In case anyone’s wondering, I’m not the only nutter in my family. There’re actually two of us. My sister-in-law, Marie, is a complete and utter, dyed in the wool, pedigreed Nutter of Note. There’s almost no running challenge that scares her, no distance that makes her laugh in disbelief, and virtually no endurance feat on two legs or wheels that she wouldn’t try.
Marie is, without a smidgeon of doubt, the most mentally strong woman I’ve ever run with. I’ve witnessed her block out pain as if the injury isn’t there. I’ve been with her when she’s commented that she had “something in her eye” and chosen to ignore it so she didn’t have to slow down or stop... and then three hours later when we crossed the finish line, I picked the blade of grass from her eye.
Distances just don’t frighten Marie. Ten years ago she was a 21km road runner. Now she has more ultras under her belt than I can keep track of. And I’m not talking about ultra marathons that just sneak over the 50km mark, I’m talking ULTRAS. Try 204km in 24 hours (when she represented Britain at the Brive 24 hour champs in France, May 2010 – and yes, that’s the one where they go round-and-round-and-round a 1.25km circuit to see how far they can run in 24 hours. Fun stuff!).
And then so not to lose the edge, she did a 48 hour round-and-round-and-round race in Australia just two months later, in which she clocked up just over 261km. (Her incredible achievement shows that while 48 hours may be double 24, but it sure as hell doesn’t mean the runners double their 24hr distance. The 48hr is mindblowingly gruelling, never mind the physical strain of pushing through continuously for that long.)
Now it’s December, and time for Marie to do her favourite ultra: it’s the Coast to Kosciuszko in Australia, affectionately known to the nutters that run it as the Coast to Kosci, or the C2K. It’s a 240km race that’s mostly on tar, and goes from Twofold Bay on the NSW south coast to the top of Australia’s highest peak, Mount Kosciuszko (2 228m).
This will be Marie’s third running of the C2K. Her goal this year is to finish the 240km in under 35 hours. The weather conditions this time of year can be perfect... or they can be foul, with icy temperatures and gale-force winds.
The event started this morning, Aussie time. Excitingly, it can be followed with almost-live updates on (http://www.coast2kosci.com/live2010.html)And as I write, the most recent update has Marie at the 148km mark, it’s just before 2am there and she’s been going for just over 20 hours.
Sheeez, my fingers are tired just typing that!
Next blog post, Marie will have her 3rd C2K in the bag. Watch this space :-)
Labels: Brive, C2K, Coast to Kosci, Coast to Kosciuszko, Marie Doke