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Photo credit: Anne-Marie Lord.

The White Rose Ultra 100 - Fireworks, vampire sheep and black ice

19-Dec-16

Last updated: 20-Aug-18

By Anne-Marie Lord 

Congratulations to Anne-Marie Lord who shares the ups and downs of her first 100 miler on the White Rose Ultra (WRU) on 5th and 6th November 2016. Anne-Marie enjoyed a bird’s eye view of the fireworks on Guy Fawkes night, whilst slogging over the Yorkshire moors and bogs on this tough and challenging event and finds a surprise at the finish line.

I got the place for the White Rose Ultra 60 mile transferred to me by fellow runner and trucker Paul Speed. I soon upgraded to the 100 to achieve my goal of running 100 miles before I’m 50 on 3rd December this year.

I recee'd the route with my pal Allan Parkin and Sue Clapham two weeks before and realised that it was 60% road and hills so needed to rest and be strong. Allan found an old smurf that had fallen off a car and gave it to me as a good luck charm. He had the top of his hat ripped off and was dirty and old but he was a gift and I duly carried him that day. 

I was less nervous at the start of the WRU than I was at the Hardmoors 110 which I DNF’d earlier this year. It was very cold and forecast to get colder and the “Sage of the Weather” Andy Connell had predicted snow! I mocked him on Facebook but of course, he was right!! 

Off we went and I felt comfortable on the first lap. Spent some time with Anna Gilmore who went on to be First Lady and it was great chatting with her about her return to running from triathlons.

The 30-mile route was very hilly with steep roads leading up to steep rocky paths. There were a few boggy passes including the ' Bog of Doom'. If there is a bog on route then I will find it and I did! There was lots of stepping into mud above my ankles, and a tumble on a rocky path. My knee bears the bruise of that one! There were some steep downhill sections that you knew would sap energy from your quads on later laps. But all in all, the route was tough and challenging in both terrain (road and trail) and elevation.

Then the familiar trail for me, King of the Hill route up Wessenden Moor. This is another race that Team OA put on the first Wednesday of every month and it is a great just over 5k challenge to the top of Wessenden Moor. I have run it a few times and love the challenge of trying to beat my time from the previous month. I knew the route well and could pace myself, knowing what was coming at the top. Then last five miles mainly downhill and past the reservoir to the end. 

Quick change and out again on the second lap. It’s dark now and noticeably colder with a bitter biting wind in the tops. A friend, Colin Green, ran with me for a while for some company then I was off on my own as I was for the majority of the race. Met up with other runners at some points and had a chat but the majority of the race I was running in quiet contemplation from checkpoint to checkpoint ticking off the miles.

The fireworks that night were incredible and it felt like the whole area were celebrating everyone's attempt to beat the distance. Running up the hill before Wessenden, I looked into a field of sheep and their eyes glinted back in the light of my head torch and they looked like evil vampire sheep. Yikes! I talked to them on the way past but I didn't even get a cursory baa or bleat just silent staring. I had gone wrong on the first lap but quickly righted it, but in the second lap followed the route to the letter and ended up in a massive bog climbing up a dark hill. I realised halfway up that this was really dodgy but battled through almost on my hands and knees. Scary stuff totally on my own in the dark!

Apparently Wane Law (Team OA) had checked it before the race and thought it was too risky to use and advised going straight on. Well it was a challenge and I got through but bypassed it on the third lap! 

Then after the last checkpoint on the second lap, I slipped on black ice on the road landing heavily on my bottom of my back. That smarted and was painful for the rest of the race. But I was determined to get this race done and carried on into the sports centre for the third time and out again. The third lap went well with the sun coming up for a beautiful but cold morning.

My legs were sore and I could feel a build up of tension and twinges in my lower back from my fall but knew I needed to carry on to achieve my goal. I met another runner near checkpoint 1 on the third lap who was clearly struggling. He asked how he could drop out as his ankle had gone. I told him to ring Wane and he said he would need to look for the email to find his number. It was freezing cold and the checkpoint was unmanned so I phoned Wane for him as I didn't want to leave a fellow runner out there any longer than he needed to be. Steve Randall (Team OA) was there just as I left the checkpoint to pick him up. It was literally five minutes, a great response. 

Onwards and upwards and the start of the day was cold but bright but that soon changed to rain, sleet then snow. I had lost time and knew I wasn't going to achieve a time I wanted but just wanted to crack on and finish. I had good kit and was warm and dry and my Ron Hill Bobble hat with the glow in the dark bobble drew some comments from the odd person I saw! 

Finished the third lap and after a pep talk from Paul Craddock at the last checkpoint changed my trainers and I was back out. I aimed to finish before it was dark again! The last 10 miles were brutal and the hills were killers but I kept going, running when I could be walking the hills! And there were quite a few! The last few stiles were a challenge but soon I was back on the top road looking down at the finish at the school not quite believing that I had done it, I had run 100 miles!  

I was with Julie Luckman and Nikki Green running alongside me. I came down the hill and ran in over the finish line with my husband Ian waiting for me, which is always a great sight for me! It was my son's first appearance at a race finish too to celebrate my achievement which was a fabulous surprise! Allan Parkin was filming me, and Phil and Maria Craven, Angela and Mark Oliver were waiting to congratulate me.

I was overwhelmed but also feeling a little dizzy and sore. What an event and even when out there in the dark on my own, I was secure in the knowledge that Wane Law and Steve Randall had an eye on us all through the trackers so didn't feel quite as alone. Tough first 100 but loved it and a great event. Well worth a go be it on the 30, 60 or 100. Even though I did not get the time I wanted, I still came in as second woman! 

To add to a great weekend, my fifth grandchild was born on the 6th November! Quite a story to tell him about his grandma's exploits on the day of his birth. 

 

All images Anne-Marie Lord.

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