Lizzie Brough and I are doing the Hadrian’s Wall ultramarathon on 21/22 June. This is a 69 mile course we endeavour to complete in two days.

We’ve been training for this since January. Let me take you through some of the highlights so far.

The idea was borne in July last year, when we did the Thunder Run, a 24 hour relay race. Lizzie did a marathon, then drove us back up from Derbyshire to Edinburgh. All we could talk about was running. It turned out we’d both contemplated doing an ultra marathon… and I had one particular event in mind… and she was interested…

So we signed up. That was exciting. We didn’t even know each other that well at this point. Would we train together? Would we have a similar pace? Could we still like each other after being trapped together for 10, 20, 30 miles?

We didn’t train together at first – our schedules just didn’t match up. So we jumped in at the deep end, tackling marathon courses without knowing very much about each other. Well, it worked. We pushed each other, dragged each other, motivated each other – but most importantly, we entertained each other. Lizzie laughing hilariously at a signpost which said ‘footpath’ (erm…), getting very excited because of a colourful hedgerow, choking on an energy gel when a deer ran out in front of us, insisting on lying down with her head in a stream mid-run… the memories are numerous and very fond.

We did a real event as a practice run – the Windermere marathon, on 18 May. It was hot, and humid, and hard. Finally some silverware for training efforts!

We have both come into this completely naively – doing an ultra is nothing like doing a marathon. There is so much more to learn about nutrition, kit, mentality, and yourself. But the further you go, the more you see, and the harder you push your boundaries, the stronger you become. It is more mental than physical.

This has been a truly amazing journey, and it isn’t over yet. Yesterday, on my birthday, we did our final big training run before starting to taper, clocking up 30 miles along the Fife coastal path. It was our first proper ultra; there were huge emotional and physical ups and downs, pain, exhilaration, exhaustion, delight. Lizzie shared with me a place close to her heart, and it was an extraordinary birthday present.

We have put so much into this, personally, emotionally and financially. If you wish to show your support by sponsoring our efforts, please visit our JustGiving page today:

http://www.justgiving.com/Lizzie-Elly

Our chosen charity is the Brathay Trust, who raise money for young people who have gone a bit off the rails, getting them back on track by interacting in the community (http://www.brathay.org.uk/). Their profile on the Charity Commission is outstanding – 93% of their income is directly spent on charity activities, 5.5% spent on generating income (i.e. advertising), and less than one percent on governance and management. For comparison, Oxfam spend 75.4%, RSPB spend 71.8%, British heart foundation spend 43.2%, and Help for Heroes spend 49.4% on charity activities.

If you’re still in doubt about whether we’ve earned it, have a look at the training tracker on our blogging site to see how hard we’ve worked for this!:

https://sites.google.com/a/boroughmuirsports.co.uk/the-wall-the-journey-the-run/home

Much love and soreness

Elly xx