Stour Valley Ultra – 13/08/2022
Completed by Karen Bradley and Sharon Jones
The SVP ultra is renowned for being a hottie but running in the middle of a heatwave was an additional challenge. Setting off from Sudbury at 12:30 along a shady trail was shortly followed by long stretches of relentless 34 degree sun. Eleven miles to the first checkpoint was a challenge with 900ft of elevation. The SVP crew threw on an amazing grazing bar at the CP1 in Lamarsh and refuelled, we set off to shouts of encouragement doused in hoses of water.
Onwards though beautiful Suffolk countryside, albeit burnt to a crisp in most places and still the rolling hills kept coming. Through CP2 at mile 19 with again much encouragement. The worst of the hills behind us. En route supporters kept popping up in the middle of nowhere offering water and ice cubes. Some small offering of shade was much appreciated.
At checkpoint 3 in Stratford St Mary we had done a marathon. Our arrival was announced on megaphone to the whole village. At this point it was just 5.5 miles to the finish. With restored energy and motivation we set off knowing we would complete the course. The latter day sun had reduced in intensity and shadows offered welcome respite from the days heat. Past Flatford Mill, which was barely noticed by us we continued. Finally arriving at the village of Brantham, finishing with huge support and real encouragement from all. 32 miles and 1600ft of elevation in the bag.
Finishing 10th and 11th out of 38 ladies an added bonus with Sharon 3rd in age group and Karen 4th in age group. A third of the 50k runners retired during demonstrating the challenging conditions of this event.
The Organisers of this event were second to none with info on every element of training and preparation available prior to entry. The SVP crew were just awesome hosing us down at every checkpoint, medics checking us over and water replenishment being done for us. For a first timer this was so much more enjoyable than expected. If you fancy having a go we would recommend this one.