UTMB OCC 2022
I've spent 5 years trying to run UTMB OCC - I first qualified in 2017 and again qualified and put my name in the ballot in 2018 and 2019 finally securing a spot to run 2020. Obviously the world shut down so UTMB was cancelled in 2020 and my spot was rolled over to 2021 when guttingly the Brits got told not to travel and I pushed my place back again to 2022.
I trained hard this year for UTMB - I took 17 minutes off my marathon time, running a BQ in April, did record amounts of elevation gain, completed some of the longest fell races in the UK and poured more effort in to strength than I ever had before.
The race was on the 25th August. And on the 8th August I found out I was pregnant.
There is no standard midwife response for 'can I run the world's biggest ultramarathon at altitude while 8 weeks pregnant?' Apparently no one had ever asked my midwife when I tried (she actually asked 'What's altitude?') but the advice I got (and I sought out a lot) was all the same: if you were doing it before and listen to your body you'll be ok.
Running 56km with 3600m elevation gain while 8 weeks pregnant isn't really done. Or if it is done - we don't really talk about it. When I laced up on the start line that day, having just hit 8 weeks pregnant, I was just so darn grateful that I get to run. Run far. Run long. Run easy. Run hard. Run strong. Run tough. Run.
That race was incredible. I took my time. I ran with people, I made friends, I ran solo, I chatted, I ran in silence, I sat down a lot, I chilled, I took my time, I walked, and I also had whole hours on end of running feeling amazing.
Only my husband, out crewing on the course, knew about the mini passenger on board. And that made it all the more incredible.
Crossing the finish line of any UTMB race is like nothing in the world. The whole of Chamonix is poured out on the streets cheering for you and you alone. It's totally bananas and running through the streets of Chamonix towards that famous archway with my massive secret was incredible.
There will never be another run like it and I'm so grateful to have had the most incredible, inspiring and empowering run.
Thanks UTMB 2022.
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