Had anyone told me 17 months ago that I would be running 50 miles on Armed Forces Day last weekend I would have questioned their sanity. As I stood on the starting line of my final ‘Run4Recovery’ event at 3 AM on the outskirts of Aldershot, I questioned mine!
Running until dawn with a headtorch was quite satisfying as I traveled down deserted roads towards Guildford with a small back-pack full of necessities. I was due to meet with my support vehicle at the half-marathon point at 6 AM; which allowed time for a slow steady jog to ensure that I didn’t twist an ankle in the dark.
The second leg to Headley Court was again deliberately slow and steady; my admin vehicle going ahead of me every 2-4 miles, allowing us to meet up periodically. The two things that my support vehicle carried that I not expected were a camp chair and a flask of coffee – both an unexpected luxury. Arriving at Headley Court at the 6 hour mark, I knew that the next admin hour was the only real chance that I would have to refuel properly before running a full marathon to the RLC Armed Forces Day event at Deepcut; where I was due at 5 PM.
Roads that had seemed flat on the first run, started to feel hilly as my energy levels began
fluttering from the 30 mile point. They picked up again just before the 35 mile point, where I met with a colleague who had agreed to run with me for a while. At the 40 mile point I was feeling pretty fatigued; in hindsight probably not having taken enough energy on board during the first marathon. Snacks and energy gels that had tasted fine in the morning started to become less appealing as mental and physical tiredness started to kick in. The last 10 miles definitely involved more marching than running as the heat of the afternoon took its toll. The final 5 miles were a real head down slog and I arrived in Deepcut having been on my feet for over 12 hours.
Arriving at the RLC Armed Forces Day event was fantastic, as I ran a lap of the arena carrying an Armed Forces Day flag. Although the end of a long day, the support from the crowd was excellent – especially when it came in the form of a cold pint of beer.
As I write, donations are still coming in and so far I’ve raised £6500 for ABF The Soldiers’
Charity. Not as much as I had hoped to raise, but enough for The Soldiers’ Charity to continue making a difference - especially for those injured soldiers who pass through the doors of the Defence Medical Rehabilitation Centre at Headley Court.
Maybe I’ll just park the outstanding sum as ‘unfinished business’ for another time; however, you can still donate at www.justgiving.com/JohnKerner-Run4Recovery
until the end of July and by doing so you will make a difference.