Chris and Pete

 Yesterday, Pete de Boer and I completed the Green Man Challenge in 9hrs 33mins. My Garmin registered 44.75 miles at the finish.

Our main fuel was dietician Sue Baic’s homemade isotonic jungle juice, of which I personally consumed 4 litres from my Camelback. (Pete had a waist bottle.)

At the end of each stage of 5-6 miles Libby Bloor supported us with supplies of jungle juice, coffee, tea, malt loaf, bananas, jelly babies, sandwiches and changes of clothes and shoes. We both changed our socks regularly and I changed my clothes to take account of different temperatures during the day. I also changed my shoes to vary the wear on my ankle, which had caused anxiety during training.

We started in a rosy dawn and finished in a glorious sunset in the car park of the Dovecote in Long Ashton. The amazing weather came as something of a surprise, because most of our training had taken place in a sodden gloom. It was cold when we started, but the temperature rose as we climbed out of a frost pocket towards Dundry. The descent towards Pensford yielded brilliant views over misty valleys. The Chew Valley was still soggy underfoot until we came amongst the Sunday strollers at Keynsham. Libby was waiting at the Lockkeeper, where I changed out of my tracksters and windproof gilet into shorts and road shoes for the run along the Bristol and Bath Cycle Track, which was packed with cyclists. We transferred onto the Dramway Path to Warmley, where we came across a child on a pony. The climb up through Warmley Forest Park was soggy again, but it was drier underfoot by the time we had got up to Shortwood Hill. My Garmin registered 20 miles as we pulled away with another set of shoes. We passed the halfway mark close to the Half Way House café on Kendleshire golf course and joined the Frome Walkway close to Winterbourne Viaduct. The stop at the White Horse at Hambrook came at a marathon 26 point something miles after which we were into a zone we hadn’t entered before. The next section through Stoke Gifford and Bradley Stoke to the Patchway Community School is  one of the more urban sections of the route, but it was nevertheless one of the muddiest, particularly alongside the Patchway Brook. Antony Clark joined us at Patchway, leaving his wife and twins to accompany us to the finish. We had now completed over thirty miles and I was beginning to get a bit tetchy as we approached Easter Compton (Sorry Antony!) My personal lowest point was probably when I was stumbling through the mud to the crossing over the M5 near Berwick Lodge, but I kept going to the next stage ending at Blaise car park, where we had to weave our way through the crowds brought out by the spring weather. John McDonough joined the party here and we made good progress along Kingsweston Ridge to the Iron Bridge and down Shirehampton Golf Course towards Pete’s personal goal the bottom of Mariners’ Walk, which he thought of as almost there. As we were well past 40 miles, I felt it was safe to ring up my boys with a progress report, as I was content to walk up the hill to the Downs, where we met up with Antony’s wife, Jan, who was feeding the twins in the car. It was a pleasant jog across the Downs to the peregrine viewpoint and along the cliff side to our first view of the Suspension Bridge. As we approached the Observatory, we were met by Woodwose One (Chris Smart), who had run out to meet us. I felt really quite emotional as we jogged across the Suspension Bridge as I felt by then that we were home and the view was splendid. We took the long way round by Leigh Woods and the Hole in the Wall into the Blaise Estate and, at the Green Man Libby joined us for a jog down to the pub. As we climbed the stile into the playing field before the pub, Pete whispered ‘sprint finish’ into my ear and to my astonishment, we both proved able to hare across the grass to the finish.

After the others had gone off to their suppers, Libby, Pete and I repaired to the Dovecote for a well earned pint or two and a great deal of self congratulation. While we were there, Mike Bastow, who had trained with us, but was unable to come with us due to a cold, came in to congratulate us as well. He had apparently come half way through a meal. Nice one Mike! We are looking forward to helping you with your attempt!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

<span>%d</span> bloggers like this: