GM Report 31/12/14

Tim Culshaw and Tom Brookes circumnavigate Bristol, New Years Eve 2014

I arrived at the Angel pub in Long Ashton along with TACH runner Lucy Newall; friends Alice Wilson and Tim Culshaw both visiting from Manchester; and Matt Bisto a certified Woodwose. It was a cold and dark 5.45am and there were disappointingly few other runners there. Anxieties heightened as we realised we were all in the wrong place. A dash to the Park and Ride and we found at least 50 other Lycra clad, torch toting, wanna be Woodwoses.

By 6.15am we were under way. Tim, who was visiting from Manchester, explained that he had a theory that a successful Ultra-Marathoner should not be able to hear themselves breath until at least two thirds of the way in. Needless to say this was not taken seriously on the accent to Dundry.

After an encounter with a friendly horse in the dark, involving my shoe in its face (sorry), we popped out on the top of Dundry hill, to a wonderful vista of the Bristol lights. We peeled a Satsuma and tightened our laces before starting the descent to the Chew. As dawn came we realised what a great day it was for our attempt. The mud was stiff and frozen and the frost made for splendid views. I had talked up the Pucklechurch dump rather a lot prior to starting so Tim and Alice were pleasantly surprised by the scenery thus far.

At Keynsham we were met by our fans (my parents) with Stollen cake and tea, which was very welcome. Regretfully our merry band reduced to just Tim and I at this point. The others made a planned retreat back for breakfast and showers.

The pace upped from Keynsham, a prior recce and the light of day, made for an efficient schlep northwards, joined for the first mile or so by my Mother. It wasn’t long before we hit the afore mentioned dump and the first of many Motorway crossings, Tim started feeling a bit weird at this point, perhaps it was the dump.

Across the Golf course we got a few funny looks, before triumphantly finding the snack van at Frampton Cottrell was in place. A sit down with a cuppa and a Bacon Butty got Tim back in gear and gave me indigestion.

At Parkway socks were switched out, more Satsumas peeled, and we collectively took a deep breath before the long stretch on Tarmac. Joined by a pair of runners who were recceing the route from Hambrook we were going just a little too fast and somewhere in the Three Brooks Park I started to feel weird.

Tim and I stopped talking much and there was a silent acknowledgment of mutual suffering through Aztec West.

Once over the Banana Bridge things seemed to start feeling a little more positive.

The map was consulted over bottles of fizzy pop at the Fox in Easter Compton, setting off again; burping occasionally, we were feeling rejuvenated realising that the back of the route was broken.

Passing a two walkers that had started at 10pm the previous night we had a chat and the pushed on, temporarily getting a bit muddled around an Aldi store, where I had taken my eye off the map.

At Blaise we were met by more fans (Tim’s parents, Alice and his three year old niece Erin), after mince pies and more satsumas, Erin set off leading the way before becoming distracted 400metres later and sensibly saving her powder for another day.

Vanessa a Bitton RC member who had started in Keynsham and another runner joined us. We struggled to do much more than nod and smile, but it didn’t matter. The climb from sea Mills to the Downs felt longer than one might have anticipated and I had to walk every minute or two across the Downs, the last bit however as Tim pointed out was free.

A quick snap of us at the Greenman statue, a creaking descent through Ashton Court and we made it back to the pub just before dark. A total time of 10 hours and 10 minutes.

Tim was driven back to Manchester fantasising about fast food and I made hasty retreat to bed in order to attend celebrations at midnight. An enjoyable experience we agreed all round.

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