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Wye Valley Challenge Chepstow to Hereford Ultramarathon

Wye Valley Challenge Chepstow to Hereford 100km

What a weekend taking on the Wye Valley Challenge Chepstow to Hereford 100km ultramarathon. Since committing to the ultrachallenge way back at the start of January we’d been preparing. Entering all sorts of events, both running and cycling, gradually building up the distances month on month.

Wye Valley Challenge - 100km Chepstow to Hereford Ultramarathon Logo

Thinking we’d trained as much as we could, we were looking forward to the challenge with little anxiety. The only downer was that summer appeared to have finished a week ago and we were expecting rain. Worst of all, throughout the night. Literally taking it a step at a time, we’d tackle that when it came.

The Start

Wye Valley Challenge - 100km Chepstow to Hereford Ultramarathon Start

It was a fresh but sunny morning. We weren’t jogging or running it, we decided that months ago. We wanted to trek it. Completing it was the goal, not as fast as we could but simply finishing it. We were in the first wave at 7:00am because we knew it’d be a long weekend!

Wye Valley Challenge - 100km Chepstow to Hereford Ultramarathon Starting Enclosure

It started well, everyone was in good spirits, we indulged in a spot of Zumba for a warm up, a first for us both, then we were off!

Views were pretty good and at about 6km in there was the beautiful Tintern Abbey in the sun, in the distance.

View of Tintern Abbey at the 6km point in the Wye Valley Challenge Chepstow to Hereford Ultramarathon

The rest stops were really well set up and laid out. There were intermediate, smaller stops and bigger stops with full on marquees with seating areas and hot food canteens. No quibbles there, we took advantage of these and there was no expense spared so credit where credit was due. Our only quibble would be to have had some zinc oxide tape and Hapla Bands – yes we took our own but ran out pretty quick. The other self-help medical aid (plasters, Vaseline, talcum powder) we also had our own but had plenty of. It was an ultramarathon that looked after the participants!

After #TheVogum 40 mile ultra we did in June, we learned valuable lessons that we applied to the Wye Valley Challenge. Feet strapping and foot care being the main of that. We knew that the state of our feet after 40 miles incapacitated us, so we had to prepare to complete a further marathon on top of it with this challenge. At the halfway point we were cruising. Fatigued but cruising.

Wye Valley Challenge - 100km Chepstow to Hereford Ultramarathon Photos

The Middle

The halfway point of the Wye Valley Challenge was located at Ross, at tea time, was a Godsend. We fuelled up with a mix of pasta, cottage pie and soup and we were ready to roll out into the night. This is where the fun stopped and the challenge began.

Halfway on the Wye Valley Challenge Ultramarathon

We know the organisers had no control over the weather and we can’t hold that against them but jeez, it certainly was a challenge. Dark, wet and very slippery. Some places were treacherous – and that was being generous. The progress we made throughout the night was, and had to be, slow and very steady. Head torches were a must, obviously, but we had to shout out to Blusmart their headtorch was an awesome bit of kit. Fully charged beforehand and lasted the entire night on full beam. Illumination was incredible! We’re not being paid for the plug, it was just a great bit of kit that did help us.

Blusmart Head Torch we used for the Wye Valley Challenge

We reached the 75km mark at about 3:00am. We made the decision, based on the conditions so far, to rest up. Take advantage of the rest stop and the hot food plus the masseuse. We took a prolonged stop to wait for the sun to rise as we had a wet ascent up a hill at Brockhampton. Natural light would have at least eased that!

The going up wasn’t the problem, the ‘steps’ on the descent were. Hellish best described them. We both suffered on them, picking up some near event ending injuries which made the final push agonising. We’d already beaten our previous personal bests distance-wise.

100km was the goal and it was getting ever closer that it would be a real heartbreaker to retire.

We continued on, masking the pain with a grimace, having passed several people who also had to pull out which was a shame. At the 89km rest stop all that was getting us through was grit, determination not to fail and of course, painkillers. Fortunately, the route eased up and paths, roads and grass verges were the final stretch. Inclines and / or declines would have finished us.

The last 11k were really hard work. We literally took it one step at a time. The rain eased to drizzle and eventually stopped. We hit the finish line at about midday and the sun was even out! Waiting for us was some bubbly and more hot food.

The End

End of the Wye Valley Challenge Ultramarathon

We are aware that the wet weather spoiled it for a lot of people and made parts of the ultramarathon route hazardous and more arduous than if it was dry but credit where credit’s due, the organisers did a great job. The checking in with the scanners and the live tracker was awesome.

Goodies from the Wye Valley Challenge Ultramarathon

An achievement we’ll treasure with a cool medal and a T-shirt we’ll wear with pride.

Finishers Medal for the Wye Valley Challenge Ultramarathon

We’re pleased to have taken part in the event, the ultramarathon was a one off so we’ve joined an exclusive club of participants and finishers!