard and the Trotters and last but not least Wayne Drinkwater, Haydn Dapper, Jonathan Kettle and everyone at the CPs across the country. I would not have been able to finish this race without you all.
Its just a shame I can’t take you all to Scotland next year. 🇬🇧
Well guys, somehow I managed it again. I am absolutely overjoyed by the fact I am now a Ultra Great Britain coast to coast 200miler 2 time finisher, and whats even more hard to grasp is that I finished in 62hr 52min taking a huge 18hr of my time from last yr. As always I wouldn’t have finished this event like many others without some amazing people. 1st, my better and more sane 1/2 Yvonne, who as always does everything for me from start to finish. She knows exactly what I need and what to do/say at any point of any challenge I do so thank you sweetheart I love you loads. 2nd are the crazies we all know as “Team Bob” Martin and Susan Hookway. Martin, thanks so much for helping me get to the end. We had our ups n downs but we both finished and Susan for all the help and support from start to finished, medical care, food, warmth and chairs, thanks guys so much. Well done also to Martin James & Neil Wood for crossing the line too! Jen for all your help and been so bossy to keep us motivated thank you too. All the guys who turned up on route to give support Lucy, Ruth and her fella Jonathan, Stuart, Michael, Ian, Paul, Mandy, John, Ben Ailsa and Steve, Ianand Nikki, Reanna and Liz Shields, Leighton and Preston and Rich and Lisa and Vicky and all the endless tx and messages of support you all sent through Yvonne, which all had a positive impact on my race so I thank you all dearly. Thanks to all those that sponsored me very much appreciated. Wayne, Jonathan and Dapper Haydn, cant speak highly enough about you guys and your team of supporters, your races are above and beyond many others out there. The welcome, support, care and camaraderie you give to each of your participants makes us feel part of an amazing family so I thank you all very much. Now its time to rest, eat n drink crap while thinking of whats next…..
Wow Wow Wow.
I hurt so bad this morning and I could eat 3 scabby ‘osses🐴🐴🐴
Where do I start…..
What an amazing feeling to have C2C’d on foot!! 69 hours. 9th position earning me one of the coveted gold finishers buckles.
An amazingly well Organised event with support staff and volunteers that wait on you hand and foot – so very kind and whom without, this event could not happen 👏👏👏👏 Wayne you have a great crew👍👍
Many many thanks for all the support through out the last 3 days for people I know and some I don’t know that well! I feel like I’ve joined a new club where every one knows the pain and what’s required to get through it!!!
Team DAC support crews rock!!
Great surprisees At silly O’clock (despite being at work early today) from Stephen and Alan with supplies of energy fuels and coffees!! And from Peter on the lead in to CP 14 and the welcoming cheers from Shell and Chris Really touched by it all.
And Jason‘s Jaffa cakes undoubtedly pushed me to sykehouse. (Even if I was a day early! Lol) 👍👍
Every one that sent a message and made contact either with me or Laurahelped me got across that line this morning and I will never forget that ❤️
And those that ran some Supportive miles en route Janet, Luke, George Jimmy and non runners that just came to cheer us on👍👍👏👏
And Marie-Louise drug supplies helped!! Lol
And Peter for the impromptu ankle rub👍 Mum Lynda and dad Norman have been glued to the tracking app checking the progress constantly – I just want to make you both proud and achieve great things. Love you both heaps. ❤️❤️
And to Laura – million % commitment and support through out the event, you’ve been awesome through it all – you my dear are perfect and I love you. 😍
Thank you Martin James my running buddy for some 150 miles – keep strong pal you a matter yards from the finish now👍 legend!
And thank you weather for being good too!!
Dont want to harp on about it.. it’s done now…👍👍
Thank you-we’re all awesome👏👏👏
Stand by for profile Pic change!!
(Does anyone know anyone that can get cheap stair lifts?!)
Thanks everyone for the support over the last few days (other runners and there support crews particularly Susan Hookway and Yvonne ‘ybird’ Clark and others), friends, family, people who supported on route and on Social Media (not caught up on Facebook yet) and the check point people. 4 Doncaster runners took part and we all had dark times and worries and doubts, given the dropout rate last year of over 50% one or 2 of us could have DNF but we all made it, so well done Martin Hookway, Mick Clark and Neil Wood. We all arrived at Penistone within 10 minutes of each other (something like 102 miles in to the race in about 25 hours). The following day we met up at Bentley and then Sykehouse. We had a lot of friends supporting us through Barnsley and Doncaster. For me the running was over and between Sykehouse and the next checkpoint I started to walk, this became a slow walk. Up till this point I had run with Neil Wood, at about mile 165 it took me 45 minutes to walk 1 mile. I told Neil to set off from the next checkpoint and not wait for me, he was reluctant to but I needed to sleep for a couple of hours. I then set off at about 7pm to complete the remaining 33 miles, which took a very long time (20 hours I think, every step hurt). Thanks again to Rose James Was Thompsonand my kids (Caroline had her birthday during the race and I only spent 10 minutes with her).