Get your 401 on!

The 401 Festival of Running run down run report thanks to Kev Church…

Four Webbers, two Church’s, six races, seven medals, one weekend…

Considering the guy who organised this weekend’s 401 Festival of Running had run 401 marathons in as many days, the Web-Church’s one marathon over 2 days doesn’t seem that big a deal does it?

Forsaking our normal family pilgrimage to the Severn Bridge Half we decided last year -when we were all on the top of our game- to take on the four race, 26.2 miles over 2 days 401 challenge.

Fast forward a year and the four of us were doubting we’d even complete it!

Mrs Webber had spent more time on two wheels than on two feet, Mr Webber is as fit as a butcher’s dog but hadn’t put any big miles in for ages. Mr and Mrs C had to contend with injury, illness and real life (and a penchant for holidays and wine) and hadn’t ran any distance really since June.

To cut what could be a very long story short, the challenge started at 2pm on the Saturday with the 5k which we all treated as a warmup. Medal number 1 in the bag.

The kid’s 1-mile was next and saw Holly and Wilfred show us how to make it look effortless.

4:30pm (!!) saw the start of the half marathon, a two lap, warm, scenic, torture trail around the Marina and nature reserve.

We did it!! Medal two in the bag and 16.1 miles done. Now for some downtime and an outdoor screening of The Greatest Showman which – coupled with some much needed food and a bottle of wine from Lidl – was a perfect end to an amazing day.

Day two:

Travelodge was gurt comfy but the aches and strains were starting to show and it was peeing down with rain.

Doubts were flying around like tree branches but after a ‘spoons breakfast and some coffee we were ‘ready’.

At 10am we lined up once again for the 401 10k.

We were soaked already but the atmosphere was amazing!

Boom! All back safe. The routes are all quite repetitive and all start and end on the same hill. Shaz’s toothache was giving her more grief than her quad pain and my legs were feeling like strawberry laces but we were happy with how far we’d come. Medal number 3…earned.

Holly and Wilfred aced the kid’s 500m in the driving rain and that just left the little matter of the final race to top it up to the full 26.2.

There was no point changing into something dry…nowhere and nothing was dry.

Lining up for the last race were only the 120 or so people who had signed up for the full challenge.

We were all determined to get it done/over with and hit the hill running at 12:30 for the final 6.1K.

We all crossed the line to be met by Ben Smith himself handing out the fourth and fifth medal to complete the set.

The organisation, marshalling and venue of the festival was spot on.

Ben was all over the event ensuring it was a success and meeting and inspiring people.

Shout out to the finish line MC who endured the extremes of weather to make people feel like returning heroes each race.

Has it reignited our love for distance running?

We’ll see…

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