Today was always going to be an important day in 2015. My parents are celebrating their 40th wedding Anniversary and as a result I had decided to enter the Nottingham Robin Hood Half Marathon in commemoration of my Dad’s ongoing battle with Lung Cancer and the great love and support my mum has shown him, especially over the last few months.
Best laid plans though, David & I find ourselves in Spain instead of Nottingham so instead of doing the Robin Hood Half Marathon I instead decided to run it here on my own. Fortunately for me I have a very loving partner and David has stepped in to do this with me. At this stage I might have to call him a fool though with how the route would pan out…..
The route I had decided upon was based upon the Río Anllóns walk – a river/forest walk close to our house. The extra distance being made up by walking to and from the house itself. David was fully on-board though and the route looked incredible and we were sure we’d see some great sights. The problem being though we had now turned the Half Marathon into a ‘Half Marathon Cross Country Obstacle Hike’! I can tell you now it felt more like we had done a full marathon by the end of the half marathon challenge.
It all started really well along a forest track by the river with some spectacular views. The terrain started to change somewhat though once we had crossed over the Bridge at Caldas. We headed down what seemed like a pleasant woodland path only to be hit with a rocky muddy path with trees that had toppled just to make the course that little bit more challenging.
Nevertheless though we had our determined heads on and carried on along the path. After a while it settled down, though not for long. We started to find ourselves trekking through brambles and weeds that were waist high. Not the challenge we had anticipated but for some reason it almost added to the experience. Every so often I think we gave each other a knowing look of “what the…” but both knew that we had to simply carry on, if not for the wonderful sights that were up ahead but for my Dad.
Here are just a few of the pics we took along the route. One of my favourite is the bridge picture. You’ll notice at the end of it the tree had collapsed making getting over it that little more ‘exciting’. We particularly found jumping over small ravines and clambering under bridges that we almost had to crawl through quite funny yet tough at the same time. There was also elements of the challenge when we were walking on a path no wider than 15cm right at the side of the river that we thought it was going to become a very wet and sorrowful affair. Fortunately though we managed to get away unscathed.
One of the most exciting parts of the challenge was when we managed to catch a glimpse of one of the Otters that are meant to live along the river. It’s one of those moments that you just don’t think will happen. You read it on a tourist sign with them saying the types of wildlife that can be found in the area such as birds, Otters etc… but you never think you will see one. Naturally we grabbed for the camera and got the best shot we could before it disappeared into the river. At this stage it’s probably worth noting the location of the Otter was along a section of the route that we should not have been on due to taking a wrong turn. Let’s just say that a little ingenuity AKA Google Maps helped set us back on the right path. Thank god for a good GPS signal.
Another fun part that Bear Grylls would have been proud of was our take on exercise food. Instead of taking a host of energy drinks and chocolate bars with us we decided that we would take a couple of cans of beer and see how things went. As it goes we managed to find quite a bit of free food on route including Corn on the Cob, Blackberries and Chestnuts. Maybe not the food of champions but all quite nice and free. (Not sure the farmer would have been happy with the missing corn but that’s life).
It’s probably worth noting that the temperature here at present is floating around 28-31c. Not exactly a nice temperature to be lost in the woods in but the shaded areas by the river did protect us from becoming too burned.
At one point during the challenge and on a stretch where we were back in civilisation a farmer even approached us and asked if we were Perdido. (Lost). We weren’t lost though did take the opportunity to verify the map route we were taking seemed correct to him. No harm in checking….
We eventually arrived home a number of hours later and having covered 13.62 miles (half a mile too much) are both seemingly in good health. The brambles have left their marks on our ankles, legs and knees and speaking of knees, I’m pleased to say I can still walk. This isn’t to say that my right knee doesn’t feel like it’s had a sledge hammer chucked at it but we have survived.
I’d like to thank all of those that had sponsored so far. I was never in this to raise mega bucks though every penny helps as they say and Cancer Research UK are a charity I am proud to support and will continue to support. The fund raising page will remain open as this is only Challenge 1.
I’d like to wish my parents a wonderful 40th Wedding Anniversary. We love you very much and whilst we may not have sent you a card, I hope our accomplishment today goes a long way to show you how much we care and how you are always in our thoughts and in our hearts.