My body screamed at me to stop, but I kept looking at my watch checking my splits, after 202 miles through the most technical and treacherous terrain the 7 miles to the finish line of the 209 mile Bigfoot 200 mile race was on the road, but I was scared. I was scared to try, scared I might give it my all and still fall short, scared to hurt more than I was hurting but I kept looking at my watch to check my splits. Dion had worked out that I needed to run 14min/mile for the 7 miles to finish sub-90hours. He was there beside me, coaxing me telling me I could do it and I was screaming at him ‘No, I don’t want it, I can’t do it, it hurts, just let me stop’ but something inside of me kept pushing; I saw 14min, 13, 12; at one point I saw 10! I was doing this, I could do this! It was dark, I was delirious with sleep deprivation and the bushes on the side of the road were lit up by my head torch and they turned into animals and people, they were all cheering me on! I was laughing, giddy with delusion and I waved to them and laughed with them as 7 miles turned into 3, into 1 finally I could see the Randle school ahead. The school running track came into sight, just a lap around the track, I was there; the cheering started & the bells started ringing, keeping going all the way around the track. I felt like I was flying! My legs no longer hurt, the fatigue left my body and finally after 89 hours I let myself BELIEVE; believe I was capable, the tears welled up and with my arms raised in celebration I crossed that finish line like I’d won the race outright, I fell into Dion’s arms where I belonged and let him lead me from there. He’d been guiding me all along, in my mind, but now he was here, I could let go.
Bigfoot 200 is a point to point race in Washington State, starting at Mt Saint Helens in the Cascade Mountain Range and finishing in Randle after transversing 42,000ft/12,802m of ascent through beautiful, tough, rugged and extremely remote single track trails. To put this into perspective this is the equivalent of running from London to York or Edinburgh to Manchester while also climbing Mt Snowdon 12 times! Starting with the volcanic blast zone of Mt Saint Helens (which erupted in 1980), lava fields, long mountaintop ridge lines with stunning forest, mountain and lake views, deep old growth forests as green and as thick as jungle, misty mountain tops and numerous river crossings. This race is the first in the series known as the Triple Crown of 200 milers, which is followed up by Tahoe 200 (10th September – now cancelled due to wildfires & being run as a virtual option) followed by Moab 240 miles on 8th October. What makes this challenge so extreme is that the 3 races take place over a 9 week period meaning that there is extremely limited time between each race to recover of only 2-3 weeks between each. Running 200 miles in itself is an extreme adventure that only the truly courageous dare to take on.
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