London to Brighton 100k Challenge Saturday 23rd May by Phil Coleman

Mother and son team Coleman (Neil and Patricia) competed in the London to Brighton Challenge on Saturday 24th May starting at 7.20 am at The Old Deer Park Richmond in heavy rain. We started along by the Thames on the footpath, it wasn’t very busy as we were stated off in sections. We decided to walk/Jog our way around. The first quarter of the route was ok as it was on roads. The rest however was off road, through extremely muddy Woods. The rain made all the off roading very hard as everywhere was thick mud.
Along the way there were rest stops every 12/15K they provided a variety of snacks at the different stops and hot food at half way. Neil managed to eat his way through a burger. They provide gels and drinks as well as mars bars/ bagels etc. By 9pm head torches were needed, Glow sticks were provided as markers through the route but as we were running though woods torches were definitely needed. At 56K Phillip Coleman was was driving his way round the route to meet us at the different stops was tempted to pull Patricia Coleman out as she had bad blisters on her feet from having wet/muddy trainers and coldness from the rain. Patricia however declined and carried on.
During the night due to the mud Patricia lost not one but both shoes and had to be saved by Neil who had to fish them out of the mud. The whole challenge was very well signposted but i would say not very well marshalled. At the different stops there were many people to help you including red cross and action challenge but not  many out on the actual route.
We eventually came in to Brighton Race course and crossed the finishing line in 21 Hrs and 9 mins. The organisers have extended the finishing time by two hours due to the mud. When we finished we were given champagne, medals and a finisher t-shirt to go with the London to Brighton challenger t-shirt we got before starting and a neck warmer/bandanna. Due to the thick mud Neil has injured a knee and ankle but thankfully was strapped up up by the Red Cross along the route.
London to Brighton Challenge has been said to be the hardest challenge so we are pleased that we have completed it. The extra challenge with the mud made it even harder but we would do it again. Running through dark woods i would say to complete it as a team although there were loads of people out there alone.
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