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Ultra Trail South West, 2012

April 9, 2013

Jumping a bit…maybe I will fill in the gaps between the Diagonale des Fous and this one at some point, maybe I won’t.

The UTSW nearly didn’t happen at all for me. To get to the muster point, Newquay, I would fly from Copenhagen to Gatwick on Easyjet, and from Gatwick to Newquay on FlyBe. Almost 2 hours to connect at Gatwick, together with handluggage only (provided EasyJet let me carry it) – I would be fine.

Arriving at the low cost arm of Copenhagen airport, we were advised of a short delay. The aircraft itself appeared to be there, but bad weather at Gatwick was causing long delays. It sounded ominous. Minutes became quarter hours, quarter hours became half hours, an hour…

Eventually we were on, but warned we would probably have to wait some time before the plane was cleared to go. Finally, an hour and 45 minutes late, we were off. If the flight took its scheduled time, I would have 10 minutes to connect at Gatwick – and the reported bad weather made it likely we would be delayed further. I tried not to think about it.

Approaching London, the bad weather was visible. We descended through clouds and sheets of rain, but at least had not lost further time. The doors were open exactly 15 minutes before my next flight was due to depart. I legged it down the back steps and into the terminal, wearing my trainers anyway as I had reasoned that if EasyJet had made me check my bag in, these were the things I did not want to have to replace on the day if the luggage got lost. Through the terminal to immigration – luckily the auto-gates had no queue and my new passport has a chip in it. Through customs, trying to look as though I wasn’t a dodgy bloke legging it. Up to the departurers level; another miracle, no queue at security. An elderly couple wished me luck as I sprinted off, just in time to see the status of my flight turning to ‘closed’ on the overhead boards. Nothing to do but keep running, straight through the waiting area, over a line of chairs and down a never-ending passage towards the gates.

‘What flight are you looking for?’ enquired the girl at the beginning of the FlyBe gates.

‘Newquay,’ I replied, ‘but i think I’m too late.’

‘Just down there on the left,’ she smiled.

I could have kissed her but I would have missed the flight. The door closed behind me and I was on the way to Newquay, bang on time, having run what was probably my fastest mile of the entire weekend already.

See the rest of the race report here

And some more pictures here

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