On Saturday, 17 June, BRJ Member Guy Forster lined up with 600 other competitors to take on ‘The Wall’, a one-day 69-mile ultra marathon across the North of England. The hilly route roughly follows the route of Hadrian’s Wall from Carlisle to Newcastle-upon-Tyne, along a combination of roads and trails, with checkpoints on route supplying much needed food and water.
After registering the evening before and undergoing a mandatory kit inspection, the race started at Carlisle Castle at 7am. With a hot day forecast, Guy planned to start steadily and made good progress to the second checkpoint at Cawfields 27 miles in. New to ultra distance races until only a few weeks earlier, Guy repeated the same rookie error as he committed in a practice race by running out of water just after the 30-mile point. Eventually he reached a checkpoint at 37 miles where he was able to grab some water and then a pit stop 45 miles in at Hexham where he was able to dip into his drop bag and pick up a spare hydration bladder. The second half of the race was harder going but made easier by the beautiful views and some fantastic support in the towns and villages on the route. Local residents lined the pavements cheering the runners and offering them fresh fruit, sweets and water for the runners as they passed.
Although the primary aim had always been just to finish, Guy had been harbouring hopes that he would complete the race in daylight hours. Just as the sun was setting, the Quayside came into view and he crossed over the finish at the Millennium Bridge, Newcastle, elated, in 14:35:10, taking 50th place. A fantastic achievement, with 475/600 finishing and the last runners coming in at 25:47:10.