Great Barrow Challenge

4 July 2017 - By Giles Sowerby

Over the past weekend I took part in the Great Barrow Challenge, which is based in Suffolk, and is home of the 10 marathons in 10 days challenge.

Being new to multi-day events, I decided to opt for the Quad Marathon event, which consisted of 4 back to back marathons over the course of 4 days. These took place from the centre based in Barrow and followed differing routes around the picturesque Suffolk countryside.

Day 1 Wickhambrook – I ended up running with Michael from Halstead RR for the first 18 miles, until he needed to slow down and walk for a bit. So I carried on for the final 8 miles on my own and finished in 4th place in a time of 3.50.59.

Day 2 Thetford – With the course being 80% trail I was expecting to struggle a little, however fortunately the recent rain hadn’t made the ground too boggy. After sitting in a group of 4 or 5 for the first 10 miles, a couple of us broke away through Thetford Forest and I eventually finished in 3rd place in 3.45.24.

Day 3 Kirtling – On an undulating road course, and with my legs starting to seize up, I was hoping to push the pace a little for the first half, which would then allow for an easier 2nd half of the race at a recovery pace. I maybe didn’t slow down as much as I should have, and finished in 4th place in 3.33.04.

Day 4 Newmarket – By the final day, my legs were very sore and just walking around the site became a bit of an effort. I again planned to try and run a quicker first half allowing for the pace to slow in the 2nd half if necessary. After maybe becoming accustomed to running tired, I strangely felt comfortable keeping going at a decent pace, and managed to nick 2nd place in 3.28.33.

It was a tough challenge over the 4 days both physically and mentally, however it was a very satisfying achievement and I also managed to finish in first place overall in the Quad competition.

Not quite sure how I ran quicker as the days went by as that wasn’t the original plan! This was a very well run and friendly event, and hats off to the 50 or so people who are there for the entire 10 days. I’m sure that 4 was enough for me!

Giles Sowerby

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