a part of a curve, especially a part of the circumference of a circle.
That makes sense.
the process of reducing something’s strength or effectiveness through sustained attack or pressure.
That absolutely makes sense!
There is a short version of this race report and a long version. The short one is as follows:
– This is a brutal race
– 30 minutes extra for a 2 mile (4-5 mile) diversion made for more challenging cut offs than in previous years
– I did well for 23 hours and 15 minutes.
– I didn’t eat enough at CP’s
– I didn’t change my clothes, socks or shoes at any point
– I should have (I think)
– When borrowing someone else’s Garmin Etrex make sure you know how it use it properly when really tired and cold
– Lands End to St Ives to truly brutal!
– I could have done this.
– Next year I will do this!
If you want to read the long version then I apologise in advance as its fairly long.
Ive know about the Arc for a few years and always thought of it as beyond my capabilities. I decided in early in 2016 to tackle a 100 later in the year. This scared me but I took it on and succeed. I trained hard for 6 months, had a few smaller races leading up to it and got a sub 24 finish at Autumn 100 in the October.
I’d always planned a quiet 2017 and to re-balance family life a little. I ran a local 18.5 mile coastal trail race finishing 4th. I then became convinced I needed a new challenge and after watching Stephen Cousins’ filmmyrun video of the 2017 Arc I knew that was it. The emotion and pain of him battling through (albeit for a sub 30 finish) and talking to a few other people I knew who had Arc buckles, made me realise why I entered Autumn 100 – because it scared me. That’s what I wanted and therefore the Arc of Attrition was the perfect race!
I hadn’t run a big race in a long time, so I entered the Gower 50 which is in October. Training had been going well for 5 months out from the Arc with 50-60 miles a week and decent hills (considering I run in City Centre locations). I’ve never enjoyed running on sand so I don’t know why I entered Gower, but knowing the RD’s and running their events before I knew it would be well organised and very scenic.
However the sand did its work on me and the Gower didn’t go well. My first ever DNF. The tendons in my ankle didn’t like the sand and lack of resistance and I struggled with pain from 5 miles until 23 miles when I couldn’t put any weight on my left foot. This was when the self-belief and my physical ability to be on the start line for the 2018 Arc became a major concern.
Over the course of the next few weeks I saw various physio’s who all said the same thing. You have a mis-alignment in the ankle and an inflamed tendon. Neither of them said something could be done about it. This made sense, but I’m no medic so I presumed the mis-alignment was something that I had always had but never noticed.
However, like most runners, I know my body and whilst it wasn’t stopping me doing big weeks (60-75 miles a week) it didn’t feel right so I booked to see a physio that sorted me out when my ITB went after Thames Trot in 2011 and he got me through VLM a few weeks later. I didn’t go to him straight away as I had moved from Bristol to Cardiff and so it wasn’t easy to get to him, but desperate times.
The previous physio’s didn’t treat it, they looked at it and said ‘oh yes its mis-aligned’ whilst lightening my wallet in the process. Upon visiting Dave Adler at Portland Therapy Centre in Bristol, I said I know I have a mis-alignment but bones don’t move so I must have always had it. He simply replied, this one does. He proceeded to manipulate and then push and click my Navicular bone back into place. It felt immediately more flexible and normal. With a clear instruction from him that I could run on it straight away, my confidence about being on the start line with a half decent level of fitness was restored.
I took 2 days off work around Christmas (one either side of) specifically to go running. Once to do 6 repeats on Pen Y Fan (22 miles and 10000ft) but more importantly to practice with my new poles. Second to get a long run in as that day on Pen Y Fan was my longest run in over a year alongside my Gower DNF. A Welsh coastal path 50k in horrid conditions which I thought would be great mental preparation for the likely weather at the Arc.
Work got in the way of a few lunchtime runs (at peak training I usually run 3 time a day Monday-Friday 4.5 miles AM, 4-6 miles at lunch and 4.5 miles PM) just after Christmas but I managed two big weeks pre taper of 80 and then 108 miles – now I felt confident.
So begins the taper. The usual things happened, I carried on eating lots despite not running lots. My legs felt heavy and I lost any desire to run. Then one lunch time at work I made myself go and do repeats on a local 25% hill. Only 4 miles (2 miles of that is to get to and back from the hill) but 1500ft and came back with my mojo again.
Game on (again!)
I had arranged to stay in a little campervan (don’t think T5 it wasn’t that nice) via Airbnb for £15 a night. I didn’t really want to pay £60 a night when I was planning on not being there Friday night nor much of Saturday night even. Not the best idea in hindsight. It was cold and whilst close to Porthtowan in Redruth, not the comfiest of stays. However, I was settled in early on Thursday afternoon and so headed down to the Blue Bar for Race HQ around 5pm to register and meet up with some new FB friends – Lee Scott and Paul Wootten from Bristol. I also met the amazing Dawn Gardner and Arc veteran Geoff Partridge and tried to remember snippets of advice Geoff was imparting.
Once registered I went food shopping, picked up a beer, fed myself after unpacking and repacking kit several times over, tried to get an early night. It wasn’t a great nights sleep, like any pre race sleep, but it wasn’t helped by having 8 inches of headroom in the bed above the drivers seats and having to climb a small ladder to get up there. There was no way I was going to manage that at 2am on Sunday morning.
First thing on Friday morning, after a last minute decision to cram my down jacket into my race bag, I got the other bed out which avoided any small, metal framed ladder and contortionist routines.
I’m used to carb loading before marathons and 50k but there is any point for a 100 mile and 36 hour race so I just had a normal breakfast of porridge and headed off.
Race HQ was a hive of activity with people I recognised all over the place, including Stephen Cousins and Paul Ali – who later told me at St Ives he had the flu but decided to run anyway – well it was £150 entry I suppose!
The race briefing was happening but at the back we couldn’t hear a word of it aside from hearing that there would be Arc Angels (the amazing volunteers) at any diversion to ensure we knew where to go.
On to the buses and we headed off to the start line. Some people slept, some people relaxed, some people just chatted. I just needed the loo so I was very pleased when we arrived, but so was everyone else by the look of the queue for the gents when I found it.
It was a beautiful morning and I prayed it would stay that way. We had a minutes silence for a two time Arc racer, Mark from the IOM who was due to be back in 2018 but was killed whilst cycling a few months ago. Mudcrew are sending his family an Arc buckle and I knew that there are a few people associated with Mark returning in 2019 as well to crew his friends from IOM who want to run the race in his memory.
At the end of the minutes silence the hooter sounded and that was it, no time to panic about what lay ahead, just get on with it.
This is the exact point I made my first mistake, right at the bloody start. I was almost the last person across the line after getting out of the way for a local bus I think. How I didn’t see the successful marriage proposal that took place Ill never know, but within a few hundred yards there was a bottle neck and single track trail for the next few miles with very limited places to pass. I think I lost a fair amount of time here, but at the same time it did help me not go off too quick which maybe explains why I was still about to run 23 hours later – not something I was able to do at the end of a100 18 month previous.
It was also hear that one of my new poles broke at around 3 miles, which I then carried all the way to Penzance CP. Very annoying, but it did mean I could carry the GPS unit in one hand and check it regularly rather than leave it in my bag and likely only get it out when it was too late.
This section was fairly uneventful. My introduction to the SWCP wasn’t as brutal as I had expected, undulating, lots of mud but a beautiful day and some lovely scenery. Oh for this to continue for the next 33 hours. I even managed to snap a few photos. What turned out to be the only ones during the whole race.
It was during this first section to Porthleven CP where all the diversions were. They were excellently marshalled by the Arc Angels and there was never any danger of getting lost as a result of the diversion. However, they had given an extra 30 mins for this supposed 2 mile diversion. We soon realised that not only did it record as somewhere between 4-5 miles for most of the people I was with at this time, but most of it was entirely un-runnable. The farmers fields of mud and silage where horrible to move through and personally I feel to be fair to previous versions of the event the diversion should have given us around an hour additional time.
CP1 was up in Porthleven town and we were met by an Arc Angel who accompanied us up the hill and into the CP. He commented that he had done a good nights training already as it was the 12th time he had done that hill repeat. My visit to the CP came and went without any real issues although I did want to get some paracetamol off the medic as I had packed ibuprofen instead – what idiot does that for a 100 mile ultra? This was taking too long as someone else was in more need that me, so I grabbed some off Dawn Gardener instead. The feet felt good and dry, which was a surprise considering the mud I decided not to check them as I didn’t want to interfere with something that wasn’t broken.
I recall having 2 scones with cream and jam and a quick chat with Geoff Partridge whose hip was causing him some trouble and so he had decided to call it a day here at CP1. I headed out and got a little confused heading back into town and then through the harbour and up to the SWCP again.
The next few hours passed easily and as a group of us had made it through town, which I think was Marazion, I recall looking up at the night sky and seeing the stars in half of the sky, without the clouds. Aside from my honeymoon in the Maldives I’d never seen this many stars before and I found myself looking up every few minutes, even turning off the head torch a few times to make the most of it.
It was around here that I joined forces with Harry Mcalinden, a Scottish guy who had lived in Jersey for 40 years. Harry and I chatted through the night about races and his previous attempt at the Arc in 2017. We worked well as a team and I was leading using the Etrex to navigate and in the main, doing an OK job. We got lost for a minute or two on occasion, going too far along the beach at Marazion, and later picking the wrong path a few miles before the Minack Theatre and then trying to (unsuccessfully) wade across deep prickly gorse, before simply doubling back and taking the right path – idiot! (I picked over 60 splinters out of my legs and hands over the next 2 weeks.)
I was very conscious of time due to the diversion and being stuck behind a load of people earlier in the race and this meant that I was a little behind where I wanted to be at this stage. We pushed on with a continuous (slow) run into the Penzance CP arriving sometime around 11pm. I had this on my Garmin at a touch over 42 miles and again I was keen to get out as quickly as possible. I changed the batteries in my head torches not wanting to be stuck in the dark somewhere swapping them over later during the night. I got my bottles filled and reloaded with Tailwind. I was so keen to get out again that after filling my water bottles and not eating(!), I went to the loo and agreed to meet Harry outside. 2 minutes later and there he was with my water bottles. I’m sure I would have noticed before leaving – I think!
We pushed on some more and continued through the night past Porthcurno and the Minack Theatre, which from photos taken during the day looks amazing but you cant see a bloody thing in the middle of the night.
I have no particular memory of anything after this prior to arriving at Lands End CP. I was hoping to see the Lands End sign and have a photo and aside from being pitch black aside from the CP lights, we had time pressures, big time.
Lands End was bustling with runners, crew and Angels. An Angel offered me the menu which Beans on Toast and cheese seemed like it would go down nicely, which it did. The bottles were filled, and additional food taken from the drop bag. Batteries were swapped again for both head torches, but I made what turned out to be the vital mistake of the race. For some reason I hadn’t thought it important to pay any attention to the weather forecast despite doing this every day for the week leading up to the race itself. I didn’t change clothes, although as it hadn’t rained until this point I am still comfortable with this decision. I did however take out of my bag additional kit which I didn’t think I would need. Harry and I agreed to be out of the CP by 520am knowing the hardest section lay ahead and that we would push on and run any section we could.
I was sat next to a guy who had decided to drop but who had run the race a few times before and he was suggesting if we really wanted to make St Ives we had better get a move on. I left with a renewed vigour – I was going to have this!
I felt great, possibly due to the food and probably due to a lighter bag, mainly from not carrying the down jacket as we had got through the coldest part of the night and I would be finished before the coldest part of Saturday night so it wasn’t needed.
I pushed hard through Sennan Cove and before I knew it I had somehow lost Harry. I stopped a few times to try to spot his head torch but he was gone. There were a few other people around me but after deciding that Harry was too far behind to wait for, I soon left them behind too, running in a way that I hadn’t since early between the start and CP1. I felt guilty about leaving Harry for a few hours, but I later found out that he was struggling with dehydration and dropped shortly after.
I made a few small navigational errors around the large stones through this next section which meant I had to keep catching and passing a pair of ladies who were moving really well, as they overtook me a few times due to their knowledge of the route.
It was a big relief when daylight broke and the large stones were behind me and I was confident of making St Ives. Whilst I was hopefully that the large boulders between LE and St Ives were behind me, deep down I knew the stories I had heard meant that this wasn’t the case and somewhere ahead laid the real challenge of this section.
It was around here where the weather changed and the rain came down. It wasn’t torrential but it was constant and being exposed around Cape Cornwall and Pendeen Watch, things did start to get cold. At some point prior to Cape Cornwall I got chatting to a runner called Andy (James), whose support crew would later have a very important role in my race. Andy and I dropped into Cape Cornwall and Andy’s crew offered some support; banana, water and getting some food out of my bag for me. I pushed on whilst Andy had a slightly longer stop and I entered what would turn out to be my final section of the race.
The rain continued, the mud was now everywhere and there were very limited opportunities to run. Every person I encountered (and overtook) I was asking if they had run the race before and if they were confident that we would make the St Ives cut off. Everyone said the same thing. “Comfortably”.
It was around this point however where I became aware of how little water I was now carrying, around 300ml and knowing that I had around 10 miles to go until the St Ives CP which was easily 3 hours away, my mind starting to work against me. I tried to eat, but I needed to drink to get it down, so I spat it out. This wasn’t good. It also dawned on me that I was fast approaching the longest amount of time that I had spent on the go, being the previous 100 miler and just under 24 hours.
Looking back on it, not eating and drinking was worrying me, becoming tired all of sudden when I realised that I had been going for nearly 24 hours was worrying me; I was concerned of the time pressure to get to St Ives and the knowledge that getting there meant a much improved likelihood of a finish, and finally the known, unknown of the brutality of the final section into St Ives; this was all bubbling away in my mind. Far from being a distraction, this was causing anxiety.
Whilst running next to a lady (who went on to finish) through an area of rocks in a very boggy and muddy stretch of the path, my left foot landed on a large flat but slightly angled to the left, rock. My shoes were caked in mud and the rocks were wet and I had had a number of small slips in the last few hours, but as soon as my foot touched this rock, it was gone from underneath me. The rock was secured in the ground around 6” in height from the path. My foot fell to the left and banged against another rock next to it. My chest landed horizontally on the rock I slipped on and as I had moved my arms to try to balance, I strained my right shoulder when I landed. The lady with me stopped to check I was OK and I tried to get up and brush it off but the shoulder was hurting. I didn’t even think of the ankle. I was moving again within 20 seconds but something had changed. My mind went there and then in that moment.
The woman I had been close to and gaining on for 2 hours pulled away from me within a minute. We came across some steps (there are so many steps on this path!) up a big hill (context – nothing is big it’s just big compared to most hills on this path – the highest point is around 300ft which I believe was this exact hill!). I recall a metal rail on the right hand side of the steps, which I was using to pull myself up, but I was slow, really slow. All I knew was that I was about 6 miles and maybe 2-2.5 hours away from St Ives (that’s at the pre fall pace) and here I was struggling to move up a hill, losing time quickly over others.
As I was pulling myself up the steps, I had to stop. I became dizzy and light headed. I grabbed for the rail and missed it a few times – I knew this wasn’t good. Fuck! I’m 6 miles from St Ives. What the hell, I can’t make it up this hill! I have to admit, for 30 seconds I was actually contemplating getting in the body bag and phoning for help. Somehow though whilst these thoughts were going on, I did manage to carry on a few steps. Then the steps stopped and I lifted my head in relief.
Saviour. There in front of me were people. I can’t remember how many but I think 2 or 3 support crews. Andy’s support crew. They knew I wasn’t in a good place. I think I recall saying something along the lines of ‘thank god you’re here’. I wasn’t expecting to see anyone until St Ives so this was (almost) literally a life saver. I think her name was Karen, she got me out of the wind and sat down and offered me chocolate. I remember saying thanks but I have some of my own, “ooh a Twirl, yes please”.
I know I said “I’m done” a number of times. Like any good and experienced support crew they knew runners often said this but could live to regret it, so Karen was loath to let me admit defeat. She tried to get me to just sit down for a while, eat and think about what I was doing. I was cold though, I started to shiver uncontrollably and I was adamant that I was done. I was surprisingly OK with it. I think because I was so far gone in the mind that I knew what was left was unachievable for me, so it was easy to accept.
We waited for Andy to arrive at this crew access point (Zennor) and we all headed back to the T5 they had a short walk away. This wasn’t a short walk it was about an hour – well 5 minutes but I had seized up a bit and was cold and I couldn’t get there quickly enough.
Karen, and I think Mark, were brilliant. Despite supporting Andy to get on his way again, they got me in the front of the van, gave me a monster blanket, got the engine on and the heaters going and even offered me dry kit in the feint hope that I would get out again and push on. I started to warm up and feel better within minutes but I was done. I mind had given in. I knew I had time, but I also knew I would get cold again as soon as I went back out. If I had a full kit to change into, I like to think I would have given it a go, but that’s easy to say with hindsight. I rationalised it in my mind that I had run 78 miles in 23 hours and 23 minutes (anyway I had stopped my Garmin so obviously I wasn’t allowed to carry on anyway!) and covered 14000ft in the process across some horrible terrain.
I knew that lots of people hadn’t made it this far and I let this convince me that there was no shame in dropping at this point. I was wrong, But again, its really easy to think back on this with a rested, non-tired, uninjured body. None of us can really recall the feelings and emptiness at those moments before making these decisions and for me this was my first conscious decision to DNF so it was a new experience.
Andy took loads of my banana malt loaf bars, with him and pushed on. He looked full of confidence and determination and as I sit here writing it, if I had been able to go out with him, I wonder if I could have made it.
Karen and Mark drove me back to St Ives and once we got phone signal I called through to race HQ and announced my retirement from the race. I hobbled out of the van and instantly started to shiver uncontrollably again, clear evidence that despite thinking I was in a better place because of a Twirl, it wouldn’t have last long without a kit change.
Once in the CP at St Ives I was forcibly dumped on the medics bed and wrapped in about 10 blankets. I didn’t have any kit with me, my drop bag was at Lands End, and likely by then on its way to Porthtowan and my other bag was waiting for me at the end as well. I got my shoes and socks off and on the radiator and eventually realised I needed to do the same with one of the two layers of kit I did have on so at least they would dry before I left and I could then change into some dry (if smelly) kit.
Beans on Toast with extra cheese went down very well again, along with lots of coffee. The Arc Angel volunteers, as well as the medical team were extremely caring and helpful and someone was checking on me every 10 mins if not less. My feet were fine but were like prunes and I couldn’t help but think if only I had changed socks earlier. But it wouldn’t have made any difference my feet were fine in Lands End as the rain hadn’t come, it was irrelevant.
My feet dried out and I got warm(er) and I was very comfy. I did the obligatory FB update and finally had time to check messages, and comments and was astounded by the amount of people who had been following the tracker and sending support to me – I am still truly grateful to you all for this. I called my wife before posting the FB update as I thought that might be best!
My mum had been following the tracker and had called as she spotted my retirement. She had got well into it, who had finished already, who else was where. She managed to tell me where other people I knew had got to, Lee Scott, Paul Wootten, Dawn and my partner throughout the night, Harry Mcalinden, who she confirmed had dropped somewhere around Sennan Cove where I lost him.
I felt very content and calm, which was rudely interrupted by someone who needed the medical bed more than I did. He looked pretty much like I did when I came in and I found a very comfy seat next to the radiator. There were others, another Scottish guy who had made it to St Ives but had decided his day was done as well. He managed to get warm whilst wrapped in a sleeping bag which he somehow managed to fall asleep whilst sat at a table in an assembly style hard plastic chair. We chatted later on the way back to Porthtowan about races we had planned and the year ahead as well as out various tales of the last 24 hours. He was kind enough to let me have a shower in his lovely little flat overlooking the beach, which was a much better option that trying to achieve this in the cramped campervan shower cubicle.
As we got to the finish, lots of people were already there and others were arriving every now and again. I saw Stephen Cousins (filmmyrun.com fame) arrive who whilst had achieved a second sub 30 hour finish in two years, was a little disappointed as he had hoped for sub 26 hours (hence he was without the camera). I don’t think many people who finished, achieved what they had expected and I am still in awe of how the leading two managed to go sub24 hours with the additional mileage and the mud through those early stages.
I was later told that the winners had run together for a large section of the race but in the home straight it was agreed that one of them would take the win and so crossed the line 20 seconds ahead of the other. I don’t know the full story about why, but how many races outside of the ultra-running community would you see that happen? None.
I gathered my kit, had a shower and headed back to the van. Stopping en-route to buy food and beer at Aldi in Redruth. I bought 4 bottles of beer. I’m not sure why I thought I might be able to drink 4 bottles of beer but I did anyway. I got the heater on in the van, made some tea, emptied all my bags and tried to do what I could to get ready to leave early the next morning. Boy was I glad I didn’t have to climb the ladder to the bed that was never going to happen.
I opened a beer and it went down very well. I had been texting my wife and I think had commented that I would likely be asleep by 815pm as I was getting tired. I opened a second beer, but I never finished it. I think I made it to about ten past eight and I was gone. I slept really well, although I did have a pain in the left ankle (where I had fallen earlier) as I slept on my left side.
I woke up fairly early, had breakfast and got my stuff ready to go. I then went to fetch the car so I could load up and leave. I got outside and thought, OK where’s the car. Shit. I have no idea. I recall using google maps to find the van the night before and parking only 180 yards from the van and a few turns of a corner, but I couldn’t find the bloody thing. I walked around in the rain for 40 mins, and even had to go back to the van to charge my phone as I was using the maps again to try to remember which turns I had made and where it could be. I clocked up 5000 steps in the process! It loosened the legs I suppose.
I had even texted my Airbnb host and explained, asking her to drive me around to find the car and I would give her money. It was early and she hadn’t text me back so I went out again after realising that Waze (the Sat Nav app) had marked the location of where I parked, I just didn’t realise it did it. I instantly found the car about a 2 minute walk away. I know I must have walked past it two or three times though earlier that morning. It just shows how ineffective the brain is when it’s tired, I never even thought to check/mark where I was parked – it’s not even as if I knew the area. So stupid!
I loaded the car and headed home. The journey was uneventful and I made it home to near Cardiff in decent time. My wife and kids were out so I had time to unload, put a wash on, have a bath etc.. I was walking up and down the stairs like a normal person. It was very strange and unexpected.
Later that night I put my feet up to watch some telly. Took off my compression socks and out of nowhere I had a huge swollen ankle. My feet were swollen, I knew this and expected it, but the ankle was bad and only on the left leg. Clearly a result of the fall. It hadn’t hurt though until I took the sock off, I was walking fine, up and down the stairs, but all of sudden it hurt and really affected my ability to walk.
I went for x-rays on the Tuesday to check nothing was broken – complete overreaction and all was fine. The feet swelling was gone by Friday but still now (2 weeks on) I have a small swelling just above the left ankle, which feels different to fluid retention. It is getting better but slowly and I haven’t run on it as yet, not that I feel like I’ve wanted to so far, but I will do a gentle few miles later today and see what happens.
So what’s next?
I have a short ultra (33.5 miles) in 6 weeks on the Welsh Coastal path, a race I have done a few times and enjoy. I’m undecided yet if I will trundle around with friends or race it and target a top 5 finish.
However, as a result of knowing I was physically in a good place and as I want to get the DNF monkey off my back, I’m planning a challenging 100 miler in the Brecon Beacons in June – subject to the ankle being ok. SW100 from runwalkcrawl. I did the 50 a few years ago and it remains my best ever event, from the route, to my fitness, to my performance. I’ve wanted to do the 100 version ever since.
As for the Arc. I know what went wrong. I learnt lessons about this race, myself and my preparation for a challenge of this kind. Everyone I have spoken to who DNF the Arc this year has said they are going back next year. No wonder this race has grown the reputation it has in the limited time it’s been going.
Since the race, the ITRA have notified Mudcrew that the race only now deserves 5 UTMB points on their formulae of feet/km. I think we would all agree that such a simple formula for determining the number of UTMB points is unfair for this race; especially as they charge what I am sure won’t be an insignificant sum of money for the privilege of being awarded UTMB points.
Mudcrew created the Arc to be challenging in a number of ways; many are far more subtle than simple elevation gain. The time of year, the distance between the checkpoints and the cut offs, specifically at St Ives. I know some people are drawn to races by UTMB points but I think for most people, the challenge of the Arc is more than enough to draw them to it/back to it.
I know it is for me. See you next year Cornwall. I will get that buckle and I don’t care if it is Silver. I will have my vengeance!
Finally a huge thank you to Mudrcew for an exceptional race, the 150 or so Arc Angels for their support during the race, Andy Persson (andyontherun FB fame) for lending me his Etrex, Joe Timmins from runwalkcrawl for pre-race advice, Lee Scott for finally talking me into entering in the first place, Harry Mcalinden for conversation and distraction through the Friday night.
Most importantly though to my wife and children who allow me to train for and go away a few times a year to do these little adventures. Hannah is amazing, who whilst working full time, due to my 3 hour a day commute, also does all the pick-up and drop off of the children each day. Luckily for me, she runs too and so she gets it. She knows how much being able to undertake these races/challenges means to me and supports me 100%.