19 Jun

In For The Long Wall

Rat Race The Wall Ultramarathon

All roads lead to Rome, or Newcastle upon Tyne in this event, as 700 runners faced 69 miles and changeable weather through Hadrian’s Wall country. Those who are about to try we salute you...

One of several events from Rat Race Adventure Sports, The Wall 2018 took place on Saturday 16 June, starting from Carlisle Castle and finishing at the Millennium Bridge in Newcastle. There was the choice of running solo or as a relay team along a historic route featuring the Roman archaeological site Vindolanda, Walltown Crags Wall and Turret, and Birdoswald Fort. They had 26 hours to complete this tough challenge.
 
No navigation was needed as the route was waymarked and there were plenty of orange arrows keeping everyone in the right direction. This was particularly appreciated by the runners - including this correspondent - in the latter stages when pain and fatigue set in. Most of the route was on roads and public paths with the rest off-road, passing through the stunning Northumberland countryside. There were four generously provisioned pit stops with a range of facilities and checkpoints for entrants to have a quick drink and a handful of sweets.
 
runABC correspondent and regular ultra runner Jane Holt found The Wall to be a serious test: "We were fundraising for charity which acted as an incentive to finish and kept us going during the last and gruelling seven miles into Newcastle. People were walking or hobbling by this stage and according to a friend of ours who ran it, the last Pit Stop at Newburn resembled a field hospital in a war zone."
 
Rat Race used a new tracking system for families and friends to monitor the runners progress. Unfortunately, a software error caused the trackers to stop working and the organisers had to resort to a manual system as a fallback. They have offered a voucher to any runner affected by this issue. 
 
Thomas Joly de Lotbiniere conquered The Wall in 9:38:07, beating the 2015 course record by 5 minutes. Josefine Lissner was the first female in 11:42:39. Josh’s Joggers won the Relay in 10:49:44. 
 
700 runners took on The Wall and 446 solo runners and 7 relay teams emerged victorious from the contest. 
 
Image courtesy of Garfield Southall.