Back from an inspiring Saturday and early Sunday morning, part of the Brighton Tri Club team pacing ultra-marathon runner suprema Kat on her 102 mile North Downs Run.
I know it might sound trite, but it really is something of a privilege to run alongside someone attempting such an extraordinary challenge. And this was her third 100 miler this year, having already done the Thames Path and the gruelling South Downs Way.
Runners are allowed to have one pacer at a time from 50 miles out. I took on the pacing at mile 65, just as the sun was setting, Kat with a head torch and me carrying one of my big Exposure lights that I have for night riding. It was a bit spooky at first, weaving our way through woodlands in the dark. Across open corn fields you could see the faint light of other runners ahead and behind. The route also had us trudging along garishly lit roadway, gradually making our way along the Pilgrim's Way and slowly on to the next feed station.
Just after midnight I handed on to our next Club pacer as the weather turned for the worst - but still they ran on. Great respect to Kev who encouraged her through the worst of the rain and mud in the night, handing her on to our last pacer and key organiser, Rachel. At that point Kat was the third placed woman. Over those last miles she gradually hauled in the woman ahead to take second spot and finish in just over 26 hours.