Marathon of Britain - 6 days, 175 miles

Remember Penry, the mild-mannered cartoon janitor who regularly turned into superhero Hong Kong Phooey?

Runner's World would like to introduce our own version. By day, Heidi Wilson looks after our ad clients. Then she's been taking a deep breath and running the long route home: up to 30 miles, some nights.

Heidi's been training all year for the 175-mile 2004 Flame Health Marathon of Britain - a six-day jaunt through the heart of England, which starts this Sunday, August 1. (See Andy Blackford's article above, about last year's first-ever race.)

She'll be logging in to this forum thread every evening to tell us all how it's going. With a bit of luck, we'll be adding pictures to a photo page, too.

May the wind be at your feet, crazy girl!

Sean and the RW staff

ps – if you’re feeling inspired, the race’s official charity is Action on Addiction, and Heidi is running for the Alzheimer’s Society, in memory of her best friend’s father (you can sponsor her here)


  • Thanks guys, I am still alive!

    First stage done – 15.5 miles.

    Rory (Race Director) woke us up this morning trying to impersonate a cockerel, which set the day off with a smile. I continued to smile all through the day, it was such a great day.

    At 10am we set off at the Abbey Archway, with map firmly grasped in hand. It was straight up 100 steep steps, to an ever steeper ascent up to Worcestershire Beacon, the highest point in the Malvern Hills at some 1,500 feet. It was well worth it as the views were breathtaking. The scenes continued as we navigated our way along the ridgeway crossing all the major summits of the Malverns. It was then cross-country all the way to the final checkpoint three, at Upton-upon-Severn. The finish was through a field to Croome Court, and we had to hurdle over what felt like hundreds of miniature hay stacks, which led aptly through the graveyard to the Finish.

    My partner, who I had thought I would set off with, darted off like a whippet, and came in good third overall. I was grateful to find a perfect running partner, Mike, who shared my navigational nerves, and provided some good banter along the way.

    The winner of the stage was last years overall winner, Andy Rivett coming in a very fast time of 2hr 25mins. (He is the current world record holder for running from Lands End to John O’Groats). The last competitor came in 5hr 21mins. I came in 12th in 2hr 59mins, after getting lost a few times!

    Some say tomorrow is the toughest day, 33 miles of tough hilly terrain – I can’t wait to find out. Now, where’s my dinner!
  • oooooooooo
    good luck lass
    enjoy dinner
  • Hey Heidi,

    Sounds ummm, great! Hope your 33 miles is going welll...look forward to your next installment.

    run well!

  • Hi, enjoy yourself Heidi, getting lost is half the fun (or so I'm told)
    Andy Rivett is very strong and won the first ever 24 hour race I took part in.
    Looking forward to today's report.
    Say hi to Andy and Paul Shields from me if he's there.
  • H

    Forgot to say good luck. You mentalist!
  • WOW - Hey hat off to anyone who is able to run this kind of distance!! (Mind I have only started running since March & completed my first 10k yesterday so there's plenty of time for me yet :)

    Good Luck Heidi, I will be interested in following your progress...enjoy :)

  • Hey heidi,

    good luck!!! I'll be eager to read your race reports.

    Hope yourself and all the other MOB runners have a great time.

    (p.s. We crossed paths at the MOB lite back in March)
  • i'm intrigued, keep us informed Heidi, am watching with interest. Best of luck, too.
  • Good luck Heidi. Hope the 33 miles went OK. Ran a 6 miler on Sunday in the heat and that was bad enough! I reckon it's nearly as hot today!

  • Yeah, Good Luck Heidi. 175 miles is a long way. How much assistance do you get along the way? Are there vehicles that follow you if you need a drink or a sleep? Take care and enjoy the running. Gav
  • Hi Heidi,
    Good for you!
    Hope the second day ahs gone well.
    bests wishes
  • Hope you enjoyed the 33miles today! Sounds like superb fun, in a kinda strange way. I'd love to be able to do something like this one day... it's on my list of 'things to do sometime in my life'!

    Will look forward to reading your reports.
    Good luck!

  • Good luck and have fun!:o)
  • Oh yeah. If you don't win, well...
  • Stage 2 – 33 miles.

    Hi Guys,

    Thanks so much for the messages. It was so lovely to read them after a hard day’s work.

    Hi Jason, hope all is going well. Well done Tamsy for your first 10k, great news. Gav, the event is supposed to be unassisted. You are provided with a tent, water, breakfast and evening meal, but you have to provide the rest – so the backpack is very heavy! There are checkpoints along the way, today there were 5, with water at each station to top up your bladders/bottles. Other than that – you are on your own!

    Today was tough, and I am now finding walking rather painful on the thighs. We started off more level than yesterday crossing over the River Avon to the first checkpoint. We had to stock up on water as it was a long way to the next checkpoint, as the vehicles could not get up the hills we were faced with! The hills soon came into view, with the Banbury Tower as our target point. I now know why we had the Race Doc check our lungs, as they were gasping for air as I scrambled on hands and knees to the top. The route followed around the hills, showing us the most amazing landscapes and then back down to checkpoint two. By this time Mike and I had grouped up with some fellow runners, and we tackled the next stage together. We had done the MOB Lite last year, which takes you through some of this stage. Mike declared ‘I remember this, I know where to go’ and we were immediately lost, scrambling aimlessly through grassy fields! Onto check point four, and up the penultimate hill, I was really starting to feel it now, and the midday sun was ferocious. We realised that we had all finished our water, and with the rest of the hill to climb, the next few miles to the next checkpoint got very worrying. We made it though, and the MOB van was such a gorgeous sight. The last hill was a killer, but was the last of the four highest peaks in the Cotswolds we tackled. But the navigation was easier and Mike and I managed to sprint the last bit to make sure we came in under 7 hours.

    The screams from Iodine being inserted into blisters has died down, and we are now all sitting in the tent supping our tea and looking at the sunset over the Cotswolds. Fantastic.

    Yesterday, I was dodging all the cowpats that covered the fields, today I was only dodging the wet ones, I dread to think what I won’t care running through at the end of the race….

    Unfortunately we had a couple of people drop out today. Andy Rivett, the current leader, was unfortunately one of them, suffering from heat exhaustion. Hanno is the new leader, after coming in first today with an amazing time of 5hrs 38mins. The last person crossed the finish in 11hr 32mins. I came in after 6hr 56mins.

    33 miles again tomorrow.
  • Well done Heidi

    Good luck hope the weather is cooler tomorrow
  • hello
    what shoes/boots are you wearing?

    why blisters????????

    i cant believe rivet dropped out
  • Andy dropped out with heat exhaustion? Hope he's ok-he's run the MDS!!
    Well done Heidi, sounds like you survived a tough stage. Thanks for posting, it sounds like you're doing very well. Good luck.
  • Well done Heidi and good luck for the future stages.

  • Good luck on the next 33 miles Heidi and well done for having the guts to do such a difficult race!
    all the best!
  • "Hope he's ok-he's run the MDS!!"

    ....would that be Marathon de Sade?

  • has already been said, Heidi, mentalist!
  • I think you've got it about right on that one Dodge!!
    I'm surprised cos Andy seems to do well in the heat.
    What's so mad about spending a week wandering around the countryside then?
    I'm seriously tempted.
  • Erm, Dodge - what was that little run you were planning in 05?
  • ...and carrying all your kit with you.
  • (nice X-post)

  • tim... you can't afford it.
  • Keep the race reports coming.......

    Andy privitt dropped out with heat exhaustion, on only the second stage - damm it must be tough.

    Someone better up their pace and beat that mad german ;-)
  • I don't think I'd be allowed anyway Ed.
  • Hi,
    Many congratulations on your run so far. I was wondering if you could pass on a message of good wishes to Andy Mouncey,(bloke with no hair and long legs). Could you tell him ole hairy head is sending loads of positive waves.... but not dreaming of him.
    Thanks everso much, and good luck with the rest of your adventure.
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