Monday, May 31, 2010

No sleep 'til Mizen!

The dust is now starting to settle on what was an amazing adventure for Jo and her crew. I worked it out that in a period of 144 hours, we had about 18 hours sleep! I didn't seem to notice how tired I was at the time and I think I am still catching up now.

As a non runner it was a totally unique experience for me to be part of the support crew. I drove the Campervan, prepared Jo's food, drink and meds, spoke to the media, liaised with support runners and worried continually about Jo and her feet.

We met some amazing people along the way - staff in hotels, massage therapists, witnesses along the route and especially the support cyclists and runners. They were very generous with their time and energy and made me laugh. It was clear that many of them were in awe of Jo and the challenge she was undertaking - as we all were. Jo was so focused in spite of her obvious pain.

We were fortunate enough to have much of what we needed for the trip provided by sponsors. Jo went through about 50 or so Lucozade Sports drinks, several Nuun tablets to replace her electrolytes, several packs of Physicool to cool and treat her poor feet, lots of fig rolls, ham and jam sandwiches - the campervan really did serve as her mobile base camp and for that we are extremely grateful to Vanderlust.

In the last 48 hours, when we were really working against the clock and Jo must have been running on less than empty, the pressure was really on. The event went through the night with the end goal finally in sight. I cannot describe the feeling, as just a crew member, of getting to Mizen Head. Half elated and half wiped out. We had to go through a site safety briefing and wear a hard hat, glasses and hi viz vests before being led out to where the bridge once was - it had been demolished and was now a construction site. We made our way across scaffolding 45 metres above sea level. Over 3 foot girders and under 3 foot girders, down planks, up planks - at the time I had no concept of how high up we were or that there was just rocks and sea below. There were 99 steps down and a winding pathway before the final few steps to the beacon. Jo must have thought the end would never come! Don't forget she had to retrace this route on the way back - except the 99 steps were now up!

For any of you who haven't been, Mizen Head has the most amazing view and the visitors centre(we had to revisit from Limerick last weekend due to the bike being left behind - long story) was fabulous, especially for kids. They couldn't have been more helpful.

The event had great media coverage, especially from the Irish speaking press, the Carers Association really have benefited both from the money raised - thank you if you donated, and from enhancing it's profile.

Would I do it again? Not this year, but I have ideas for next year!!!

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