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Thursday, 21 June 2012

Greensand Way Run Day 4 - Losing the Zebra Sleeping Bag, Pricks in our ears at 1000ft, a 850ft high doody, smacking, trig point planking and our First Fivesome

This was the final day of running of our four day run. There were more surprises in store too, including a few special surprise guest runners joining our group before lunch.....and one staying on for the rest of the whole run.

If you remember you left us 'sleeping' in our tents as the rain hammered down all night and the tents nearly washed away. I got about 30 minutes sleep. I got up in the morning very damp and we packed up our gear wet without caring as it was our last day.  I remember tweeting ' I feel so rested and energised and the weather is so nice I think Ill go for a little run'

We started off an hour earlier at 8am to buy us more rest time over the hilliest part of the Greensand Way. 

Dave had a zebra print sleeping bag that smelt like a badger had died in it. He wanted to throw it away (abandon it) in the woods to stop the smell and save weight.  Ive read Michael Crichton books and know what happens when you mess with nature so we convinced sherpa Dan to carry it until we could find a morally acceptable place to throw it away.

If you live in a house on the ascent to Leith Hill Tower near Snakes Hill and found a zebra print sleeping bag that smelt like a dead badger in your wheelie bin and wondered where it came That was us. 

Tillingbourne Water Fall. on the Greensand Way 
We ran past Tillingbourne Waterfall and began the slow steady 3 mile ascent towards Leith Hill Tower. It was raining and the visibility was very poor. This was dissapointing as we were about to run through the scenic hills of 'little switzerland' in low cloud with zero visibility.

Lee Claire Dan and Dave enjoying a coffee and breakfast at Leith Hill Tower  on the Greensand Way

We had some coffee and flapjacks for breakfast at Leith Hill Tower. On a good day you can see across to 17 counties from the Tower. When we were there we could barely see each other. 

Dave took the opportunity to do some acupunture on us in our ears. Claire has a few piercings in her ears , I have none. It helped re-centre my chukra and made my ears hot. 

Claire with Pins in ears on Leith Hill on the Greensand Way 

Lee having Acupuncture in his ears on Leith Hill on the Greensand Way  
We ran on over and down Leith Hill, We then climbed Holmbury Hill where I 'needed to go poop' . I disapeared into some bushes just off a path , got tangled in thorns with my leggings round my ankles and nearly fell down a slope. I chuckled as it occured to me I had had the highest Greensand Way doody at around 850ft up.
Dan in classic 'Greensand Way' pose on Pitch Hill
We got to Pitch Hill where Dan got the chance to pose for the classic Greensand Way 'Smack' bench picture (with no scenery due to the whiteout). He also got to do a trig point plank nearby......facing towards Fratton Bridge or 'true portsmouth magnetic'.

Dan Trig Point Planking on the Greensand Way at Pitch Hill
We ran down Pitch Hill ( I got us lost twice) and through Holmbury St Mary where we came across some interesting jubilee decorations in the form of baby tights on a line!

Jubilee baby tights in Holmbury St Mary on the Greensand Way 
Climbing up to Winterfold Heath we found we were very tired and running slower than expected. We were on a tight time schedule as we planned to meet friends at the White Horse at Hascombe at 1pm for a run to the Merry Harriers pub in Hambledon.

After some befuddled brain estimates we realised we had to really get our heads down and not take any breaks to get there on time. We slogged past Ewhurst Windmill where a walking event was taking place where people were walking 100 miles non stop and through the night. 

Running towards Graffham on the Greensand Way 
As we descended Winterfold heath I was really starting to flag again and the symptoms of low sodium were taking their toll again.  When we crossed the A281 I reckoned we were 15 minutes ahead of schedule so we took a well earned break where after eating some food and laying down felt a little bit better. We were all finding this part of the run very tough....except Dan....who never does.....ever.

We got to the White Horse about 15 minutes late. A packet of crisps made a real difference to how I felt ( a shot of salt to the system). A few of our friends were there to run with us for the 3 miles to the Merry Harriers and have lunch with us. Many of the guys were those that ran on the Easter Runday including my wife Dr G , Tim (of Greensand Way HQ fame) , Amerbob and Lydia. 

It was such a boost to have the guys with us. All my tiredness went away and the next 3 miles were really good fun. We got to the pub in high spirits and i had a massive lunch with loads of salt on my chips ( I mean loads) . Claires parents turned up as did the lovely guys from McAllister Thomas Fine Art Gallery. 

Meeting up and running with friends on the Greensand Way 
After lunch and on a whim our friend Lydia decided to run the next 12 miles with us all the way to the finish in Haslemere. This meant she would run a total of 15 miles with us that day. An amazing achievement.

Lydia continues the run with us from hambledon on the Greensand Way 
Famous Five on the Greensand Way at Hambledon
We ran through Hambledon and Witley and out towards Brook. We estimated we would get to The Swan pub to meet up with more friends around 8pm that evening. 

View from Hambledon on the Greensand Way looking out towards Black Down and our destination in the distance

Crossing the wide fields heading towards the A3 on the Greensand Way 

A Lee sized house in Hambledon on the Greensand Way 
We took our traditional break by the bridge under the A3  before gathering ourselves mentally for the long slow climb of Gibbet Hill overlooking the Devils Punchbowl.

Taking a break near Furzefield Wood on the Greensand Way 
The climb up Gibbett Hill was everything we knew it would be , long, tortuous and on very unsteady terrain. Over time Dan and Dave got well ahead of us . I knew that once we had cracked this summit the run was nearly over and it was basically just a 3 mile descent into Haslemere with very little more uphill. 

It wasnt a Race but Dan and Dave beat us to the top of Gibbett Hill on the Greensand Way

Having a celebratory 'sports drink' on the summit of Gibbet Hill. 

The Summit of Gibbett Hill was ace. The rain had backed off since lunch and we were awarded with views in most directions. Claire had brought little bottles of beer with us from her parents so we drank them to have a mini celebration at finishing the last big summit of the run. 

Lydia trig point planking on Gibbett Hill on the Greensand Way 

We also introduced Lydia to trig point planking which she was a natural at. The next few miles didn't take long in my head. Our feet had been wet all day and hurt a lot from a kind of runners trench foot which left my feet feeling raw and hot and painful. In no time at all we were in Haslemere running through the streets. As we got to the last passageway before Haslemere High Street we could hear our friends cheering us on. We got pictures and shared a bottle of champagne by the alleyway and the last Greensand Way sign.

Claire Dave Dan and Lee finishing running the whole 108 miles of the Greensand Way 
We had a meal in the Swan, I don't remember a huge amount about it. We were all in a great mood but very quickly I got very tired and just wanted to go home to bed.....................which I did.

Without having a shower.....I was too tired.

...................So that is the end of the days run.....the end of the Greensand Way run and the last blog post I will do for this blog.  I look back on the last 6 months with all the training with lots of smiles. We made lots of mistakes in training, laughed about them and blogged about them, learnt from them and achieved what we said we would do. We also beat the fundraising target of £4000 which I'm immensely proud of. We took great pictures, ran some amazing paths in training and all four of us earned our 'wings' as ultra long distance adventure runners. The run itself wasn't how I imagined it. It was different and more interesting because of it. 

Ive decided I wont be sad about not blogging here anymore. I'm going to continue blogging about my off road running ....and add to it my experiences as a pilot and diver too. 

I can 'feel' there will be other epic runs in the future. New paths, new challenges and maybe even new countries. 

Join me soon at

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