So it’s been over a week since the Ultra-marathon and I have had ample time to reflect on the hard slog that it was. The long hours of training, the hard graft of the race. The local newspaper called it a battle against oneself and I am in full agreement with that idea. After the initial excitement and enthusiasm waned it became a battle to keep putting one foot in front of the other and keep a steady rhythm going.
The race itself was excellently organised and even though I was one of the only non-Finns taking part I was greeted warmly and looked after as if I was a member of the tribe.
There are two observations that I need to make about the race. Firstly, I can’t say enough about the importance of having support when undertaking an endurance race. There were plenty of supporters on hand for the competitors and the organizers were dotted throughout the course checking on everyone’s well being and keeping us motivated.
Though I had a small contingent track-side for my endeavor I was also buoyed by the knowledge that I had spiritual support coming from across the globe from family and friends. During the harder sections of the race, as the sun had set, the rain was falling, the wind had turned icy cold, I reminded myself of all those who were kind and generous and gave to my race-fund and it was enough to spur me on. So to all of you, especially my wife, THANK YOU. I couldn’t have done this without you.
Secondly, I noticed that, but for one other participant, I was the youngest runner in either the 60km or 100km races.
Throughout my preparation I had heard from countless folk that they couldn’t run 5km let alone 60km and usually this was because they felt that they were too old. Well to this I say the winner of the 60km was Urpo Naumanen and he was born in 1948 – and I can attest to his fitness as he lapped me three times. So even if an ultra-marathon isn’t a goal you might set for yourself you may still want to ask, What is my excuse? Everyone can run, so why aren’t I?
For me, I am now looking about for my next challenge which will almost certainly be either a marathon or another 60km before the year’s end. No matter what I decide I will be running almost everyday because once you start it’s almost impossible to stop.
More information and official results can be found by clicking here.