Barry Newton (Managing Director) and Adrian Proctor (Commercial Director) tell us about running the 70-mile (112km) Rat Race Wall Ultramarathon on 18 June 2022.
“It was a relief to see the arch of Gateshead Millennium Bridge as we ran the final stretch down the quayside in Newcastle. In the fading light of this warm midsummer evening, the cheering and clapping from the crowds of supporters at the race finish made it an overwhelmingly happy moment.
15 hours and 70 miles (112km) earlier, we’d been stretching and chatting, along with 600 other nervous runners at Carlisle Castle in Cumbria – the start of The Rat Race Wall Ultramarathon. We had both run an 80km race a few years before, through the Chiltern Hills, so we knew the training would be tough and time-consuming. Long, lonely runs every week that gradually increase in regularity and distance, building up to 50km or 60km runs at the weekends. When the big day finally arrived, we had to check in the evening before, which made it feel very real, and get to the start by 7am.
The route follows roads and trails along Hadrian’s Wall, a UNESCO Heritage site, which was built by the Roman Empire 1900 years ago to mark the northernmost border of their territory in England. The rural scenery was spectacular and very hilly in parts, punctuated by five pitstops where we could eat, rehydrate and catch our breath. All the volunteers and well-wishers along the route were incredibly encouraging, and the friendly banter between the runners kept everyone in good spirits right up to the end. The cut-off for completing the race was 26 hours, so some people were running or walking all through the night and finishing the following morning.
It was fantastic to have our families up there, cheering us on, and we all sat down together for chilli and rice at the end of a wild and wonderful day. Would we do it again? Probably. But next time it would be a different ultramarathon in another location. Long-distance running is physically demanding of course, but we love it – the feeling of camaraderie between the runners, the encouragement from all the supporters along the route and the sense of achievement when you get to the finish makes it all worthwhile.”