Sunday, 3 December 2017

Pooping diamonds

African Proverb:  “If you want to run fast, run alone.  If you want to run far, run together.”

I was nervous. I’d wrecklessly agreed to accompany my friend Andrea over the final hours of her 103 mile trail running event. Her last 33 miles would be run in darkness in an area of the country I’d never visited before, much less navigated through.

I was nervous because quite apart from my own physical challenge of running 33 miles, I wanted to make sure that Andrea had all she needed for every single step of her journey. I didn't want her to worry or be anxious for anything. I was there so that she could get the job done.

In Andrea’s own words…
"I had already been on the move for 15hrs when I met Jacky at 9pm on Saturday night. It was the 70 mile point and I felt cold, exhausted and in shock about how physically and emotionally gruelling the event was, but I was nevertheless still determined to make it to the finish line at 103 miles. 

In the week leading up to the race I was anxious at the news that Jacky might have to drop out of the role of pacer on the dreaded night section. No one else would do, it had to be Jacky. I wouldn't let anyone else see my vulnerability at the depths that I knew I would reach that night and no one else could give me the encouragement and companionship that I could safely expect from her. I trusted her completely, I knew I needed her and I knew she was completely reliable. 

Jacky dragged and hauled and coaxed me gently through the night, step by painful step. I ached all over. We worked slowly from one dangling way marker tape hanging down in the pitch black woodland to the next. Her patience was incredible. Her support was vital. She challenged, she entertained, she distracted, she comforted. We shared silence, laughter, secrets, a shooting star, a glorious full moon and a misty low-lying white blanket far beneath us as we traversed a sloping field. 

Dawn broke, I managed to jog a bit more, I wept with emotion when we were a few miles from the end, we dug deep and pushed hard around the track to finish at 07:35 - 25hrs 35 mins after I had started the previous day. I crushed Jacky in a delighted embrace, feeling on top of the world, my smile of relief and achievement was enormous. The medal should be hers, or at least split in two - a team effort. Such massive effort indeed, traumatic almost. Intimate definitely. Unforgettable, indescribable, intense and has bonded us even more tightly together. I am so grateful to my amazing friend for walking and running shoulder to shoulder with me through the most difficult thing I have ever done in my life."

As we turned into the Julie Rose Stadium in Ashford with just 500 metres to go, I choked up, I could hardly breathe for the tears. My work was done. I’d run shoulder to shoulder with Andrea all that way through the night and now I could let her go. She didn’t need me anymore, I knew she would finish her race and I dropped a few paces behind to let her run. She ran across the line, strong, smiling, victorious, and deserving of her medal.

Those 33 physical miles were straightforward - but it’s the heart miles that I’ll remember forever.

And apparently I poop diamonds 
Andrea's 'Thank you' card

Come and run with us, it might just change your life...


  1. Pretty amazing stuff. 103 miles, I can never even imagaine! Well done ladies. Mich x

  2. I know, it’s a strange day when I feel like a whimp for running 33 miles! 😀😀😀