Thursday, 16 September 2010

TOAH's race report

Transalp Race Report


What follows is the story of a couple of fat lads taking on a couple of mountain ranges. We do a lot of good work for charidee but don’t like to talk about it. If, however, you’d like to go to you could leave us a couple of quid for Help for Heroes.

This report will probably be forever a work in progress as I remember extra details from the event; I intended to write it all as the race unfolded, but quite frankly there were times when I was too tired to think straight, so it didn’t happen. A lot of what happens up a mountain will stay up a mountain.

It would be nice to think that some of the information included here could be of use to someone else doing the race; please remember that I’ve never done anything like this before, so take with a pinch of salt where appropriate. Of course, if you have no intention of ever being so silly, we are demi-gods of the ultra-running world with abilities far beyond those of normal mortals...

For those that don’t know, my sense of humour was tragically crippled in a space hopper accident age 14; if you’re expecting erudition or sophistication, please lower your sights. The hunters at Ruhpolding couldn’t manage this, which is why the deer took off their stilts.

I’ve decided to asterisk out all the swearwords; if there’s a word you don’t know or are unsure about, send me an email and I’ll explain it to you...

Turns out that ‘Hotel Garni’ means something like ‘Bed and Breakfast’ and isn’t the name of the hotel at which we were staying; good job we didn’t try to force entry into a ski hotel that was closed for the summer then...

Day 0 or Two Pirates in a bar

One says to the other ‘your round.’ The other one replies ‘so are you, you fat *******.’

The day started with a quick natter with the Aussie racers, Shellie and Gavin, who were in the same hotel as us, before we ascended the local mountain on a cable car. Turns out that this was where they shot the last bear in Germany, before brushing its teeth. German painters on drugs? Who knew?

Paused for coffee and kuchen in a mountain-top cafe, where the choices seemed to be:
Option 1: pay the bill
Option 2: spin, sew or cook to work off the debt
Option 3: you’re buggered

Register for the race then a quick game of Crazy Golf, where Dis sets a new world record with a hole in nought, by holing out on the 18th with a putt from the 17th.

We were sitting in the pasta party on the eve of the race, trying desperately to hear what was being said. Apparently the race had lots of sponsors and we had to follow the orange markings, facts that took 10 minutes to explain in German, but a couple of sentences in English...not that we could hear, because all the Germans cranked up the volume of their conversation when the English part came on. Different race briefings at different times in different languages? A radical idea, but it could just catch on...

One particular German guy, wearing a cowboy hat, was to-ing and fro-ing, lurking unnecessarily close to Dave and generally being intensely annoying. More of him to follow...

We then had the entertainment, consisting of some German kids in lederhosen doing a German-lederhosenny dance. There was a fat kid at the back; we knew how he felt. This was followed by the Parade of Nations, involving some children from the local ice skating club carrying some national flags. The girl carrying the Union Flag fell over; we knew how she felt too.

At last, we spotted someone who looked slow and fat enough for us to have a chance of beating, but he turned out to be the local mayor; it’s the first time I’ve ever looked round a field of competitors and thought ‘wooden spoon, here we come’...

Day 1 or two cannibals eating a clown

One says to the other ‘Does this taste funny to you?’

Starting in Ruhpolding at 11am and 663m, climbing to the Kammerkohralm at 1580m before dropping into St Ulrich am Pillersee at 852m for the finish. Total climb1223m, descent 1034m, total distance 36.3km. Somewhere along the way, we crossed the border into Austria.
1058hrs, the race theme song, Keep on Running (by two German blokes, not the famous song) segued into Highway to Hell by some Australians and it was time for a firm handshake before the start.

After reading an article in Runner’s World about Rosie Swale Pope and her 27 marathons in 27 days, where she decided to use the first three runs as final training, Team Atomic Hamster had spent the previous two weeks doing absolutely no training at all; this seemed to be working well as we blatted along the relatively flat first section.

It didn’t take long before we were engaged in conversation by the guy with the cowboy hat. We knew it was him because he was running in his cowboy hat. He told us that he ‘didn’t care for Pirates’ and made insulting remarks about Dave’s fat belly. Cheeky *******, my belly is just as fat as Dave’s and didn’t get a mention. Turns out that his name is Erwin; it was on his number. This was the birth of ‘Song for Erwin’. To the tune of Adam and the Ants’ Prince Charming, please feel free to join in:

Song for Erwin, song for Erwin,
Wearing a hat doesn’t make you interesting...

At aid station 1, we arrive just after our Danish chum, Bent Kock Neilsen. This is intrinsically funny.

Eventually we got to the last three k, in the company of our Aussie chums Shellie and Gavin. Quality distance measuring ensued, with the next k taking 17 minutes. An early lesson in not trusting the markers. Over the finish line, firm handshake (which is all that’s required between two gentlemen) one down, seven to go. GoreTex tent was down to alcoholfrei only; we complained.

Day 2 or where do Pirates get their exercise?

Gym lad.

0800 start in St Ulrich (852m), immediately into a 700m climb up a steep valley, before dropping to 719m then a second peak up the Kitzbuheler Horn at 1750m and a drop into Kitzbuhel (755m) 33.2k long, 1810m of climb, 1907m descent.

We rock up ready to go at 0800, only to discover that as we’re in starting group C (largely because there isn’t a D), we don’t get to start til 0810. Keep on Running, Highway to Hull, wait for 10 min while the skinny whippets get away. This is to prevent congestion at the first climb. It doesn’t. We’re straight up a path that’s like a ravine, only steeper. We do some climbing and some standing around. We crack a German up by telling the ‘A white horse goes into a bar. The bartender says ‘hey, wev’e got a drink named after you.’’what?’ says the horse,’Eric?’’ joke. We’re here for a long time not a good time. Near the top we almost get blown off by a large chopper, though certainly not in a good way. Descend the valley, getting a little fretful about the 2.5hour cut-off at the bottom; what if they don’t take into consideration that we’ve been swindled for 10 min at the start?

Fortunately, we make it in the nick of time. In fact, by later standards, we were miles inside. So was Bent Kock Nielsen.

Encounter Erwin again; we remember him because of the cowboy hat. He informs us that he will call us ‘dead heads’ because of our Pirate kit. We refrain from informing him that we will call him ****. We break into the instrumental version of song for Erwin instead.

Today is the first introduction of the Road to Trudging. Please feel free to sing this to the tune of ‘Road to Nowhere.’ Having already tracked down the Austrian town of Pfaffing (where there appears to be a Wibling Inn), we are convinced that Trudging must be a place just over the next hill (a bit like Invernoustie in Scotland.) One foot in front of the other; breathe heavily; repeat.

Over the top of the crest, get a runnable descent. ‘We’re fat, we’re round, we’re eating up the ground, Atomic Hamster, Atomic Hamster’...actually pass a few people! Introduce our rallying cry of ‘Nice bench!’ every time we pass a bench. You probably had to be there. Into Kitzbuhel and the mysterious case of the expanding 500m to go. We pass a marshal; she announces that we have 500m to go; 200m later, we pass another one, who says the same thing; another 200m up the road, we ask the next marshal if we have about 500m to go. She is very confused.

Eventually we find the finish line and thus ends another day...with a firm handshake. Beer tent has only alcoholfrei left; complain.

At least the night’s hotel wasn’t up a hill...

Day 3 or why did the chicken commit suicide?

To get to the other side.

Starting in Kitzbuhel (755m) at 0700, this was the ‘king stage’ of the event. ‘King’ is apparently German for ‘*******’. 46.9km long (a marathon is 42.195) with 2252m of climb and 2130m of descent, it finishes in Neukirchen am Grossvenediger at 877m.

Walk down hill from hotel at sparrowfart; see woman running really rapid hill reps the other way; joke about how she wouldn’t be doing that if she was in our race; spot her race number; lose will to live.

Line up in pen C; get live performance of Keep on Running from Otto or Willi or whoever is the lead singer of whoever they are; this must have pleased the good burghers of Kitzbuhel no end. Just time for Highway to Hill before we run back up hill past hotel again, wondering if using the cable car wouldn’t be a better option. The first part of the run took us up the Hahnenkamm; we felt a firm handshake would have sufficed.

As is traditional, Aid Station 1 was reached just as Bent Kock Nielsen was leaving.

Once we’d topped out at Pengelstein (a beery swine at 1938m) we had a really fast descent to Aid Station 2. ‘We’re fat, we’re round, we’re good at going down’ indeed. People are beginning to move aside as they hear us coming, often with their hands over their ears. We’re catching BKN. Dave suggests shooting him to slow him down but then realises he can’t shoot around corners, unlike BKN...

From then on, it’s ‘up there? With my legs?’ time as we climb from 1430m to over 2000m on a track which mountain goats would reject as ‘silly’, followed by lots of wiggly bits which were the inspiration for the phrase ‘**** right off!’...’the ground is rough, we’re **** at going up, Atomic Hamster, Atomic Hamster.’ Through lying snow? Well you wouldn’t expect it to tell the truth, would you?

At the end, we descend a quad-snapping small path; zigging or zagging? I don’t know, I’m a tobogganist; okay, 20 Players please. I have my first fall; shefellova! Arrive in Neukirchen; they’re out of proper beer again; complain. At least I got to sit in the fountain.

They don’t even have a new church, but they do possess the surliest waiter in the world; it’s what keeps Neukirchen on the map.

Day 4 or why do elephants have big ears?

Because their horns don’t work. Trust me, swapping the punchlines between jokes is very funny when you’re running 2 ultras back to back.

Starting at Neukirchen am Grumpyhosen at 877m at 0700, there was one big climb up the Krimmler Wasserfalle to 1550m, followed by a valley road; when this ended, we had to climb up and over the Bimlucke at 2669m then drop down into Italy to finish in Prettau im Ahrntal at 1467m. In all it was 43.9k, 1967m of climb and 1377m of descent; could’ve been worse, it could’ve been long and hilly...

Stagger to the start, Keep on Running, Highway to Hill, off we go. First part was fairly straightforward, which was handy as I’d been struggling to eat. We arrive at the wasserfalle. Aid Station 1, Bent Kock Nielsen. Oddly for a waterfall, water falls down vertically; we zigzag up. We’re still **** at going up. We get passed by a tractor. The tractor has about 8 stone of rock strapped to its front to stop it tipping backwards down the hill.

Eventually we emerge onto a high alpine valley road; despite going precisely nowhere and apparently having no access the other end except up the waterfall, this is busier than the M1. We are forever having to get out of the way of oncoming traffic.
I am now struggling to eat and feeling sick all the time; I decide to have a gel; it bounces. The hills are alive with the sound of Drew sick. Fantastic, I didn’t even have to contrive that pun! I am proud to announce that I didn’t even break my stride as I yacked; I is a proper afferlete, innit? The bouncing gel sparked a chorus of ‘Rubber ball, I keep bouncing back’; I speculated whether Rubber Ball Persson was a mate of BKN.

We then come to the second climb. ‘It’s schmal, it’s steig, it’s way out of our league! Atomic Hamster, Atomic Hamster’ We climb...slowly. ‘We’re not fit and we’re not fast, but look behind us, we’re not last!’ Dave bonks; I bonk. We, collectively, bonk. Completely Option 3ed. Steep track to Trudging. Lots of snow around.

Eventually, we hit the top. The Captain Pugwash theme sounds from the depths of my rucksack; it’s a text from to say welcome to Italy. I can’t get a signal in my own living room in the densely-populated English Midlands, but 2600m up a mountain, above the snowline where we are alone and may die, I’m told that my call to Mountain Rescue will cost 75p a minute.

After a firm handshake, we descend slowly and carefully; I use the ‘arse-first’ technique, probably not pioneered by Chris Bonnington. It starts to snow. A few metres down, we discover an alpine hut; the occupants have put out glasses of hot Ribena; whoever you are, bless you. We perk up and speed up til I bend my toe at an interesting angle. I call it a ‘****ing ****-faced ****ing hell-******* ****-****er!’ which helps a little, but I’m left descending slightly one-legged. It’s OK, there doesn’t seem to be anyone around. Did we mention our penchant for Tiffany songs?

We were supposed to be at Aid Station 3 in 7 hours; there is now 7:05 on the clock, it looks like Atomic Hamster are going home.

We eventually get onto something a little less steig and schmal, so decide to get to Aid Station 3 in under 8 hours for personal pride. We’re fat, we’re round, we’re good at going down! We arrive at 7:58. Our Aussie chum Gavin advises us to cross the line (inconveniently located just past the aid station) as they’ve already extended the cut-off to 7:45 and may be looking to do it again. Apparently, even the pacer had struggled in the snowy wastes. We amble over the line, 7:58:30, pause, return to the aid station, eat, then absolutely hoon it into Prettau.

One firm handshake later (though no beer) we jump in the car for a ride to our hotel. Turns out they extended the cut-off to 8 hours and we’re 90 seconds. Good job I didn’t stop and throw...

Day 5 or why do cows have bells?

Because Noddy wouldn’t pay the ransom. See?

Today was a double-climber, tipped as being the easy day at only 29.4k 1503m of climb and 2098m of descent. It started at Prettau at 1467m before dropping into Sand in Taufers at 872m.

We got to the start to discover that they’d added another 5k or so horizontal, to take in a cheeky 250-300m of climb. Option 3.

Easy enough to get up the first forststrasses, especially with an 0800 start, but the climb up to the 2537m Bretterscharte was a tad steep. O level geography has never seemed so alive. Corries to the left of me, corries to the right, stuck in the middle with you. At one point, the girl in front of me started an avalanche. You don’t have to make it up.

We had a damn good downhill; we were starting to get requests for our songs! All was right with the world...

...until we got to the part they’d added on. It was up a track so indistinct that it had been drummed out of the tracks’ union for not being tracky enough. It was steep. There were cows in the way and we had to take to the heather. Generally the cows had been quite good. People had tied bells around the cows’ necks in order to offer support on the remote parts of the course. These, however were a pain. We planned on ordering steak that night.

People were now starting to join in with our ‘jolly good show!’ and ‘tally ho!’ing, which got me through the difficult additional wiggly section.

Eventually we approach Aid Station 3 in the nick of time (ooh, spot the emergence of a theme) passing a sign marked ‘Sonnenkraftwerk’. We immediately break into a chorus of ‘She’s a model’ by Kraftwerk. Two Americans are startled to discover that we actually don’t make up the lyrics as we go along. With hindsight, we should have done ‘Trans Europa Express’ though I only know one line from that.

It was a blessing to drop down into Sand in Taufers.

Firm handshake, collect one alcoholic beer between us! Result!

Day 6 or two cows in a field; one says to the other ‘I was artificially inseminated yesterday’

‘No way!’
‘Straight up, no bull!’

Sand in Taufers (apply Vaseline) 872m to St Vigil (FAB St Brains) 1191m, featuring a flat half marathon followed by a climb up the Kronplatz at 2275m and down the other side.

We had a plan so cunning you could pin a tail on it and call it a weasel; blast (it’s relative, ok?) the flat bit then amble up the hill then blast the downhill to the finish.

Then Dave woke up with a cold.

Down to the start for 0700, Keep on Running, Highway to Hill, off we toddle. Didn’t quite manage a blast, but still got to checkpoint two in 2:36, only 6 minutes outside schedule. Next stop was the road to Trudging, where Erwin was being his usual silly self; we earwormed Shellie with Song for Erwin. Erwin blasted off in his usual ‘only jogging with you mortals for a short while but now I must go’ subtlety, but not before he told us all his joke about Gummy Bears and blackberries. Apparently it all resolved around berries and bears being a homophone in German. It’s a good job that it’s a complete flop in English or your sides would have split by now. Erwin, a man who isn’t funny in several languages.

By this time, we’d got much funnier multilingual jokes of our own, mostly centring round the fact that ‘lauf’ is German for ‘run.’ Run up that? You’re having a lauf, sir!

So, at the top of the hill, we jog round for the descent only to find Erwin meditating in his usual ‘ooh, look at me!’ way. We add a second verse to Song for Erwin:

doesn’t make you any less of a ****

Followed by a third:

Song for Erwin
Song for Erwin
Being a **** is nothing to be proud of

We then descended in our usual ‘we’re fat, we’re round, we’re good at going down! Ooh, Mr Tyler!’ way, to encouraging comments and shouts of ‘Go Pirates! Yarrgh!’ from the photographers and other competitors. They were getting the hang of it!

We stormed into the finish area, crossed the line, firm handshake. They’d saved us each a proper beer. All was going well!

After a trek back to the hotel (uphill) for a shower and change, we came back into the village for coffee and kuchen. As we passed the finish, they announced that unofficially we’d won the best improvers award for the day; a pair of 150 Euro sunglasses each.

Thus, we toddled along to the pasta party and watched all the skinny whippets get their stage- and race-winning prizes, before they called two girls on stage for the best improvers prize. ’Dash!’ we thought in a very British way, before there was a stream of German followed by the words ‘Atomic Hamster PSOF’ and two fat lads got to take the plaudits from all the thin people! It turns out that the two girls were the sponsors representatives and so were lucky enough to get to kiss us on both cheeks; a firm handshake would have sufficed.

So we won a prize for being good at going down; we don’t like to talk about it and will probably never mention it again...

Day 7 or two fish in a reservoir; one swims into a concrete wall...

And says ‘Dam!’

Today the prize-winning-but-don’t-like-to-mention-it Atomic Hamster team faced a double dipper from St Vigil (1191m) to Niederdorf im Pustertal/Villabassa (so good they named it twice; 1164m). The climbs were Forcella Sora Formo at 2380m and Weisslahnsettel at 2190m, with a drop to the Pragser Wildsee at 1493m between them. It was bang on a full marathon at 42.195k and had 1963m of climb, 1990m of descent. Roll on our slowest ever marathon...

The big excitement today was the checkpoint 3 cut-off at 7 hours, which was going to be extremely tight, not least because it was much shorter than the 9 hours that it should’ve been according to the published formula. Also, with stage 8 being relatively straightforward and the finish-line cut-offs being extremely generous, reaching V3 today was almost as good as a finish.

0700 start and a gentle jogette uphill to Aid Station 1...except Dave still had his cold and my left foot was now dragging and turning in at an alarming angle. Completely Option 3ed, in fact. People kept requesting songs and congratulating us on our shiny new sunglasses, which kept our spirits high. Erwin was conspicuous by his absence. For once we remained ahead of BKN, though the Aussies were off and gone.
We reached Checkpoint 1 in good time; I decided to tape my foot at some semblance of a right angle, though I discovered that my zinc oxide tape was, in fact, Micropore. This merely created an interesting muffin-top effect round my ankle, so I decided to seek medical help.

I soon tracked down the race doctor, who chatted to the paramedic and said ‘nicht’ a lot. They were the knights who said ‘nicht’. They asked me when it had happened. Spotting that this was a trick question (if I’d said ‘ages ago’, they’d’ve pulled me off, but not in a good way, as it was a chronic injury; if I’d’ve said ‘a few seconds ago’, they’d’ve pulled me off, but not in a good way, because it was an acute injury) I mumbled something about ‘it’ll be fine for a couple of days, it’s not a knitting club or a quitting club, just tape it back into place, please’ and promised to give them a shrubbery if they did so.

It was all in the balance, when Dave wandered over. He’d changed into his Pirate beany; I said ‘nice hat!’, he said he was going to toddle on up the hill, I said I’d catch him up in a few minutes when the knights who said nicht had re-secured my foot. All was well; they let me go, muttering something about ‘British loonies’ up the hill I toddled after Dave.

The first hill was an excellent example of the Fiat Panda phenomenon. We were on a track so steep that it was the graveyard of many a tractor, but periodically you still had to move out of the way of a Fiat Panda being driven by a bloke called Giuseppe. Where they were going or why, no one knows...

Up and over, not descending so well on the grounds that my foot was secured at 90 degrees by gaffer tape, Dave was off like an Erwin after publicity, we had a bit of a slide and slip before arriving at a lovely lake in the valley...which was full of tourists! Are you a pole vaulter? No, I am a German, but how did you know my name was Walter?

Inevitably, when you get a crowd of people on a narrow track, someone is going to try and drive a wide lorry along it. We had to suck in our bellies, but amazingly no one died.

We arrive at Aid Station 2 to be told to relax as the cut-off at Aid Station 3 had been extended to 7:30 hours and we were sure to make it. Having seen the second climb (nice scree slope, impassable to all but Fiat Pandas) we weren’t so sure. Road to Trudging once again followed by a nasty blind summit (oh summit you’re so blind, you’re so blind you blow my mind, hey summit!) and another climb...before a lovely spot of scree running down the other side. Didn’t hurt a bit...

We hit V3 at 7:21ish, a whopping nine minutes inside cut-off. There was a massive party going on, insomuch as people that have run 270k can party; everyone knew that by hitting that one, we were almost home and hosed.

We walked into Niederdorf/Villabassa, singing songs of Pirate gold and finishing lines. At the beepy mat, a firm handshake was all that was required. The beer people had saved us one each...

The saddest note of the day was the news that Bent Kock Nielsen and Rubber Ball Persson didn’t make the cut-off.

Day 8 or Two Pirates in a bar; one says to the other ‘nice T shirt’

The other one says ‘thank you, I got it eventually’

In honour of the occasion, I’d shaved the week’s stubble down to a porn-star moustache.

Day 8 started in Needadorf-no-thanks-I’ve-got-two-already (1164m) and finished in Sexten (1310m) 33.4k later. It had one climb up to 2405m and the final cut-off was 5:30 hours at V2.

Last Keep on Running (‘even if you’re broken, you’ll make it anyway’...let’s hope so) and Highway to Hull then off we go at 8am. Between us we’re hobbling and snotting and sneezing and struggling a little, but checkpoint 1 is easily achieved once we realised it was 2:30 not 1:30 to get there. Remember to thank the aid station staff for their help, assistance and cucumber.

Climbing with my Option 3ed shin/ankle/foot isn’t too bad but Dave is having a hard time with his blisters and cold; at long last we top out, pose for photos and a firm handshake; wonder whether we’ve got time for a beer at the Alpenhutte; decide we’d better not risk it. I take 800mg of ibuprofen but am still absolute rubbish at going down; Dave is off and gone. We discuss the situation and decide that by the time we have 5 hours on the clock, the painkillers will have kicked in and I’ll run hard whatever in order to guarantee our finish.

Lo and behold, the appointed time arrives and something has reset the pain in my shin to a more believable level; I can dog it from here...

It’s at this point that Dave’s quad is Option 3ed and he can’t dog it from here.

We meet a bloke coming up (minus Fiat Panda) who tells us that we are around 10-15 minutes away from the checkpoint; we decide not to dog it but just to descend within ourselves...

...and sail through the checkpoint with 11 minutes to spare. It’s extremely emotional, so we indulge in a firm handshake and hug a few excitable foreigners. Thank the aid station staff ‘We’re the Pirates, we’ve been here all week’, finally sample the kuchen, ignore the cucumber.

We now have 2:40 to cover 5k, so we walk; we get requests for one last song from several Americans; we finally crack Mattias from Team Lupus (I wouldn’t name my team after an autoimmume disease, but there you go) who has resisted laughing at our jokes for the previous 7 days; we discover that Mattias’ partner Katja is actually the daughter of Nice Beard Man and Shiny Silver Trousers Woman, another team in the race.

It was all downhill from there.

We raised a jog and a rousing chorus of ‘We’re fat, we’re round, we’ve eaten up the ground, Atomic Hamster, Atomic Hamster’ as we crossed the line. We got medals and champagne. We went off for our post race beer; it was all gone. Debs went to buy us one each...then one of the volunteers chased after us to hand us the beers that they’d saved for us specially. Drink two beers simultaneously? You betcha! After 8 days, 193 miles, just under 9 miles vertical, we’d finally got the GoreTex staff trained to our dietary requirements! Thanks, guys!

We cheered in our mates the Ryan Sidebottom brothers and the Erdinger Alcoholfrei boys (who were almost as mad and slightly more crap than we were) we posed for pictures with our most excellent Aussie chums, we went for a shower and a coffee.

At 7pm, we attended the final pasta party for the presentation of our t-shirts.

There was a lot of clapping for skinny whippets who apparently were in a race like ours only shorter (I’ve never been beaten by 30 hours before) and one particularly drunk Swiss bloke who had finally come second after days of coming fourth. He was wearing a very large cowbell and shaking his head to make it clang constantly. Bet he woke up wondering where is bell had gone and why his arse was so sore. If we didn’t someone else will have...

Eventually got called up on stage for our T-shirts; Dave almost got a pink-card medium before insisting on a large. We were the only team to be called up by name...

We could’ve partied on, but to be honest, it was a bit crap, full of skinny whippets who couldn’t hold their beer...


We were something like 171st overall, in 58 hours 58 minutes and 12.6 seconds.

My left shin is completely banjaxed; I will lose any fitness I’ve gained in the event before it’s better.

I’d like to thank the most excellent Team Atomic Hamster PSOF support crew; those back home and via the medium of text that have kept the Jolly Roger flying.

Dis for her assistance to my running partner and myself and general German-knowingness

My darling Debs for her unswerving dedication to my well-being; when all I could do was run, eat and sleep (and often none of them well) she made sure that all I had to do was run, eat and sleep. Above and you.

And a firm handshake with significant eye contact to my team leader Mr Dave the mighty ATOM Harvey. It’s all that’s required...

I am sponsored by Ibuprofen, Wiener Schnitzel and Pom-Bears. I wear Sziols, er Oakleys.


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