12th June 2022
Ultra Marathon Test for our Cotswold Mohair Trekking Socks
Living and working in Cornwall as we do, we’re blessed with beautiful countryside. One of our many joys is walking the South West coastal path.
For some mad folk, however, walking it is not enough – they have to run it. And they turned out in their droves on 21st May 2022 to take on the Classic Quarter Ultra Marathon. This goes from the most Southerly point of the UK, Lizard Point, to the most westerly, Land’s End – a distance of just over 44 miles.
I received a call from friends two weeks before the race saying somebody had dropped out of a relay team, and would I care to fill in? The longest I had run this year was 7 miles and my section was the last 10-mile leg, from Lamorna to Land’s End. It was ‘a bit of a scramble’, they said.
I agreed and hastily put in a few (largely flat) training runs, hoping my fitness would magically improve during the course of the race itself. My trainers were relatively new and I hoped would do the business.
The day dawned beautifully, and our first runner came in looking fresh as a daisy after one and a half hours- the second one less so after 2 and a half hours. I was slightly intimidated to see the calves of my fellow competitors and also that most were equipped with proper trail running shoes with knobbly bottoms for grip in more extreme conditions.
When my turn came to pick up the baton, there wasn’t one… the third runner had left it in a watering station on the beach at Penzance. So, I set off, full of nervous energy, water and hope. Since I was expecting poor terrain and wanted to give myself a chance against the distance without blisters stopping play, I had elected to wear my Wool Company mohair yachting/welly socks. Mustard yellow seemed appropriate for the weather!
For the first 5 miles, I skipped along, feeling like a freshly minted gazelle. “I’ve got this”, I thought to myself. Little did I know. As the miles wore on, the coves seemed to come thicker and faster. And for every cove, the coastal path wound down the cliff and, inevitably, relentlessly straight up the other side. Both my calves and quads were taking an absolute battering. I settled into a pattern of climbing up the vertical bits on all fours and running the flat bits and downhills. Cramp set in badly several times but my T Shirt said ‘Never give up’ on the back….so I couldn’t let the side down.
Two and a half painful hours later, I jogged across the finish line with the last of my flagging energy to be met by the most welcome pint of shandy I’ve had in a while.
It was a long 10-mile leg - my phone said 14 miles. Shattered though I was, however, my mohair socks were fantastic. No blisters, no hot spots, just cool, cushioning support. They didn’t even smell. You just can’t beat mohair; it is god’s gift (or should that be the Angora goats’ gift?) to runners.
We’ve already made plans for next year, and I’ve learnt a lot I’ll do differently next time - I might even do some training….. but, one thing I won’t change is my socks.