If you are looking for a challenge, then Grantham Running Club distance long distance specialist Caroline Davis definitely recommends the Dukeries 40 in Nottinghamshire. The course winds its way through Sherwood Forest – passing the Major Oak, through Cresswell Crags with its famous caves and then back through Clumber Park down Lime Tree Avenue – the world’s longest avenue of lime trees.
It is gently undulating with a couple of hills. In some places it feels like you are running the Spires and Steeples but without the spires and steeples and when running through farms and fields, it could have
been the Belvoir Challenge. Caroline had the much-needed support of her husband Paul and the dogs which kept her going by counting down the miles to the next meeting point.
Even though Caroline has completed a of solo Thunder Runs and as a pair at Equinox at Belvoir Castle (clocking up 60 to 80 miles over 24 hours), condensing the distance of 40.8 miles (although she ran 42 miles) into a shorter period (the cut off was 10.5 hours) is very different from when there is no real time to walk or have a rest. Now she has experienced her first ultra, Caroline has gained a huge respect for all fellow runners that take on an immense distance and would like to request a new pair of legs.
Once runners got to the finish (which was the longest finishing straight Caroline had ever encountered, being an extra mile) there was hot soup. Compliments to the chef on the sweet potato and coconut soup – it was simply delicious.
In terms of results, Caroline was aiming to complete the 40 miles in under 7 hours, which she just squeezed under and completed the run in 7 hours 19 minutes and 14 seconds.