White Rose Ultra Race Report

After supporting Phil James and Naz on their 60 mile White rose ultra last year I decided I wanted to do one. So after chatting with a few people who have done ultra marathons I decided to join some of my fellow hoops and signed up for the 30 mile White rose ultra.
Team Saltwell consisted of Naz and his side kick Phil James, Lois, lisa Stephenson, Rob Masson, Harra the Legend, Scott, John Longstaff, The two Joannes, Barry and paul who are mates of Harra and Phil James and me. The night before the race we decided to register and collect our numbers from the race HQ. So glad we did as we realised the hotel was further away than we thought.
The night before was mainly fueling and resting before the big day. Race day started with a 5:30am wake up and leaving the hotel at 6:30am to make our way to race HQ. Standing in a room at the race HQ surrounded hundreds of ultra runners I felt a bit out of my depth but after a few hugs and manly hugs from my team mates, I was ready. It was already decided that the two Joannes would stay with me on the race. Our tatics were to walk the hills and run the down hills and the flat. Team photo done, it was time for the race to start. Off we went straight up a hill. Walking it seemed to be most peoples race tactic too.
Phil James’ mate Paul decided to run with me and the two Joannes. After a couple of miles of walking up hills and running down hills I thought to myself, I’m enjoying this. Then It came to the long slog up the highest point of the race where the first water point was. It was windy and cold at this point which showed why we needed the kit. What I can remember of the first 10 miles was hills, more hills and mud. We had a great support crew of young swanny and Steve Anderson on their bikes for 27 miles of this race. We reached the first check point and we welcomed by Alison Slaymaker, quick re fuel and we were off again.
15 miles into the race we had to walk up a massive hill that just kept on going and getting steeper. By this point I was getting tired, my legs were hurting and I was sick of going up hills. My good mood had started to go and I was finding it tough. We reached the top of this hill to have to go down a steep muddy path. I knew from supporting at the race last year that we had to go around some pylons and we could see them but everytime we seemed to get close to them there would be a sign to go a different way.
We eventualy reached about mile 18 and Alison was there with food for us. At this point I was feeling sick, tired and in pain from all the steep hills and steep down hills. I realy wanted to quit. Ive never felt so down in a race. We plodded on walking up the hills and running when we could. The terrain in some parts was horrible and hard even to walk on. At mile 26.2 Joanne Anderson asked if I had ever done a marathon. My reply was no. Then her reply was you have now. For some reason I got my second wind and I was starting to enjoy it again. Then we realised we only had 3 miles to go. By this time Joanne Wollaston was struggling and in pain. Then at 28 miles she told us to go ahead and leave her in the safe hands of young swanny to support her to the finish.
So off we went thinking get in, we have done it, until we turned a corner at mile 29 and there it was another massive hill to climb. I mean, what person puts a massive steep hill that close to a finish of a race? Do they not think we have gone up enough hills? We got to the top and I was struggling to keep up with Paul and Joanne and struggling to not be sick, so I told them to go on without me.
Afer a quick spew in a bush I was off again but the last half mile I was getting pulled along by two ladies who we had kept overtaking for most of the race. It was a case of saying to each other “come on we can do this” with a few swear words. This last half mile we overtook a few other runners and I was thinking where the hell is this finish. Then all of a sudden Phil James appeared and told me I had only 100 metres to go.
The two ladies and I managed to find enough speed and energy to look good over the finish line. I thought to myself, yes, Ive done it. I was in so much pain and so tired but could not believe that I had just done my first marathon and ultra marathon in the same day on such a hilly brutal course. Now it was time to get hugs from my team mates.
I would like to thank everyone who has trained with me and given me advice and to all the very generous people who have sponsored me to do this event. As I type this I have raised £1000 for the Huntingtons disease association. During this event I met loads of lovely people. Cant wait to do it again next year to beat this year’s time.
Phil Askew