The good thing about this day was that, once the first 5 miles of climbing out of Otterburn were out of the way, the remaining 27 miles were mostly downhill. Conditions on the exposed higher ground were very cold. The icy southerly wind was kept at bay by my fives layers, a ski mask and, at times, up to 2 hats. I've said it many times during this winter; "Bring on the California sunshine".
At the 13 mile point, one of my followers on Twitter, Sam Walton, stopped by to drop off some Haribo sweets. It is a random act of kindness such as this that really puts a spring in my step. I met the Support Car for the first time in Belsay and had a 20 minute stop to eat a sandwich. I also bumped into Team Run Geordie Run member, Alison Hudson, in Belsay. She is part of the team that will be running the Edinburgh half or full marathon in May in aid of the 2 charities.
The next 8 miles, to Newcastle Airport, were quite comfortable and I was very pleased to eventually run on path instead of busy roads. The final 7 miles were very tough indeed. By now, the pain in my left shin was quite bad and this is something that I must address in the USA. It's a problem that surfaced during my run from John O'Groats to Lands End and also during the last run from Edinburgh to Newcastle in November 2010. In the USA, I will be using a lot of ice, to keep the shin inflammation problem under control. I ran through the pain barrier for 10 days back in 2007 with this problem. If the ice treatment does not work, then I fully expect to run through the same amount of pain.
I reached the Keep in Newcastle after virtually sprinting from St James' Park. It was probably nowhere near a sprint but it felt like it having just run over 100 miles in 3 days. I beat the effort from last November by 3 hours.
Run Geordie Run Jr and Mrs Run Geordie Run were waiting at the finish. I was Following a quick photo, it was off home for a nice warm bath!
The final stats for the Mark Beaumont Castle to Keep Challenge were:
Miles - 35.5
Elevation gained - 2096 ft
Calories burned - 4633
Time - 09:40:57
Miles - 38.6
Elevation gained - 2535 ft
Calories burned - 4784
Time - 10:47:32
Miles - 31.7
Elevation gained - 1321 ft
Calories burned - 4004
Time - 09:37:53
Thanks to Mark Beaumont for sponsoring the run and also to everyone else who made a donation over the weekend. The support via Twitter and my Facebook page was unprecedented. So many messages were sent and I was able to read them all via my iPhone to keep me motivated.