After completing the Viking 100 mile three weeks previous I knew I had to rest to be able to get around the county of Norfolk in one piece. My body needed a rest after a 24 hour run and get over the electrolyte depletion and exhaustion so apart from a parkrun I did no running for 3 weeks. So why run around Norfolk? I had run quite a few of the stages of the round Norfolk relay and always considered running the whole route so last year worked out the best way to do it and when. The Easter school holidays seemed perfect for me as then I could the second week as a rest week before heading back to work. Running between 27 and 31 miles a day would get me round in a week from Yarmouth to Yarmouth. I had worked out where I was going to stay and what I was taking and that wasn't much!
Day 1: Yarmouth to Needham 26.5 miles Running time 5 hours 22 minutes
Saw the weather forecast and knew it was going to be a wet one. GYRR gave me a good send off with the gantry up and a few runners keeping me company until Bradwell and Simon coming to St Olaves and Bob cycling behind me till a lay by just before Needham. Needham was further than I thought so added the extra on to the next day. God it was wet and miserable with loads of surface water so conditions weren't ideal. It was a good job I was at home on the Monday to dry shoes out etc. I had run this route on a few occasions so was happy with where I was going and the dangers that might be on the roads. This stage is run in the dark so was different in light with so much traffic. Bob did a sterling job and looked like a Michelin man he had so many clothes on. My pace was steady and kept going to McDonalds so 15 miles in. Bob and I got a coffee which made us feel a bit warmer but had to walk up to the next roundabout as it as so busy and dangerous. The road was wider on the way to Bungay for the next 5 miles and even got on the track for a bit where Bungay marathon runs to the maltings. The last few miles went on for a bit with some run walk run walk happening but my muscles got very tight because of the cold so was pleased to finish this first day. Looking back probably ran a bit quick but after 3 weeks not running that's what happens and I just wanted to be out of the rain. Day 1 done.
Day 2: Needham to Thetford 28.5 miles Running time 7 hours 4 minutes 55 miles completed Accumulated running time 13 hours 17 minutes
This was going to be a boring day with straight roads, lots of traffic and lots of ups and downs. Just had to get it done. My legs felt tight getting up for this second day after getting wet and cold. Andy cycled behind me the whole way as it was so dangerous. Mark kindly took his bike to the start and we set off. A mile down the road I saw Kirsty, Steve and the boys from Parkrun so stopped for a quick chat. They wished me well and headed off with a good power walk. I needed to warm my body up before any running today and to be honest it would be daft to run up the hills as there was a hell of a way to go. The miles went by but it was very noisy from all the lorries and traffic on the roads. I was so pleased to turn off for the 1066 and through the village there was some path which was welcome. I have also run this stage of 20 miles to Thetford so knew today was going to be a tough one. Andy and I decided to stop a Diss for a coffee and was in the Morrisons for only 15 minutes, enough to get a hot drink and use a proper toilet as going in hedgerows and bushes can be a bit cold but I just get on with it. A good run walk pace followed. The last few miles to get into Thetford did drag and I needed all my mental strength to get it done. Very pleased to see the sign for Thetford. After a dry day it chucked it down so got wet heading for for the finishing point which was the changeover point on Telford Way. Glad to see Simon who gave Andy a lift back to the car. He left his bike there for the following mornings ride. Hannah my sister in law picked me up to take me to Wymondham for the night. I was glad to get these first 2 days done as they were such busy roads.
Day 3: Thetford to Downham Market 30 miles Running time 7 hours 45 minutes with stops 85 miles completed Accumulated running time 21 hours 2 minutes
After a few logistics for transport I was dropped off at Thetford to start Day 3 of my challenge. This was going to be longest day yet with still some busy roads to contend with. I started off at 9 30 and headed onto the A134 for a few miles with Andy again riding behind me. He had dropped the car at Weeting. A few miles in saw a couple in hi-viz vests up the road and then realised it was Maureen and John. It was so lovely to see them and stopped for a quick chat and they said they would catch up with me later. I had run this leg before also and knew it was reasonably flat and a good half marathon route but I also knew there wouldn't be a 1 hour 46 time on it today! Lots more running today as I think I felt more confident without the lorries roaring past and saving my legs worries. After Feltwell the roads were a bit more open and it was a bit windy. Tried to eat and drink as much as possible even when I didn't want it. Between Feltwell and Wissington saw Maureen and John again and Maureen ran and walked with me 4 to 5 miles so having some company really helped. Andy kept popping up every so often to give drinks or food etc. After Wissington it was the last stretch to Downham. Again, this was quite open to the elements but Andy appeared with a cup of tea. What a star he did brilliant supporting me most of the week. There was just the A10 to get done now. It was busy. It was getting on for 4pm so traffic was building. Managed to get half way down the 4 mile stretch and then the verge ran out as I had to face the traffic for safety. I had no choice to ring Andy and get him to pick me up. I was 2 miles short which as it goes made up the following day as where I was staying was a short distance away from the Downham changeover. I felt good though and went and had coffee and sandwich to recover to wait for Ben who I was staying with that night. Andy left about 5 and I stayed in the cafe to wait for Ben to arrive from work. He works with Neville the race director of the RNR so had brought a baton and the stage 16 start sign. Photo opportunity. Ben from West Norfolk AC looked after me so can't thank him enough for putting up with me.
Day 4: Downham to Snettisham 30 miles Running time 8 hours 15 minutes with stops 113 miles completed Accumulated running time 29 hours 17 minutes
Another long day but today the difference would be I had to carry all my stuff and I would be completely on my own for a few hours. I felt really good.Legs were in good shape, I had popped a re occuring blister for the second time and it was ok and the sun was shining. Popped into the shop for some food and then headed to the changover point to make up the distance. Although my pack was a bit heavy it was nothing like I've carried in the past and I soon got used to it. Lovely route, sunny, but a bit cold and open so kept hoody on for a few miles. Went through some lovely villages and then onto the Fen river way which was lovely and onto Kings Lynn. This is where I was going to meet up with Martin on his bike whom I was going to stay with that night. Martin and his wife Sophie finally caught up with me at the quay in Lynn. It was now a hot day and I pleased when Martin kindly took my pack. The directed me through Lynn and to Lynnsport where we got a photo of the official start and finish to Round Norfolk Relay. They both lived a few minutes away so stopped for 15 minutes for a cup of tea and sandwich, taking half the sandwich with me. It was now very hot and I had 8 miles to do. Wrong it was 10.5 miles to go. I was running a lot and the scenery out of Lynn was lovely. I did make good progress along the A149 but it was busy, hot and just wanted to get there. Finally, we turned off for Snettisham beach which was another long road. I was counting the miles off as we went along.Finally we could see Martin's friend John at the car park and threw my hands in the air when I got to the sea with the elation of finishing this long day. I had the most delicious icecream and then John dropped us off. Thank you to Martin and his family who looked after me so well and were so kind and supportive. West Norfolk AC are a small club with some amazing friendly people. I was over half way so my mood was lifted and good. Just 3 days to go.
Day 5: Snettisham to Wells 26 .5 miles Running time 7 hours and 30 minutes with stops 139.5 miles completed Accumulated running time 36 hours and 47 minutes
I left Snettisham beach about 8 50 Friday morning after being dropped off. It was a bit cool but dry and looked like it was going o be a good day. Cross country for the first 4 to 5 miles so just got going run walk. Made good time to get to Hunstanton and when I reached the lighthouse changeover point bought a coffee and some crisps and got going. Again, I was carrying all my stuff. The sun got out and it warmed up for a bit. I had spoken to Andy and assured him I was ok and Chris as I was meeting him later. When I got to Hunstanton golf course I went a bit wrong with my directions but I knew the coastal path route so it didn't matter too much. I ran through Holme and and came out at Thornham. I lost my bearings a bit here and did get a bit stressed. Carried on straight through villages to get to Brancaster and finally got on to the coastal path which I have run before on the Norfolk 100k. I had got a bit cold, stressed and hungry so was relieved when I came across a sea food stall and the lady made me a cheese roll and a hot drink.The next bit was long as the Staithe to Burnham goes on a bit. It was the toughest bit so far. Although was flat the wind had got up and was tough work as I so in the open. Just kept going as best I could and finally meant up with Chris some time later. I was booked into the Hostel and Chris was too so was pleased to see him, get settled and have a hot meal in the pub down the road. Early night for me and my blister on the side of my foot had to be seen too again. I was worried about it as it was sore. After a chat with Pat, the lady I was sharing with in the hostel she gave me some walking wool. The lanolin in the wool helps prevent rubbing and blisters. Miracle, the following day I carefully sorted my feet and added the wool into my trainer. Didn't sleep much that night but enough.
Day 6 : Wells to Mundelsey 30 miles Running time 9 hours with stops 169.5 completed Accumulated running time 45 hours 47 minutes
I woke at 5 feeling stressed about the blister and rang Andy at 6 am. Had a good cry and since last night was beginning to feel emotional. I then text and rang Paul who along with Teresa came to my rescue and came to Wells to keep me company for a few miles. After a breakfast of a ham sandwich, crisps and banana as there was nothing open headed off with Teresa with the wool over the blister and packed between where my insole and trainer started. Paul took his car to Cley to then run back and met us. They were both brilliant. Didn't do too much running the first few miles as tough cross country and muddy. Didn't cause too much trouble and scenery was good but got going. Andy then caught up with us along the way and what with Chris too popping up we had a bit of a posse. The wool was doing the trick and I was feeling a lot better mentally. There was a bit of drizzle through Cley and was managing to do more running but not too fast as there was still a long way to go and 5 miles of shingle! Paul caught me up on the shingle after sorting the logistics of vehicles etc and we got going as quick as you over shingle with lots of miles in the legs. We finally got off the shingle after 1 and half hours. I have run stage 5 of the RNR 6 times and run it in the Norfolk 100k so know what it’s about so just kept moving forward. Paul kept me going too and soon reached Weybourne where refeulled with drinks and Andy took over from Paul. Coming off the shingle and going onto the grassy hills to Sheringham was like walking on carpet but I was moving well and Andy even though had his trainers on was finding it hard to keep up with me. He did hold me hand to pull me up a couple of tough bits but I think that's allowed. It was warm and the sun out and I was catching the sun. I know this route really well so had a good pace going. Got to Sheringham in a good time and said goodbye here to Paul and Teresa. A few tears a got going. Beeston bump didn't seem too bad after what I had already done. An hour later we reached Cromer and I kept going. The zigzag path down to prom was hard on the knees as I had been going up more than down and levelled out along the prom. Headed to the lighthouse so more up and then on the road to Mundesley. I was struggling a bit after all of the tough terrain but kept going. I was glad to finish that day and was staying at my sisters that night so at least I could get a bath, as I hadn't had a bath since Tuesday just showers. A bit tearful getting to my sisters but good meal and bed and I was ready for the next day. My legs were ok surprisingly but my feet were swollen and puffy. I had to keep them elevated in bed and up as much as possible.
Day 7 : Mundesley to Yarmouth Last day - Finish!! 28.5 miles
The final last day. My feet had gone down a bit but they were aching. I had to get that out of my mind and think of the finish. Andy drove me out to Mundesley where I met with Jane and Jodie who were kindly cycling with me because of the road safety and to keep me going. We left at 9 in a bit of drizzle but our spirits were high. Andy, Mark and Simon all came past us later and Andy kept popping up like he does to keep an eye on his wifey. I had a good walk run pace going on to begin with and the further I went the more running I felt like doing. Before too long we were in Lessingham. The route was lovely and we soon warmed up looking at the daffs along the way. I did my usual stopping for wee stops at the side of the road with Jane being a lady and waiting till we got to Horsey. The road was getting windier and curving round so was important I had the ladies with me for this final day. My pace was bang on and I knew I was getting close to home now so was doing more running. Winterton to Caister went on a bit and nearly mooned some cars as I needed the loo yet again as we left Winterton. Jane just gave me a look so I waited but her face was a picture. Only an hour and half before I got home to Yarmouth. I had loosened my shoelaces a couple of times as my feet were swollen but I knew I could still run to get home. When we approached Hemsby we saw my sister and Fiona who beeped their horned and I felt really good. Andy and my sister my nephew brother in law stopped at Hemsby and had a sign so stopped to have a photo with them before heading to Caister on the main road. There was a lot of traffic so wanted to get of here as quickly as possible. As I was coming into Caister I saw Maureen and John again who gave me a massive shout and wave. As I walked up the hill I then saw the Mark, Jo and the kids so there was lots of waving. It didn't long then to meet the amazing GYRR s at Caister shops and then running off we got to Caister Road where Ali was beeping her car horn all the way down Caister Road. Gave myself some walking time over Jellicoe bridge and then with the GYRR posse headed off down the seafront to the finish at the sealife centre. I was running well as I just wanted to finish now and was encouraged all the way.As we passed the jetty I could see the finish flag and could hear everyone shouting for me which was lovely.
There was hugs and tears and lots of clothes being passed my way to keep warm as my temperature was dropping quickly but it was strange to finish. Jodie was brave and took my trainers off and my feet were swollen but I was ok.
So I have Run solo round Norfolk 198 miles but with lots of people supporting and looking after me along the way. I still don't know how I feel about it actually. I had a massive downer and couldn't stop crying Sunday night but what I have done is an amazing thing and in doing this amazing thing have raised a lot of money for Mind and Rnib. I still need to reach my target so please help www.justgiving.com/teams/karenpeckrun Thankyou to everyone who has given to far. There is too many people to thank but you are all wonderful especially Mr P who truly believes in me and every mad thing I do.
I have achieved 2 wonderful goals this month and have to be proud of myself. 100 mile in 24 hours in the bag and 198 miles round Norfolk. If you want to do something DO IT. Believe me when I say I WILL.
Report by Karen Peck