08 Mar 2015
The Imber Ultra Marathon is a trail run of approximately 33 miles. It starts at the Leighton Recreation Centre in the town of Westbury at the north west of the Imber Ranges.
Over the first couple of miles runners ascend the escarpment of Salisbury Plain, then follow the Imber Range Perimeter Path in an anti clockwise direction.
The first 10 miles circumnavigates the town of Warminster and a number of iron age hill forts on footpaths. Then the running is on metalled roads, bridleways and tracks east then north.
The route passes through some of the most remote parts of southern England, apart from a German village around the halfway mark! The final 10 miles are westward along the north side of the training area. Here the going is good on roads or big tracks, but it will be against the usually prevailing wind to add to the challenge. The final couple of miles include the biggest descent of the day, back to the finish at the Leighton Recreation Centre.
I started the day off with a sharp pain in my left sided hernia which failed to pass with time. It felt like the stomach muscles were being strained by the weight of the bowel protruding through it. I also had a permanent feeling of needing to pee. Not a slight pressure of just beginning to need – but the sharp pain of needing to wee after you have held it in for way too long!! This feeling stayed with me (periodic checks of the said lump showed that it had become bigger than it has ever been before. This chronic desire to urinate magically vanished at about 23 miles. Ta dah! I originally set off with Richard Corp and his mate Steve from Frome Running Club. Strangely, I stopped after about 6 miles to pee and shouted to Rich “I gotta wee – I will catch you up”. I never actually did catch them back up. I saw them in the distance for the next 5 miles or so but never hooked up with them. Not surprised to find out afterwards that they both finished in 5 hours and 59 mins – way ahead of me. Hats off to ya both. I met up with a squaddie called Rob who had travelled down from Birmigham that morning. In his own words he stated he was “under prepared and under equipped”. We stayed together from the 13 mile point right to the finishing line -33 miles and a time of 6 hours and 40 mins. However my Garmin recorded 34.97 miles. Recalibration needed me thinks. Check out the mug from the finishers goody bag. Way better than a medal.