Distance- 100Km (65.9 Miles)
Total Elevation Gain-8,628ft
Time – 14:35:00
Position – 17th (7th Male) /
Terrain – 70% Trail, 20%path and 10% road (though the road sections dragged!
Aid Stations – 2 drop bags and about 5 checkpoints roughly 10 miles apart
Race organisation – Great organisation, well organised logistics, only a few wrong turns when I wasn’t paying attention.
Atmosphere – Amazing people with some incredibly supportive volunteers. There was water, bananas and coke at every stop.
Why St Cuthberts?
Andrew had decided that this year his new years resolution would be to run an Ultramarathon. Since Andrew doesn’t do half measures, he chose a 100K race, having never done more than 22miles! Some would say it was stupidity…some would say reckless…they are probably right. Never the less, I got a random text one day with “St Cuthberts ultra” and 10mins later we had signed up for it.
Bright eyed and bushy tailed;
Wakey wakey! 4:30am..time to rise and shine and make our way from our cozy beds to the village hall in Darnnick. A coachride to the Wooler Bowling Club to drop off our bags and register. Then it was onwards to the Holy Isle. A sleepy blur.
Possibly the shortest time I have ever spent at the start of a race. We arrived, huddled around the flag…a warning to go gentle at the start then…GO!
The first section was against a strong headwind as we made our way over the causeway and off the Holy Isle, taking in the amazing view as we went. Doing our best not to get caught up and taking it easy, we cruised along at a steady pace and soon we were into the countryside aiming for the distant hills.
We yo-yoed with a few of the runners before either we or they peeled a head. Those that started too fast were later caught at the aid stations.
Checkpoint – Wooler Bowling Club
We cruised into Wooler Bowling Club, no pain, feeling fresh and ready for my Alpro soya milk. Seriously, the best stuff you could ever drink during a long run. This was a fast turn over before firing back out again and into the hilly section of the course.
The hills were beautiful, with postcard views of the surrounding countryside and nice runable forest trails.
Checkpoint – Morebattle
Crossing the border, we came down and into checkpoint 2 at 38miles. This is where I always hit my low point (30miles) so I was just coming out of my wee slump and ready to refuel; a stop, a stretch and a munch. Feeling refreshed we pressed on.
The third part of the course is where it gets difficult. Your legs are week, the downhills drive shockwaves though your spine..but..you’re hydrated, level headed, have minimal fatigue still and are plodding on. The final 20 miles of the run were a bit of an out of body experience for me. All pain, all fatigue all stiffness disappeared and I felt as though I was flying. Spurred on by this euphoria I passed several other runner in the final section
Meeting a very positive and chatty lady moving at a similar pace to my own. We stuck together for the final 5 miles, climbing up and over the Saddle (between the two hills) and dropping down into Melrose. That final decent into Melrose was bliss, seeing the town from above and floating down the hill. The excitement was building.
As we hit Melrose we had 1 final mile to push. My euphoria had worn off, pain had erupted though my body but we shuffled on. Leaving Melrose and approaching Darnnick, the pace quickened before we finally climbed the gentle slope to the village hall and entered to the sound of applause.
T-shirt, medal, dogtag, food and a great sense of accomplishment.
I flipped on the tracker and followed Andrew. As he approached the hall we cheered him in, having finished an incredibly ambitious first ultra. What did he have to say? “I f*cking hate St Cuthbert.” He managed an amazing time for his first ultra and especially given his relatively low mileage in training! 🙂 LEGEND!
Well-fed and watered, we lay out our sleeping bags and crashed out on the floor until morning. All in all a fantastic experience. Meeting great people (3 Vegan Runners!!), a brilliant route and a superb race, taking in some great scenery. Thank you St Cuthbert!
I just want to say a huge thank you to all the Trail Outlaws for putting on such a great event, cheering us through the route and spending all their time and effort to ensure the day went off with out any issues. Fantastic photos too! Huge thank you to all the friends and family for all their supportive messages and texts. Andrew, you did a fantastic job and thank you for being so positive throughout the day. Ultras are a mental game more than anything and you pulled through it and kept a level head. So…what’s the next Challenge?
Love – Live – Run and get out and hit them trails!
Thank you for reading!
Follow my progress on Instagram – @jordan_love_live_run
Twitter – @