Day 29 – Pollionnay to St Croix
The day began with some very steep hills ranging from 300 metres to 600, just over half of Ben Nevis, Britain’s highest mountain. The weather was perfect, overcast and mild, as I progressed through the small villages I took a moment to sit down and have a think to myself about life in general and about how fortunate I am to be healthy and able bodied enough to do consecutive marathons when so many of the people I am trying to help do not have the full use of their limbs.
Being out here alone running with hours to think has given me an entire new outlook of my life and has also made me appreciate even more than I had done previously my friends and loved ones. The day finished with a 8k hill and then a descent into the beautiful St Croix, it just so happened that there was an old church/castle in the village that had been converted into a hotel, upon arrival we enquired about rooms and were amazed at the price so we moved our bags in and sat out in the sun drinking some juice.
The village was stunning, one of my favourite places so far and there was also a tour of the grounds which we took and thoroughly enjoyed, a great day all In all.
Day 30 – St Croix to Campagne (not the famous region)
Woke up to a fantastic blue sky and breakfast on the terrace of the hotel, strong coffee in France which is great for me but not so much for my hydrated. After breakfast I knew that I had a climb out of the valley floor from the start me and Ian decided that I would just see him at the top of the mountain, some 642 metres up. Upon reaching the top I felt fantastic after a dodgy moment after two miles where my tank felt empty for the first time, a big drink and I was bounding upwards again.
At the top I was then informed of an easy 9km downhill to the city called Contreu, as I descended I was awe struck at the sights of the River Rhone flowing through the City, it was at this point that I posted on social media the simple words “I’m so lucky” I truly meant it, I felt on top of the world and honorured to be where I stood.
I took a moment to reflect on my Mum and the real reason that I am doing this challenge, I smiled as I thought about my Mum and carried on downwards. I reached the floor of the valley and we passed through the heart of the City with flyers in hand and Ian beeping the car horn.
The next stretch was 11km along cycle path on the river Rhone, halfway through it I received a call that I had been fearing. It was Ian who informed me that the car had a flat, I carried on running as he was quite a bit behind me until I met my good friend and work colleague Judith with her parents, it was such a buzz to see a familiar face from home and I was greeted with an ice cold Irn Bru, that was gone in seconds.
I had called my breakdown cover in the UK and they had dispatched a recovery car to Ians location, I sat with my friends and chatted and the reality of what I had achieved sunk in a little as we chatted. Ian managed to get sorted and about 45 minutes later arrived with 2 new back tyres, unfortunately amounting to a cost of 260 euros, ouch! We ran the final 4 miles together and they flew in, if only I had a running buddy all of the time!
A mixed day but Ian coped admirably and probably better than I would have done myself. 30 under the belt, 20 to go, loving every step