ON A filthy Sunday morning, Stratford Athletic Club duo Tara Lambert and Louise Stewart lined up for the Black Country ultra or, as it is also aptly known, the Dirt Run.
It was a very small field of around 40 runners, many of whom were using this as an opportunity to complete their various virtual marathons.
Although Stewart had run this distance before during the course of the year, this was her first official Ultra.
She said: “I had been doing a lot of training with Tara and it’s been very helpful to run with someone as experienced as she is with doing ultras.”
The weather was grim at first but the rain slowed down and by the afternoon the sun was out.
The terrain was mostly off road, on old railway lines and canal towpaths. There was some better scenery than expected given the location, but it was certainly not a course to run at night!
Given the amount of rain over the previous couple of days, it was bound to be wet. The Netherton tunnel is at 2.7km one of the longest in England and was around 2.6km of puddles.
This was nothing compared to miles 24-30 which were through lots of mud and flooded track.
Stewart remarked: “Finally I know why the event has its name! I was reasonably pleased to come in at 6:36, with Tara coming in at a very respectable 6:02.
“It has been a real learning experience for me and I now appreciate several aspects of racing an ultra that you don’t really experience when just doing it as a run. So, onwards and upwards to the next challenge!”