Caption: Liz taking part in the St Begas Ultra Trail Race in 2014
For years I have looked on with awe and envy at the people who have participated in the Brathay 10in10. The first time I learned of this event was on the day that I took part in my first marathon; The Brathay Windermere Marathon back in 2010. The 10in10 eventers set off about an hour before us, and I remember watching them, struggling to get my head around the fact that they had already completed 9 of these in the nine days before the main Windermere Marathon day – and still looked rather enthusiastic!
In years to follow, whenever I have driven through the Lakes when the 10in10 has been on, I have always beeped encouragement to the participants and have felt complete admiration and astonishment for what these people were achieving. Over the next few years I built up to doing some, I suppose, slightly more hardcore events myself but nothing on that scale.
I have got to know the team at Brathay a little better over the last seven years, mainly thanks to my husband, Wayne. Not only have I been able to see how much hard work and determination goes into holding these events, but also the amazing things they do at Brathay and the positive changes they make to young people’s lives within the community. There is a magic at Brathay that I have never felt anywhere else and you can see how passionate everyone is that is involved with their fantastic charity!
All of the above have made the urge to enter the 10in10 get stronger and stronger. This year’s application had been sat on my desk for weeks while the deadline crept closer and closer. My running hasn’t been great of late, as I have been suffering from calf pain when running and walking which I have been receiving treatment for. Doubting myself (and my legs), I decided that I wasn’t going to enter this year; what if they don’t improve, what if I can't do it, what if I let everyone down, what if I don’t get selected? But then an email popped into my inbox from Ally, the events coordinator, with the clear message “you won't know if you don’t try!” How true. So now they have my application, and the waiting begins.
I know it will be a tough challenge and I will have to put in hours and hours of training, come rain or shine. I know I will have to juggle my training with my already manic schedule, and I’m going to have to work even harder on the fundraising, but I am really excited for the challenge.
So what exactly is the Brathay 10 in 10?
The Brathay 10in10 has been described as the UK's ultimate endurance running event. 10 laps of Windermere, 262 miles, in 10 days.
When: 11th May 2018
Where: Brathay Hall, Ambleside, LA22 0HP
Back in 2007, Sir Christopher Ball suggested that the ASICS Windermere Marathon incorporated a '10 marathons in 10 days' endurance running event. Ten years later the event is known as one of the "UK's toughest running events".
"The event itself is fantastic. It's amazing. It's painful. It's scary. It's wonderful. It's dreadful. It's my proudest achievement ever. You just don't know what you can do until you try. When I first heard about the 10in10, I couldn't get my head round it. Why on earth would you want to do it? But a tiny seed was planted, and by 2012 it was an unstoppable force. Who would have thought that a middle-aged, slightly overweight, not very fast woman would be able to complete such an event?
I remember turning up at the January training weekend for the 10in10 and being in total awe of the other runners in the room. I felt enveloped by optimism. We were called "athletes"; there was a team to support us. No-one ever doubted we would succeed and because of that you start to believe it yourself." Eleanor Tillotson, 10in10 runner
If you would like to find out more about The Brathay Trust, you can visit their website here.