World 24

Friday, 8 June 2012

Grand Union Canal Race 2012

GUCR website info....Garscube Harriers' Debbie Martin-Consani wins the 'triple crown' this Jubilee weekend - 1st Finisher; 1st Lady; and recipient of the Steve Philips 'Run for your Life' Trophy (awarded to the first first-time finisher) in a new ladies' record time of 28 hours 1 minute.

As the nation was enjoying the holiday weekend and hundred of thousands were heading to London to join in the Queen's Diamond Jubilee celebrations, 97 hopefuls lined up at the Gas Street Basin in Birmingham with the aim of running 145 miles on the Grand Union Canal to the big smoke within the 45 hour time limit. As you can imagine it's not for the faint-hearted and in reality 50 per cent of the field won't make it

Most people - even hardened ultra-runners - didn't share my enthusiasm for the adventure.  Even up until last year, I would have never put myself forward as a candidate.  The analytical and thought-provoking Andy Cole commented on my last post that this race may cure my towpath related fetish.    After running 24 hours  around a central reservation last September, this was going to be am absolute joy. 

The first time I'd stepped foot on the Grand Union Canal was on Friday evening, when Sonic and I wandered down to check out the location of the race start.   I wasn't fazed by the distance, but I had concerns about my lack of course knowledge and being alone in the dark - with a map!  Until I looked at the map on the back of the race sweatshirt, I didn't even know what towns we passed.  My three points of reference were Birmingham, Milton Keynes and London.

At 6am on Saturday, June 2 we were off.  As with usual races, it attracts a mix bag of runners and abilities.  The forecast was for full-on heavy rain, so most were donned in waterproofs, hats and gloves.  You could easily spot the Scottish burd in the midst in only shorts and vest.  There was also a full range of shoe options: Road, trail, Hoka and a few speedsters in lightweights.  Pre-race this had sparked a debate on Facebook.  I had opted for Hoka, with the hope that it was just the Southern softies who deemed towpath as "off road" running.

During the first section (to Catherine de Barnes) I ran with James:  A race first-timer, father-of-two and soon-to-be Olympic touch bearer.  We were later joined by Steve, a ultra veteran who had been participating since the early 90s.  I joked that he probably invented the sport.  He was a self-confessed old school style runner and dropped Don Ritchie into conversation a few times.  The miles zipped by and it wasn't long before Sonic was on hand for a top up on supplies.  He told me I was third female and I left the support point on my own. 

Race strategy: My three goals were to finish (bronze), sub:30 (silver) and break the ladies record (gold).  Overall - to get my gold - I needed to average between 11 and 11:30 m/m.  I know I love an even-paced race, but even with the best intentions, there was no way I was going to run that in the early sections.  For me - over such a distance - there was always going to be a natural deterioration in pace. I think that's only human. It's really the speed and extent to which this deterioration happens.   There were no specific tactics, just relax and keep chipping away.

The competition: My main competitor was Emily Gelder.  I ran with her - well, when she was lapping me! - at the 24 hour race in September.  She's amazingly talented and I had her down as a sure-fire win.  I wasn't there to challenge anyway, I was there to challenge myself.  I never chased and if anyone was chasing me, I wasn't aware.

Support points: There were 47 support points in the race - probably lots more if you know the route - but I'd arrange to meet Sonic every 10 miles.  For the first 70 miles of the race, each runners is given a support point colour according to race number - green for odd and yellow for even - to ease congestion in the early stages of the race.

I'd love to give you a mile-by-mile breakdown, which I'm sure you would love, love (!?) to read, but it's all very vague.  I could tell you who I passed - as in, I could describe what they looked like - but I'm not sure when it happened.  I know I was picking my way through - running approx 9:30m/m - and the second lady was just in front when I met Sonic at mile 20.

Pic by Ross Langton
At the Shrewley Tunnel, I stopped to check the map and Cliff went passed me.  Super, someone to follow.  We chatted for an hour or so. Well, he chatted - mostly. He could certainly give the Gibbering Midget a run for her money!! Mind you he did have a fairly impressive resume of ultra races under his belt. After we passed the second placed lady, I let Cliff push on, as the pace was at the upper end of easy to me.

I'll spare you the graphics, but my stomach was really playing up and it was a bit stop-start for the next 10 miles.  I phoned ahead and asked Sonic to mix up some Resolve for me meeting him at 30 (or it could have been 40) miles.  When I got there, he told me I'd moved up to 11th position.   Then it was 10th, as someone had retired as I was leaving.

I later caught up with a Belgian runner, Wouter.  He said he was struggling from the off and didn't look like he was having a great time.  He wasn't going to give in to a female passing either, so we played leap frog for an hour of so.  I wanted to ask him if he was wearing girls' shorts - they were verging on criminal - but he clearly wasn't in the mood for joking.  He wasn't in the mood for chatting either, which was a shame for him because I was :-)  It was great having him around for a short while, as he was clearly more familiar with a map than I was. Anyway, we parted company as the route veers away from the canal at 45 miles.

I think I was about 50 miles in when I came to a confusing junction. Sonic was going to meet me somewhere in the vicinity, so I thought it was best to check.  In hindsight this is a bit ridiculous, but when I shouted to a rather chunky man steering a canal boat: "Excuse me.  Is this the way to London?" I shouldn't have been surprised when his response was: "London!??!  F**k off".  Thankfully a kind lady popped her head out from another canal boat and told me I was going to right way and wished me luck in the race.   The absurdity of the situation did make me laugh though.

The course:  It's gorgeous.  I was really impressed with how scenic it is.  And it's a house-spotters paradise, which pleased me as you know I love good nosey at people's houses.  The terrain is really varied, but I would say 80 per cent is on trail or grass. 

The race rules: They're pretty simple.  Numbers must be visible at all times.  Runners must carry a phone, the maps provided and an emergency blanket during hours of darkness. Competitors must reach the checkpoints by the closing times and leave within 40 minutes of arriving.   No poles.  Buddies allowed after 65 miles and you must call race HQ if you retire.
Jubilee celebrations: What a great weekend to have the race.  I can always say I ran to London for the Queens Diamond Jubilee Celebrations.  There was a real party atmosphere along the canal, with lots of barges decorated in Union Jacks, people in fancy dress, family outings and waterside BBQs. 

Sonic was keeping me posted on where I was in the race.  To me, it was way too early to bother, but I know he loves the analytical/tactical side to racing.  He did keep a note of how things were panning out, but unfortunately he didn't tell me and I threw it out with all the rubbish after the race.  So...this is all from memory...Sonic informed me I was closing the gap on Emily Gelder and was in 8th position when I met him at 45 miles. 

Picture by JONATHAN LEE
I passed through the Heart of England checkpoint at 53 miles and then caught up with a walking Cliff, who was struggling with "man-flu".  He said he was pushing on, but calling it a day at Navigation Bridge (70 ish miles).  He wished me well and shouted that Emily was only minutes in front.

It wasn't long before I saw Emily with her crew.  She was standing off-course eating jelly babies and I stopped to see how she was.  She was having issues with a sciatic nerve but was going to keep going.  We exchanged niceties - god, ultrarunning is so pleasant - and I moved on to meet Sonic at our next meeting place.

Even I wanted to greet him with high-fives, as I'd moved up to 4th position (1st female).  I was still too early to get excited though, as Id' barely made a dent in the distance.  Prior to the 100K mark at Blisworth tunnel, I passed Darryl, who was hobbling with quad issues.  I joked about his Facebook comment about wearing Asics DS Racers - more pleasantries - and then I moved in third place.

Sonic has met me prior to the route deviating off the canal and was going to direct me the two miles along the road to where it rejoins.  Thanks to Drew for the video of this!

The kit: I'm glad I wore my HOKA. Only problem was when the towpath sloped, having the extra height played havoc with my ankles. I started in my shorts, but change into long Skins at 65 miles as I couldn't take any more nettles stings and overgrown flora.   I had the new range lightweight Injiniji socks on, which I has to order from the States.  I love these socks, but when your feet are wet nothing is going to save them.  Ignorance is bliss though, so there was to be no sock changing until the end of the race.


Picture by Ross Langton
My next main focus was to get to Navigation Bridge (70 miles), which is billed as the the half way point - but only if you're really rubbish at maths!  The organises has relaxed the support ban at this point and it wasn't long before Sonic appeared before me.  He's Sh*t hot on support - only because he's such a high maintenance runner himself! - so he ran towards me to take food/drink "orders".

Runner number two - Bruce Moore - was sitting down on the bridge.  I was in and out as fast as possible.  The marshall  hanging over the bridge - out of ear/ear shot of runner number two - mouthing "you're second.  You're second" made me chuckle. 
I kept chipping away at the miles with my next "treat" being calling my Mum at 8pm to say goodnight to my boy.  I think I was 80 miles down at that point.  It was strange having a conversation about only have 65 miles to go!  Speaking to Cairn gave me a wee boost, as told me about being on a bus, having ice-cream, seeing boats and indulging in his favourite pastime - throwing stones in water!  A top day out in the life and times of a three-year-old.

I couldn't believe how quickly the hours were flying passed.  Of course, I think that down to generally feeling quite good and absolutely loving the race.

It got dark shortly after 9:30pm.  Sonic had informed me that Cliff was having a second wind, had a support runner and was closing in on me.   He was also seriously concerned about my lack of coherence - mentioning that I was acting like I'd been drinking.  Hand on heart, I thought I was fine.  But then again, I always think "I'm fine" when I've been drinking too.

I don't make secrets of the fact that I'm not comfortable in the dark - ever.  Running in a strange place in a the dark, freaked me out somewhat.  The hours of darkness really are all a bit of a mish-mash for me.  I was a bit highly strung when I was traipsing through thick grass.  I was running alongside the canal, but I was never sure it was the right canal.  I lost a lot of time faffing about with maps and dealing with my emotions.  My legs were great, but my head was all over the place.  The combination of slowing pace and torrential race, meant by body temperature was dropping.

It was quite eerie being out there alone - especially when four burly men appeared with their 10-stone rottweiler.  To be honest, they were lovely and seemed genuinely concerned about my safety. I called Sonic to see if he could come out and meet me - with layers, waterproofs and gloves. 

When I saw two head torches behind me - and I knew it was Cliff and his support runner, Matt - I think it's the only time I'll ever be as happy to be caught in a race.  We chatted for a bit and Cliff was going to the 100 mile checkpoint to pick up another runner, Richard Galbraith.  Who I know from WHW training runs and races! Small world, isn't it.

Sonic appeared, threw some clothes on me and directed around the "tricky bit" to the next checkpoint.  I was so glad he was there, as my brain wouldn't have coped with the directions.  I also swapped Garmins at this point, as I was to run 100 miles with mine (before the battery ran out) and then take Sonic's Garmin.

I had to stop to sort out my race number and pick up some supplies and the boys were off.  I was alone again, frantically trying to keep sight of their head torches.

Now, this is where is all goes ridiculously wrong!  There are quite a few bridges to cross over the next few miles.  In daylight, the directions will be quite intuitive, but in darkness the paranoia sets in.

It was pouring.  And I mean torrential. Which means all I could  see from the headlight was sheets of rain.  The path was completely flooded, so I was using the concrete path alongside the barges to run on.  And then I tripped over a barge ring, whilst trying to look at the map.  Now what's the worse thing that can happen when you're running along a canal, when your emotions are running high?  Yes, you got it.  I fell in.  No just a paddle, I mean full body submersion!

It all happened so quickly.  Before I knew it I was wadding about in the water - in the dark - trying to find the water bottle that had popped out of my belt. 

Ironically, someone had mentioned earlier in the race about someone in this race who's falling in the water during a Thames race and in my head I was thinking: "what a t*t".  ha ha.  How much did that come back and sting me in the a*s?!

Of course when I went for my mid-race swim, my iPhone and iPod came with me.  Joy!  I was out of the water as quickly as I got in and in a blind panic tried to call Sonic with said wet phone.  Not surprisingly, it wasn't playing ball and all Sonic heard was gurgling water before it switched off. 

I started running again, trying to rationalise the situation.  Really I was just as wet as I was before I got in the water and as long as I kept moving I wouldn't freeze.   I made the decision there that I wasn't going to tell Sonic about my mishap.  I was just a silly accident, and I thought he would use that and my scattiness earlier to pull me from the race. 

A while later - it could have been minutes or an hour - I saw a head torch bopping towards me and then Sonic shrieking my name.  He was quite frantic when he got to me, as he had been trying to call me and thought I was "face down in a water or raped and face down in the water or something".  I may have made noises to suggest that was a ludicrous suggestion and made the excuse that my phone got soaked in the rain. 

I moved on and managed to get myself in a tizzy trying to find bridge 139.  I kept coming to a dead end at bridge 153.  If I had half a brain at that point, I would have realised that the sequence of bridges to follow were 154 and 155 and therefore the map I had was marked wrong.  It took a bit of to-ing and fro-ing before the penny drop.

Of course, everything comes in threes.  Oh yes, there's more!  After falling in the canal, I managed to fall splat out three times after that.  I really needed to keep my wits about me and I'd left my wits somewhere in the hours of daylight.  Plus, with wearing Hoka, if you don't pick up your feet properly, you trip. Thankfully I was falling onto "dry" land though. On the third tumble though, I managed to crack the screen of Sonic's Garmin.  So far, I was an iPhone, iPod and Garmin down.  If anything the expense has got to be the best incentive not to DNF.

I decided to change clothes, as the cold was wearing me down.  I kept my shoes and socks on, but striped off and piled on top layers.  In hindsight, the ensemble was an absolute travesty!  Black and pink Skins, grey Montane long sleeve, blue WHW jacket and a maroon Montane waterproof.  But just having dry clothes and gloves made a massive difference

Around 1am, Sonic came out to meet prior to our next arrange meeting point to tell me I was just about to overtook the Richard Quennell who had been leading the whole way. It wasn't until I saw the race pictures, that I realised I ran the 24 hour with him! Sorry, Richard, it was dark and we probably weren't at our chattiest. Richard had by that point moved into second, as Cliff was in the lead. He didn't look in a great way, reduced to shuffling, and I felt quite bad running passed him. 

An hour later (say, around 2am) Sonic informed me that Cliff had pulled out and I was in the lead.  After passing Cliff walking at 50+ miles, I was surprised he'd picked it back up.  He lives near mile 115 (ish) of the course and we heard he had stopped into his house to pick up dry clothes and when he got there his house had been broken.  Then we heard he'd locked himself out, so I don't know what the story was.

As it got nearer 4am and I was willing it to get light again, I saw Sonic's head torch and then heard a female say "hello".  I recognised the voice instantly as belonging to the Gorgeous Gillian, who along with Brother Sonic, had driven up from Bournemouth.  They had been watching the race unfold and decided to make the trip as a surprise.  I don't know who was more delighted to see them.  I think it was more of a relief to Sonic, as my Mr Bean's Holiday antics were going to tip him over.

Brother Sonic was going to run the next five miles with me, until it got light.  It was a huge weight off my shoulders when Sonic took the maps off me.  Brother Sonic even offered to carry my bottle belt for me, but that had already become part of my DNA and might unbalance me.

We moved on.  Although I was adopting a walk/jog strategy, I was still moving quite strongly and was still in high spirits.  And it was so nice to have someone to talk too!!  Other than the imaginary people I'd been seeing along the way :-)  The fisherman who turned out to be a tree and the little fat lady in the red coat who was in fact a bin for dog waste...

Nutrition/Hydration:  I would say my eating was better than usual, but Sonic might disagree.  On the Friday evening, we'd gone to Asda and stocked up on the usual rubbish.  Two of everything, just to be sure.  I drank mostly energy drink, water with Nunn and Nourishment milk drinks.  I was saving my beloved flat Coke for later in the race, but even then only took a couple of small bottles.  Eating wise, I had a few sandwiches, Mrs Tilly's fudge, sweets, banana...and I think that's about it. Surprisingly (well, for me) I had about 10 gels.  Usually I save these for emergencies, but I bought the water-based SIS GO gels and they went down fairly easy.

At the 120 checkpoint, there was only mere marathon to go. Sonic joined me for the next five miles.  I used the opportunity to confess about my midnight swim.  In the cold light of day, it was quite humorous. 

For the next 10+ miles, I played a bit fartlek.  I would walk for a bit and then run to the next bridge/corner/sticky-out-tree.  And this got me through to Bell's Bridge, where I turned off the Grand Union Canal and started heading towards Paddington.

I saw the sign for 13 miles to go and started working out times in my head.  The night antics and the walk/jog had slowed me down, but I was still feeling pretty good.  My legs were fine.  Tired, but not sore at all.  I had well over two hours to do a half marathon.   Fine on normal circumstances, but not so great after 25+ hours of running.

If I wanted to break the record, I'd need to up the anti.  It was like someone switched on the light and I just kept going.  I heard Adrian Stott say to me "If you want something bad enough, you'll find away" like he said to me in Llandudno.  Sonic and Gillian were waiting at the final support point at H'Brough Tavern.  Sonic has clearly just woken up and looked a bit startled and bleary eyed when I passed through.  Even the poor marshall had to dart out of his van to come and get my number.

I was on a mission!  I needed to get to Little Venice by 28:11 to break the ladies' record.  In my head I was flying.  In reality I was doing 10m/m.  I was practically tapping the screen of the Garmin, as I thought I must have really broke it in the tumble :-)

I didn't know what the final distance was.  Although the race info states 145 miles, this is the distance on water.  With 13 miles to go, I added it up to nearer 149.  I was now using the twopath signs as a count down. 

I never really knew how far behind the next runner was.  We were just using hear say.  I just presumed it was a male runner and hell hath no fury like a man being "chicked"!

As it was now normal morning time, the path was getting busier with dog walkers/cyclists/runners.  I  just hoped they would see the race number and not think I'd escaped from an institution.

As the countdown signs for Paddington were getting closer, I could see lines of barges.  Of course, I knew it had to be Little Venice, but I stopped a runner to ask just to be sure.  Even though there's nothing more irritating than being stopped mid-Zone to give directions!

As I was nearing the finishing, I couldn't see anyone and started to panic.  I just seemed to keep running.   Then I saw a small gathering in the distance and hoped it wasn't another hallucination :-)  I crossed the line in 28:01, breaking the women's record by 11 minutes.  I think I did the last 13 miles in 2:12/2:15, which could possibly be my biggest athletic achievement to date.

I was absolutely, utterly and completely over the moon. Even now, I can't quite believe it. I'm not dillusional enough not to accept that my outright win was down on choosing a good year to race, but for now the ladies' record is mine.

Dick Kearn, Race Director, seemed just as pleased as me. Dick is a bit of a, erm, character. When I told a previous race finisher that I was going to enter, his top tip was: "Don't ask Dick any silly questions. Actually, don't ask him any questions at all". He doesn't take fools gladly and he certainly doesn't mince his words. Let's just say, I now know he's actually a big softie! Don't worry, Dick, your secret's safe with me.

Thank you very, very much to Sonic for being top notch on support. As usual, you were outstanding!  Sorry, for the mild panic moments though.  Oh and for breaking your Garmin - although I'm still not buying you a 910xt.  Thanks to Paul and Gillian for the surprise additional to my crew of one.   Words cannot describe how much it meant to me. I will be eternally grateful to you all. 

When we got back home on Monday, My Mum and Sister had organised a little welcoming party.  They were so chuffed, they didn't even say anything when I demolished a tray of sandwiches before the lunch was even ready!

So one week later (it took me longer to write, than run) and all is well.  My legs are OK - apart from the bruises and scratches - but my feet are a riot. Being wet for the best part of a day and gravel I had accumulated means the hoofs are a bit of a car crash.

It was an amazing experience and I loved being part of the race.  I might be back, as Sonic said if I won he was going to do it next year.  And that wasn't an hallucination :-) 

Click here for the Scottish Athletics, the Ultra Running World report and the Scottish Running Guide report.   Not surprisingly that they all say the same thing though :-)

Click here for full results

1st: Debbie Martin-Consani 28:01
2nd: Iveagh Jameson 28:53
3rd: Pete Summers 30:03
4th: Steve Charleston 30:38

2nd female Sarah Thorne 34:56

31 comments:

Colin Knox said...

F###ing EPIC!!!

Thomas said...

Phew, quite an epic adventure. And a breathtaking read. You could make a movie from that story. You just can't make this stuff up. Brilliant!

And what an amazing athletic performance! Chapeau!
I hope that secures you a place in the UK team for the 24h World Champs!

Caroline said...

Amazing performance and great report, which I've been eagerly awaiting! I cannot believe you actually fell in the canal, but understand how it could have happened in the dark and that weather.
Hope you recover well and get that GB spot!
Caroline x

Dale Jamieson said...

been looking forward to this one. Your's is some journey, Debs. Thomas is right.

Cracking effort from all concerned. Massive congratulations to you...........keep going

Anonymous said...

Great stuff Debs... So it's 4 miles shorter if you swim? I see what you were thinking ;-) How could team GB not want you now? Awesome! Neal x

Kaz said...

Debs, you are too funny!!!!! I didn't really think you had tripped into the canal and you did!!!! HaHa - what a shock. I could so see me doing that and can totally symapathise with you freaking out in the dark.
I really hope your feet heal quickly - v painful. I'm laughing at what footwear you're having to wear to work - I've found myself in a trekking sandal and huge bandaging over big toes (due to running related blisters) before at which my students had a hearty laugh as I'm sure you can imagine!!!!
Well done again, lady - truly deserved.

John Kynaston said...

Congratulations again Debs.

Having seen your feet on Tuesday I can vouch for the toughness you displayed in not only finishing but winning the whole race.

Absolutely superb performance and thanks so much for taking the time to write it up. Loved it.

chris m. said...

Debbie , top class running . Enjoy every minute of that victory . Awesome ! ! . Chris maher. ( joint 10th ) .

Silke said...

Debs, what can I say again? Awe inspiring! And I knew you had fallen into the canal when I saw your fb comment about your phone etc. I immediately said to T, I bet she fell in! Noo, he said, no way! What about that huge trophy? Did you manage to get it onto the plane?!Is it a watering can?! :-) Soooo well done and huge congratulations! Silke

ultra collie said...

brilliant achievement debbie..well done..amazing :)

Anonymous said...

Well done Debs what a fantastic achievment and brilliant read. Recover well. Hope you resting up.
Alyson

Emily Gelder said...

Debs
massive congratulations on your win. You rocked it. The weather was so bad - you were so gutsy to stick your head down and do such a great time. I look forward to seeing you soon at another race so I can congratulate you properly in person.Emily

Marco Consani said...

Absolutely fantastic. That was the best racing performance I have ever seen. Cairn and me are so proud of you.
To finish the race is a marvellous achievement. But to be first overall is just stunning and I hope that the GB selectors take note. I think that there is more to come from you and I can't wait to see it.

Mxxxx

Ps. Here is the link for the Garmin you owe me
http://sites.garmin.com/forerunner910xt/?lang=en&country=GB

Andy Cole said...

Not cured then? But not surprising after what was even for you an absolutely outstanding performance, has to be your best race yet! Just brilliant.

Vicky said...

Debs I have been waiting in anticipation on this report and you wrote a cracker! Amazing running. You really do just go from strength to strength. Congratulations from the Hart family.
You're an inspiration x
Vicky

Peter Duggan said...

Ann Trason, Pam Reed, Debs M-C! :-)

Davie said...

Brilliant race report and well done Debs!
Did I see you mention somewhere about an Ironman? Well given your history with bikes and now swimming during an ultra I'd suggest you stick to the day job!

Heather Calderwood said...

Well done Debbie!

Doing the Scottish Weegie Ladies proud! AMAZING!

Heather x

karinsmiles said...

Can't say better than what Colin said. That is absobloodylutely amazing. I love that you had a bedtime chat with Cairn on the way. And I can't believe you fell in and still went on and won. You are one incredible lady. What's next?

Kerry said...

WOW, how amazing are you. Like the others I realy didn't think you had actually fallen in!!! How strong are you to get out and keep running?

Well done.

Kerry

GERRY said...

Outstanding achievement Debs weel done. Great report, I am just trying to imagine what Marco was thinking after your soggy phone call.

Fiona Rennie said...

Absolutely brilliant! Water is nae bother to Scottish burds!

Enjoy your recovery xx

Rhona @ redwinerunner.co.uk said...

Been looking forward to reading this blog :)
What an epic adventure; I can't believe you fell in the canal!! It's unbelieveable what you've achieved; I really hope you get your place in the 24hr team as it's richly deserved. You're such an inspiration!
Rhona x

Anonymous said...

Simply marvellous! It was quite nervewracking waiting for updates, but wow! what a result! You get to wear your pants on the outside - Wonder Woman!
Pauline W xxx

MoNicoll said...

Awesome achievment - wiping the tears away! Well done girl!!

Anonymous said...

Brings it all back Debs. Fantastic report. Got me thinking about 2013. Well done again.
Steve Phillips. (look after the trophy, you deserve it)
www.c2crun.co.uk

Lindley Chambers said...

Fantastic, I did not finish this year but you did amazing. My mate Iveagh was the guy you chicked!
Well done on getting out of the canal after your dip.

Rajeev said...

Fantastic performance, Debbie! You are a star!!!

Rajeev

Keith Hughes said...

Sensational Debs, a run and a swim, brilliant.... You really are such an inspiration... Chopper would be proud ! You rock !

Santababy said...

absolutely incredible, i laughed & cried reading that. You are my hero. xxx

Crispin Walsh said...

Rob McCellan put me onto this blog and I'm so glad he did, what an amazing race review to go with an truly immense race and result, well done Debbie, truly heroic.