These are my memories of what my mind & body went through in the last full week of June 2021. I will try my best to acknowledge & thank all those who were part of my journey & apologise to anyone I fail to mention (there were quite a few of you to remember).
The lead in to the runs became increasingly stressful the closer they came. I had devised a plan that I’d hoped would avoid the worst of my horrors both during & in the months after my 2020 charity run, underprepared for 100 miles in a day, those falls & subsequent months of injuries & pain. Of course there had been some incredible highs from it too but 2021 needed to be ‘easier’ on a now 55 year old! The plan was to still do something worthy of donations for ROFN, to create a journey that people could both follow & take part in, a journey that hopefully would create momentum as the week progressed, lets face it I was doing it to raise money for the Napalese people not for fun. So before I prattle on any further I must thank all those who have donated to date, the running total to date sits at £3,209 which I believe is the highest total for my ‘running’ part of all our ROFN Days, a massive thanks to you all.
My plan was simply: Sunday 20th & Saturday 26th to go Up & Down Siabod 5 times each day (28.5 miles) with the 5 days in between consisting of a 22 Mile run to Bethesda & back followed by once Up & Down Siabod daily (28 Miles). This would give a better chance of support runners at the weekend as well as more customers seeing me come back & forth more weary each time & hopefully lead to some pocket digging whilst avoiding a repetitive drudgery throughout the entire week (he thought).
In the lead-in month I’d run half a dozen ‘long’ runs (13 to 22 miles) including a wonderful 20 mile traverse circuit of Cadair Idris. I’d also helped support Emlyn Owen on a leg of his excellent Paddy. This preparation seemed more fitting to my goal but only time would tell. My main concern was how would my quads feel on the morning of Day 2 after 5 descents of a mountain, would it be over before it had barely begun?
Dorina & I agreed not to sleep over at the Café the night before deciding on a cat friendly strategy of one night at home, next night at the Café & so on.
Arriving at the Café a little before 6:00 am allowed for a hearty breakfast of 3 Poached Eggs, 2 Slices of Toast & a large portion of Baked Beans, this would be my staple for the week ahead. Over the next 2 hours we would be joined as ever by John & Marion (camera & facebook story support crew) as well as my first support running crew, Paul Jones, Peter Durkin, Gethin Armstrong & Huw Price. I cannot remember specific weather conditions through much of the week but it was basically kind (except Friday), dry, mostly clear & cool but not cold (except for Friday, more of that later). Another part of the plan was to leave the Café for Siabod at 2 hourly intervals giving both support runners a clear start time as well as an extended ‘recovery’ for me.
At 8:00 am to cheers of good luck from Dorina, Marion & John we were off, game on, no turning back & all that, my fears of what was looking like a very long week needed to be put at the back of any brain I have.
Paul Jones accompanied me again for my second Up & Down before handing on the Batten to Alwyn Oliver, Martin Cliffe & Katie Wilby (of the ever supportive Roberts family) for the third. My fourth was supported by Jo Cliffe who’s pre-run fear of not keeping up proved to be totally without foundation as I noticeably slowed as fatigue began to set in. Back at the Café with Alwyn kicking himself (absolutely no need to) for not staying high on the mountain to support me it became clear that I had no supporters on the days final leg, not great but what will be will be so I went & had a chat with the Roberts family who made some transparently false comments about how well I was looking & all that. I then disappeared to my inner sanctum aka ‘the staff toilet’ & multi-tasked using my bowels & brain in equal measure to make things a little better. As ever it was Dorina who then played a blinder by uttering as I emerged ‘Richard Roberts is going up with you!’ Richard had only just received his Panini when he decided to scoff it down, leave the salad & crisps on his plate & run off to his van to change into his running kit at a speed that can only be likened to Clark Kent’s telephone booth Superman changes of my youth, what a star (Richard that is). We had a pleasant late afternoon Up & Down which saw me still running the initial forest track hill for the 5th & last time of the week. 5 Siabods Down, 10 to go plus a few extras, no falls, it was a start at least.
Twiggy & Peter & many offers had also helped with their cheers of encouragement, for the runners among you screeming but what about the stats! here goes:-
1:30:38: 1:30:47: 1:29:11: 1:35:04 (sorry Jo): 1:35:45 (sorry Richard but at least I had warned you).
I had pre-cooked a large saucepan of Bolognese the Friday before as my planned recovery food so next up I asked Gaby to heat up a portion & boil some spaghetti, Of course this led to a mountainous pile (120 grams of spaghetti hidden easily by the Bolognese) my eyes defeated me before the first forced mouthful, Dorina ate well that night whilst I slept on the wine.
I’m going to pause there to give you & my one fingered typing a bit of relief, hope you can stay with me for another couple of blogs to come.