Helene Whitaker – “D” (Dragon) Day: a not very solo attempt

So this is it. As good as it gets. A year of hard work and preparation and it just doesn’t seem enough. Could I have done more? Should I have done things differently? I’ll only know at the end of the day on the 7th September.

So lest you think a Solo run means it’s a Solo effort, I’d like to publicly thank the many folk for their roles in getting me to the start line. Anything that happens from this point on is my fault alone. I apologise to anyone I have forgotten.

Here goes in no particular order:

My long suffering family who have made it possible for me to spend so much time away from them running, training and racing, and for keeping me grounded in the aspects that matter more in life than a race…however scary that race is. Without Jonathan’s initial impetus, I wouldn’t have entered in the first place. Without his unfailing support and childcare, it simply wouldn’t have been possible to get to this stage.

My Mum who got up at 6am nearly every day for 2 weeks to babysit so I could train whilst at home in Greece. And my Sister who also did the same, even driving me around to run up hills when they both should have been in bed on holiday.

Cath for her words of wisdom and practical support. For driving me around Wales in a van for yet another very soggy weekend. For lending me her kit and expertise.  But mostly for her unfailing moral support. Thank you, I would have had no chance without you.

Sue for her companionship on fast and fabulous runs at 6.30am in the wet and dark, hard hill reps and support when I needed an ear to bend and a shoulder to cry on. Despite our joint commitments it’s always terrific fun training with you. You kept me going. Thank you.

Gary and Jane for the loan of various bits of kit and showing me how to use electronic gismos, the use of their house as a base on various training weekends, babysitting, and especially Jane’s amazing cooking.

Dave Jelley of Jelleylegs fame for taking me out on the runs I would choose not to have done, and making me do them fast and well. For making it enjoyable, and for his positive, encouraging and enthusiastic approach to all things running. And for the marmalade.

Pete for his sound advice and mentoring; I have tried so hard to do as you suggested and whilst it hasn’t all gone as planned, hopefully I have got faster, stronger and fitter as you specified 13 months ago.

Alison for doing the last and painful set of hill reps with me that so nearly cost me the start line of the race.

Ian for his great Tuesday night sessions with Harrogate Harriers that made the dark wet cold winter such a painfully rewarding experience. I must include all the Harriers for great company whilst doing nasty sessions. Special thanks to Mark and Martyn  for support above and beyond the call of duty, even doing bike reps with me when running was out of the question.

All the podiatrists at work for their invaluable advice.

Andy Horwood, Podiatrist extraordinaire, for working on a pair of decidedly dodgy battered pins, with fabulous success.

Dave for sticking a needle into the tendon sheath of my foot, and working his magic when all seemed lost, and my GP from Moss and Partners who was fabulous in helping me get to see him in the first place.

Imre at The Nuffield Gym; I had no idea there were so many different ways of hurting in a gym, thank you for all your expert advice with weights and introducing me to the TRX. Special thanks go to Sandra Daltry for putting me on the right path in the first place all those years ago, post babies.

Ilkely Harriers Ladies who haven’t seen me all year but just kept in touch and let me know they care. Thank you for your support.

All my friends at work for feeding me coffee, whilst putting up with my fatigue, injuries and constant need to eat.

Berghaus for gorgeous clothing that actually does what it should do, despite the conditions I persisted in using the kit in: on my very long days out I seriously abused the clothing subjecting it to floods, snowstorms, drenchings on various Scottish and Welsh hills, dunkings in many many rivers, 39 degree runs in Greece and the abuse that running with a pack on subjects fabrics to. And guess what ….It works!…still!   Thank you!

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  • Emma Davies

    All the best Helene!!!! we’ll have cake ready at work to re-fuel you when you are done Emma xxxxx

  • Martyn

    Best wishes Helene, fate favours the well-prepared and you couldn’t have done anymore – we’ll all be crossing our fingers for you!

  • Paul

    Hope all goes well – proud to have climbed those Bettys hills with you on Harriers Tuesdays!

  • Dave Jelley

    I have loved our runs and will be thinking of you all week – all the very best Dave

  • sandra daltry

    I wish you the best of luck. All your hard work, dedication and determination is outstanding, well done. I will be thinking of you!! Sandra

  • Melanie

    Good luck. I will make sure you have a nice warm cosy tent to sleep in at the end of each day. (Well, I doubt it will be warm or cosy but it will be a tent and a very well assembled one at least!!)

  • sandy maccalman

    Murray and Morag at Upper Warroch used to talk about seeing you training. Best wishes from Milnathort and Kinross Road Runners( also off-road runners)