The Wall Ultra Marathon 2018

Looking for a new challenge I came across The Wall Ultra Marathon, 69 miles from Carlisle to Gateshead, following Hadrian’s Wall. I ran my last marathon in 1993 so it was going to be a big step up in mileage and time on my feet.

I followed a 20 week training programme with my training peaking with 25-30 mile runs; the biggest challenge was slowing the pace down and aiming for mileage not time. I made sure that I kept my regular Monday night SRG runs in my training, even if it meant running to and from the group to get the mileage in. I received fantastic support from the staff of Darlington Up & Running, including training and kit advice.

The race itself was a fantastic event, over a 1000 runners loitering outside Carlisle Castle ready for the off at 07:00hrs on a Saturday morning. The route headed out of Carlisle and into the countryside off into Hadrian’s Wall country. The weather was initially ideal for long distance running, cool and overcast but the day would be a mixed bag with freezing cold downpours in the afternoon to soak everybody ready for nightfall.

I reached Keswick at 44 miles still feeling pretty strong, some hot food, coffee and a change of socks set me up for the last 25 miles. This was now a real tester, the legs became tired and the temperature dropped as nightfall arrived and the head torches came out. It was a long haul to the final checkpoint at 62miles along dark trails and cycle paths. This checkpoint was a welcome site with heat, food and hot drinks. The medical teams were busy with exhausted and cold runners.

The last 7 miles was a long cold slog but eventually the welcome site of the Tyne Bridges came into site. Encouraged along the quayside at 3 in the morning, by kebab laden revellers, we crossed the Millennium Bridge and “ran” the last 200m into the finish, a very welcome site after 20hrs and 32 minutes.

A tough race but I loved it, a great personal test.

Chris Evans – Darlington SRG

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