I Survived…..!

Riddle runs 20 miles around the Peak District hills for the Laureus Foundation, for the challenge and for fun…

Article by Sam Clark

During my time in the tropics I ran the Singapore half marathon. A sweaty affair winding through gleaming cathedrals of commerce. In a country where you can break into a cascade of sweat moving between an air-conditioned taxi and an air-conditioned bar, I convinced my legs to carry me 13 miles in 30-plus degree heat and 100% humidity on the pristine, marble smooth roads uncharacteristically littered with fizzy energy drink bottles and power gel wrappers.

A few years later I find myself in a small car park in the woods with a small group of worryingly athletic looking people trying to keep warm as early morning mist blew around our exposed limbs. I was here to attempt the Ladybower 20, a run on the gravel tracks of the beautiful Derwent Valley, looping around Ladybower, Derwent and Howden reservoirs.

I have Michael Vaughan to thank for this early morning slog around the Derbyshire countryside. You may have read in last month’s Riddle, Michael invited me to his gym, Fitism, which he is a shareholder in. It’s thanks to the gym’s founder, Matt Kay’s knowledge, training, support and encouragement that I was on the start line with a more than optimistic chance of reaching the finish line!

The race briefing notes say we should be self-sufficient and carry all the protective clothing, water and nutrition we may need. They state this is not to worry us, they just want us to be ‘under no illusion about the kind of race this is.’ I was definitely under no illusion of that! It was clear we weren’t going to be pampered with power gels and there was no sign of the large massage marquee generously provided at the finish in Singapore.

Half the small field was there for the eye watering 50 mile Ultra marathon, which rather disappointingly means our trifling 20 miler was effectively the day’s “fun run”! But this did nothing to dampen my nervous excitement.

I’ll spare you the details of my epic struggle of man vs miles. Suffice to say, there was quite a lot of pain, happily no blood or tears and it ended with a heroic sprint for the finish. Although, for ‘heroic sprint’ read ‘maniacal shuffle’ and the Olympic style dive for the line was more of a tumble into a relieved heap.

Thanks to a pair of Walsh trainers my feet survived intact and without a single blister. You can read how proud I was to ‘run’ in the footsteps of truly heroic athletes wearing these iconic British made trainers when I visited the factory on behalf of Riddle.

I would also like to give a huge thank you to all the people who generously sponsored the run for the Laureus Foundation, an inspirational charity helping children and young people around the world find safer and better lives through sport. If you would like to add to this please go to our secure, JustGiving account: www.justgiving.com/Samuel-Clark-Riddle/  riddle_stop 2

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