On 28th April five Cheddar runners took to the Mendip Hills to run the Butcome Ultra Marathon.  50 miles over the Mendip Hills several times, taking in 6,000 feet of climbing.

The day started with a nice downpour (ok so it was a mild drizzle but that doesn’t sound as hard core!).  Stu McNamara, Julian Davis, Greg & Helen Brock and the kids saw us off, a great way to start the day.  After battling the elements in the first 5 miles (there was a mild breeze), the rain stopped just as we were about to start our second climb of the day up to through Kings Wood.

The race took us down to Bleadon, where Andy Wicks was there cheering (sorry about the sweaty hug!) and then up to Rowberrow where a welcome rest stop was waiting, along with a big bottle of Coke.  I’d planned to save the Coke for an emergency in the latter part of the race, however, the best laid plans can go awry, along with my pace.  By the time I got to Rowberrow the only thing I could think about was the delicious sugary sweetness of the black rocket fuel.  My Andy was there to greet me, with a mad bouncing mutt (aka Sprocket).  A couple of swigs later and donning my jacket and gloves (I was pretty chilly at this stage), it was up through Dolebury Warren and Beacon Batch.  All those training runs along the Big Cheese route were put to good use as it was really good to know that part of the route.  A jaunt down to Compton Martin, seeing Andy, Jenny & Stu along the way (along with another swig of coke) was a real boost.

At Compton Martin, some salted crisps and you guessed it (Coke) saw me through to Hinton Blewett.  Again Andy, Jenny & Stu, accompanied by Jo Burke were there cheering.  Another fuelling of salted crisps and Coke and picking up my support bunny (aka Super Springy Sticks Andy Rich) we set off for the 10 miles to Priddy.  We chatted and laughed our way to Priddy, seeing the super Jenny & Stu crew again along the way, stocking up this time on gels (Andy already had two small bottles of coke is his running bag!).  Soon enough we arrived at Priddy, which was a very priddy sight (too good an opportunity to miss!!).  Yup more crisps and Coke (I should mention that I don’t normally drink Coke as I’m susceptible to caffeine so by now I was pretty caffeine fuelled, I was working on the basis that once I’d popped I shouldn’t stop.  It probably also explains why I chewed Andy’s ear off for the last 14 miles of the race).  A short hop, skip and jump along the top of the hills and we dropped down to Draycott, shooing some cows along the way and creeping past a bull in the final field (we were ninja like, I’m sure he couldn’t hear us at all!).  A sprint to the finish line (it was downhill and I was sprinting at 9:30’s for thirty seconds, let’s keep it in perspective) and I was greeted by my cheering squad…..Suzanne (my running buddy over the past 8 months where we’ve had many an adventure, put the world to rights and finally got to complete our ultra), Jez (who can run 50 miles straight off, no problem), Jenny, Stu and Julian.

Overall a fantastic day out, there were hard bits (mile 22 to 28, I thought I’d massively overcooked it) and these were replaced by fantastic bits where the world was a fab place.  The thing that made the day was the support we had along the way; Andy, Jenny, Stu, Julian, Greg, Helen, Jo, Andy W, it definitely made my day.  Also, there was runner envy from others out on the course, not that I’m competitive but we definitely had the best support crew!!

Five of us from CRC took part and everyone undoubtedly has their own story to share.  A massive well done to Suzanne Davis, Jez Newsome, Stephen and Joanna Turner, who all had cracking races.  The race was very well organised, checkpoints were very well stocked and the marshals were smashing.  Overall a fab day out!

Butcombe Ultra in the can

Categories: Race Report

Joanna Rich

Race reporter and full time muppet fan

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