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Brutal Events - The Oner Recci Part 3 - Lulworth Cove to Studland (end!)

Ironjediby IronjediMar 22nd 2015
Brutal Events - The Oner Recci Part 3 - Lulworth Cove to Studland (end!)
The four musketeers are at it again.

Saturday 21st March, three weeks before the big race, we decided to meet one last time to bosh out the third coastal marathon of the Oner route. Starting at 9am from Lulworth Cove - final destination, Studland! The day was absolutely stunning, the sun was out and the scenery was beautiful.

We all met up, Grant and I armed with some "cheating poles". This would be interesting as neither of us had ever used them before. I had done lots of research, taken advice from far more experienced Ultra people and the best poles out there seemed to be Mountain King Trail Blaze. I opted for the superlight aluminium. Super light at 110 grams per pole.

So we set off on the path which heads straight up onto the ridge and the Lulworth ranges, which opened at 9am. It was like a sketch from "Forrest Gump", legs and poles all over the place. It was a miracle that Grant and I didn't end up entangled in a heap. Still, it gave Jon and Martyn something to laugh about.

I soon got the hang of the poles. They became extensions of my arms. Every so often we would clash them together. This would remind me of the "Ghostbusters" film quote "Don't cross the streams (poles). Why? It would be very bad"! Well it kept me amused.
As we ran down off the ranges Martyn was running ahead, he then went off the path and headed towards one of the cliff fences. It crossed my mind that he had had enough and was going to jump. It seemed slightly over the top as we only had about 22 miles left to run! As I got closer, I thought that there was a coat hanging on the fence, however as we caught up with him I saw that it was a fully grown deer which had caught its leg on the fence and was now trapped between the barbed wire. The poor deer was just pulling at it, desperate to free itself. We tried to free the leg from the wire but it was so tight. The deer had, in it's panic, stripped the flesh down to the bone and was clearly in a massive amount of distress. Between the four of us we set about attempting to free it. I jumped over the fence and picked it up in my arms. I don’t know whether it was the adrenaline or not but although this was a huge beast it felt so light. As I picked it up and held it like a baby it just moaned and whimpered at me. I was pretty worried that the deer was going to bite me, however it just let me help it. I held the deer back over the fence, far enough for the wire to loosen, and the guys pulled the foot out. I put the deer down and it limped away and then stopped, sat down and looked back at us as if to say “thank you”. It was a really touching moment. Whether it dragged itself off the cliff, found somewhere to fall asleep and die in peace or whether it managed to eat and recover, we will never know. But at least it wasn’t going to die trapped, struggling to the point of exhaustion and in immense pain. We had done alright by it.

Enough of the break, we had a run to do. As we ran off we reflected on the deer incident. The path underfoot was mostly either grass or mud. The mud was firm and made for good running conditions. This would be a different matter in the rain! Did I say the weather was glorious? The course was undulating, well actually it was pretty brutal, up and down massive hills and a mass of steps built into the path. Why is it that when they make these steps they always seem to make them just slightly higher than a normal step so you have to overstretch or reach for each one? These step designers could make life so much easier if only they got their measurements right. We did go up and down some steep steps and I asked Jon if these were the dreaded steps I had previously read about and had a heart sink moment when he said no.
We headed on to St Aldhelms Head where we found the dreaded steps, they were steep down and even steeper going up. I forgot to count how many but declined the offer of going back down to count. I was loving the Cheating Poles, they even helped on the steps. We continued up and down dale until we came to a really steep decline. Up ahead you could see a path zig zagging up the side of a hill. Grant commented how it looked easy! After the not so easy climb we hugged the cliff edge all the way to Durston Head, stopped on route to take some pictures and admire the lighthouse. We arrived at Durlston Country Park and stopped for what I can only describe as a “picnic at the globe”. Grant was in need of the toilet, Martyn was suffering with knee problems, Jon was on form and I was stuffing my face with the contents of my bag. I started eating early on today’s run and continued to eat throughout the run and for hours after!
I reluctantly offered my poles to Martyn to help take some of the pressure off his knee. Inside I was crying! How would I cope without the poles which had now become extensions of my arms? What a difference without them. I can honestly say there was a noticeable difference in the pressure going through my legs. I love those poles! On reflection since then, I have decided that I will collect them at the half way point of the race to give me something to look forward to.

We ran down to Swanage and reached the 19 mile point, #mandown. Martyn called it a day due to his knee, there was no point causing further injury when the race was only three weeks away. He headed for a cream tea and the arcades on the sea front. The three of us continued our run around Swanage and up onto the white cliffs. By the time we reached the top of the cliffs, at 21 miles in, #mandown. Grant called it a day and set off walking towards Studland village via the direct route, unbeknown to us he was heading straight to the Banks Arms pub for full fat Coke and salty chips.
Jon and I pushed on, keen to get the section finished. At the top of the white cliffs Jon said it was all downhill to the finish. Great, 4 miles left and they were all going to be downhill, music to my ears. Underfoot was soft grass as we ran down to Old Harry's Rocks. They are spectacular and until then I had only ever seen them from a ferry to France. We stopped for a quick photo and then pushed on to the beach at Studland.

We reached the beach and were hit full in the face by mother nature in the form of the wind! Of course it would be against us, and why not? We ran along the beach which was by far the flattest part of the day's section towards the naturists beach. On passing the warning signs we were on the lookout but you would have to be a brave soul in this wind to have any of your bits out. The tide was out and we had some hard sand to run on so our progress was quick, Before I knew it we were running over the soft sand, across a small footbridge and into the car park where a number of hours earlier we had left a car. The beach was about 5k long and pretty tough going.

We had finished, Jon shook my hand and I was well chuffed that we had made it. He said “we did a good thing with the deer”. Clearly we had all thought about the deer over the course of the day. So, in 6 hours 33 minutes, 5000ft of ascent, 5000 calories burnt and 27.3 miles we were done. I drank Martyn’s chocolate milkshake â€" I was sure sure he wouldn’t mind - and then Jon and I drove back to retrieve Grant from the pub and Martyn from the arcade. Another great day with fantastic company along one of the most stunning coastlines this country has to offer. Now all we need to do is put the three reccis together in 24 hours. How hard could it be???

Eeeeeeeesay!!! Fuelled throughout the day by Jackoatbars (cranberry), Science and Fitness Berry drink (mixing it up a little), 9Bars, yogurt coated raisins, houmous, cheese and lettuce sandwich thins, a banana and my wife’s homemade flapjack. #feedthemachine
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