I am sitting in my spare bedroom surrounded by the carnage of packing for my first 100 miler. A 100 miler that I have decided not to start at. I can't quite believe it but as I was packing this morning I got a call from Test and Trace telling me that as I had been in contact with someone during the last two weeks who has tested positive for Covid-19 and that irrespective of the negative test I have since had, I was by law required to isolate until the Tuesday after my race.
Two years ago I decided to do my first hundred mile race. I'd just completed Ironman and I knew that that had always been a stepping stone for me in to the misty world of ultrarunning. I run these races because I want to pursue a deeper sense of who I am: to understand myself further and to overcome whatever darkness I might find on the road. I could try and keep secret that I have been told to isolate. Pretend it hasn't happened. Observe that if I'd tested positive I'd be allowed to race (I would be only forced to isolate for 10 days - which would end this Friday rather than 14 days as I tested negative - next Tuesday) and that seemingly makes little sense.
But I run ultras to help prove the kind of person I am: true to myself, honourable, determined. And therefore it is with heartbreak I won't be starting at Autumn 100. My bags are packed, I have had the most wonderful block of training, I've tapered well and I feel so ready to take it on. But Covid-19 has taken far bigger things away from people this year than some UTMB points and a finishers t-shirt.
I've got plans now to tackle the same route a week later. Amusingly the dry weather forecast due on race weekend is replaced with torrential weather the week after. I won't have the same level of support from access to toilets and aid stations to cheer points from the volunteers. I'll get no buckle for completing it, receive no t-shirt, no UTMB points and won't be on the official finishers list. But again: that isn't why I run Ultras.
I am crying my eyes out. But I "forget what is behind and strain towards what's ahead." I'll see you on the other side of this weird, wild ride.