“So Long, Farewell, It’s Time To Say Goodbye!”

Stephanie conquers the Bath Hilly Half and looks ahead to her next challenge

“So Long, Farewell, It’s Time To Say Goodbye!”

I can’t believe the Bath Hilly Half has been and gone.

The Bath Hilly Half was not what I expected; yes I was expecting hills, but maybe not quite so many of them! The hills were relentless, long, steep and muddy in places. In one particular place it was near impossible to stand up, you kind of slid your way down the hill and prayed that you didn’t fall on your butt, or flat on your face.

Although challenging, the first lap I enjoyed enormously. The sun was shining and it felt good to be running in such spectacular countryside. The marshals and spectators were all so encouraging, and so were the runners who passed me by.

“So Long, Farewell, It’s Time To Say Goodbye!”

Lapping up lap one!

As I started the second lap, I was conscious that it was just me and a guy running, where did everyone go? Then it dawned on me that the majority of the runners I was with were running the Ultra 10K.

Some of the dirt tracks, particularly the ones up hill, were tough going and not easy to run up. Towards the end of the second lap (mile 10), I wasn’t feeling quite so energetic. Not even the Jester could coax me running up one particular hill.

After I left the Jester, I could feel I was running out of steam. The last two miles were up a steep, and stony track, which was hard going, followed by a field of sheep and a long, winding and muddy track to the race course. I was starting to get disheartened as I didn’t have it in me to even jog, my energy was shot.

By the time I got to the race track, which seemed to take forever, family and Liz Hufton (the editor) were all there shouting words of encouragement. It was just what I needed to pick myself up to cross the finishing line with my grandchildren, Harry and Isabelle. That moment was priceless!

On reflection it was an extremely challenging course for a novice runner, and I did well to finish it in under three hours. And I know that, at mile 11, when I was feeling low, it was because I had lost a little bit of perspective because I thought I would come in 15 mins earlier than I originally thought. But, it wasn’t to be, the last two miles were like running through treacle.

I have to accept the reality of it – the course was demanding and challenging, I’m 62-years old and only took up running 18 months ago. My body is still adjusting to the demands of running and I need to be patient and, more importantly, to be grateful that I can run.

“So Long, Farewell, It’s Time To Say Goodbye!”

“The hills are alive!”

I slept like a baby that night. Trying to get out of bed the following morning was hilarious, it felt like I’d been run over by a bus, I was as stiff as a board and could barely walk.

So another chapter closes, and another chapter is about to begin with my training for the Z2H Winter Half Marathon in December. I’m not quite ready to say, “So long, farewell, it’s time to say goodbye” to the Women’s Running magazine team but, sadly, it is time to move on.

It’s been an awesome training journey with Project Trail. Anne-Marie Lategan and the team were always there for us when we needed them and I’m so grateful for the kind sponsorship from TomTom, Adidas sunglasses, Columbia and High5. Thank you for a great opportunity, it’s one I will never forget.

“Will it be easy? Nope. Worth it? Absolutely”

Written by Stephanie Dutton | 3 articles | View profile

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