Blog: Andy Nice 10 in 10


23 May 2011


Brathay 10-in-10 Day 10

Time: 3:18:01

Verdict: Finishing the world's most gruelling running race; fantastic. Being the first person home; amazing. All thirteen of us completing the event safely; priceless.

So, after 9 emotional days and 236 of the hardest miles of our lives, we all made it to the relative carnival that is Day 10 and the full Windermere Marathon. We had all made it safely to the final day, and were looking forward to completing our epic challenge. Having nearly 700 other runners around us would be very different from the relative solitude of the previous runs, but a welcome one nonetheless. With us starting an hour ahead of the main race, this also provided me with one final challenge; the running equivalent of 'Catch The Pigeon', with the young, fresh elite runners chasing down the lame, knackered pigeon (yours truly).

Given the times those guys can run, I needed to forget the 9 marathons and numerous niggles sapping my legs and run much quicker than previous days. As such, I dusted off the lightweight Dayglo orange racing slippers for the day. From the gun, I went off harder than usual in order to put some decent mileage between me and the ravenous elite hounds. I got to idyllic Hawshead in quick time and pushed hard up the horrific 1:5 hill at Devil's Gallup. I felt strong at halfway as I crossed Newby Bridge at the foot of the lake, fought hard over the tough rolling hills of Fell Foot and then was dragged along by the amazing support through Bowness. Having conquered Ice Cream Van Mountain for the last time, I really put my foot down and ran sub-7 minute miles all the way home. Saw a few familiar faces coming up the drive and down the final straight at Brathay and crossed the line with a mixed feeling of exhaustion, exhilaration and relief. The pigeon was home safe and sound, and with a few minutes to spare. The first elite hound did not look pleased when I shook his hand. Tough luck sport. 

The next few hours were something of a blur. There were numerous media interviews, spraying of champagne, very little sensible hydration and a lot of hugging. Steadily the other 10-in-10 runners came across the line, broken bodies sporting broad grins one and all. When 73 year old John Dawson crossed the line - smashing world records and showing us all what true guts and determination look like - it meant that our ragtag group of 13 had become the first ever to complete the challenge without a single casualty. We finished together what we had started together and this made the achievement even more special.

We each gave everything we had to give, often more than we even thought we had. We felt and saw things you wouldn't wish on any other person. In return, we have been rewarded with feelings that few can imagine, or are ever likely to taste, and which despite thinking about almost constantly since I find impossible to describe. It is without doubt the hardest thing I have ever done and is an experience I know will stay with me for a very long time.

State of body: In bits. Left ITB shot. Left knee knackered. Right hamstring wrecked. Calves very tight. Feet ruined. Completely spent of energy. Does it matter now? Not in the slightest.

State of mind: Huge sense of achievement, but also of relief. The weight has been lifted and I'm sure in time I will look upon this achievement with a huge amount of satisfaction and pride. Right now though, I feel slightly numb and hollow. The thing that has pervaded almost every waking thought for so long has now disappeared and I feel a little lost as to what to do next. I may even have to make do with the real world...

Urine colour: Magners Cider (unsurprisingly since I put about 8 pints of the stuff into my body following the race; Day 10 rehydration strategy very different from that of the previous 9)

Roadkill count: No new animals that I saw, but I suspect the road did take a few human victims on the day from the main marathon. Also, if you look carefully out on the road around Windermere, you may also find significant amounts of my blood, sweat and tears etched into the tarmac, along with a small part of my brain that I lost near Newby Bridge on Day 2.

The Brathay 10 in 10, now in its fifth year, is an endurance running fundraising event to support vulnerable young people.

You can watch the event unfold and see daily race results here:

By Andy Nice, 23 May 2011 – 1 comments

21 May 2011

Hit Me Baby One More Time

Brathay 10-in-10 Day 9

Time: 3:27:31

Verdict: A really satisfying run. In the last few days despite tiring legs I have begun feeling healthier and stronger within myself and have been itching to push harder, but have been nervous about overdoing things with still so many miles to come. Today I felt strong, so through caution to the wind, put my foot down early and never looked back. Got to halfway feeling good, then kicked on and ran a big reverse split getting home in 1:40. Not my fastest ever, but after the last week, a really pleasing one. Was rewarded at the finish by a range of family members in floods of tears. Kept myself together, but can’t promise it will be the same tomorrow. Liable to be an emotional one for us all.

State of body: Still breaking down, but am sure it will get me round to the finish tomorrow. Lurgy finally seems to have gone completely, and as such am finding a second (week?) wind on the course. Better late than never. Not sure my feet would fancy doing too much more, otherwise am actually looking forward to getting out tomorrow and blasting it round as quickly as I can.

State of mind: Like a small boy on Christmas Eve. Excited that the big day has finally arrived, but a little nervous just in case I don’t get what I want. The atmosphere in the group has brightened in the last day or so as we all now feel that we will get across the finishing line tomorrow. For most of this event, that had looked far from certain. People have also arrived today for the full (but notably singular!) Windermere Marathon tomorrow and they have shown huge amounts of support and respect for our efforts. Weather forecast isn’t great for tomorrow, but I still hope we enjoy a carnival atmosphere and can share some smiles on the course tomorrow. We’ve definitely earned it.

Urine colour: Martini Bianco

Roadkill count: Just another solitary ‘Scouse’ blackbird on the road today. Sadly I have a few doubts over the legitimacy of this and suspect that it may even have been a roadkill ‘plant’. Martin, the cameraman from CumbriaLive.TV, shows an unhealthy interest in this section of the blog and clearly possesses a bloodlust for furry creatures. He was audibly disappointed by yesterday’s roadkill no-show and I fear he may have forced the issue today with a victim of his own. Lovely man and great camerawork, but don’t leave him alone with your budgie or gerbil.

The Brathay 10 in 10, now in its fifth year, is an endurance running fundraising event to support vulnerable young people.

You can watch the event unfold and see daily race results here:



By Andy Nice, 21 May 2011 – 1 comments

20 May 2011

Taste It

Brathay 10-in-10 Day 8

Time: 3:35:23

Verdict: An even better day. Was in a very sorry state last night after not eating and drinking enough through the afternoon, topped off with a particularly evil bout of physio (your card is marked Sue). Didn’t feel great when I woke up either, but managed to eat and drink solidly before the off to build a bit of strength up. Decided to push a little harder than previous days and despite escalating problems with left knee, right hamstring and feet, felt pretty good all the way round. Was lucky enough to be joined on the last few miles by 10-in-10 legend and all round running maniac Steve Edwards and we pushed on to get me round in my best time since Day 1. Better still, have felt good ever since. Could be sensible refuelling, could be a solid physio session. Or perhaps it was the very welcome arrival of my better half? Who can say?

State of body: Unsurprisingly, is deteriorating day by day now. Right hamstring continues to twang on regular basis; left knee is very painful due to ITB issues and right foot looks like bubble wrap now due to growing number of blisters. That said, when I look around at the rest of the team, I realise I am in relatively good shape and should be grateful. How some of them are getting round each day is beyond me. Heroes one and all.

State of mind: The dark fog seems to have lifted. Manflu finally seems to have grown bored of me and is on the way out. I think despite our collective ailments, we can all sense the end is not too far away now. As if to mirror this, this afternoon the sun has broken through for the first time in a week and we have been blessed with a beautiful evening. The weather forecast for the weekend is mixed, but I think at this stage, it would take something of biblical proportions to knock us down. That said, if the big man in the sky is listening, 10-12 degrees, no wind or rain and brilliant sunshine for the last 100 yards would be perfect. Cheers. Amen.

Urine colour: Green Tea

Roadkill count: No new furry casualties to report today. Mother Nature 1 : Cumbrian Drivers 0.

The Brathay 10 in 10, now in its fifth year, is an endurance running fundraising event to support vulnerable young people.

You can watch the event unfold and see daily race results here:  


By Andy Nice, 20 May 2011 – 0 comments

19 May 2011

Over And Over

Brathay 10-in-10 Day 7

Time: 3:36:52

Verdict: A good day. Confidence boosted yesterday by a steady, stronger run. Today was very similar. Went out at a good, but unspectacular pace and got through to halfway intact. Pushed on a little from there and with the body seemingly OK, I ran my fastest splits in the last 5 miles. Nice. Quicker than yesterday and fastest of all days barring the energised anomaly that is Day 1.

State of body: Legs still OK, although glutes, right hamstring and left knee could well spit the dummy soon if I keep doing this. Worst are my feet. Small blisters yesterday turned into a couple of rippers today. Didn't trouble me on the course, but will need to get them drained, cleaned and strapped up for tomorrow. Was thinking of posting a photo of them, but am sure nobody would thank me for that.

State of mind: Improving day by day. Am starting to dare to believe that I may finish in one piece. Trying not to look more than a day ahead, but there is definitely light at the end of the tunnel now. The fact that the weather perked up today also made the whole thing not seem quite so horrific. Would hazard that I am back up to 50% Andy again now.

Urine colour: Mountain Dew

Roadkill count: A bumper day for my growing army of roadkill fans. Firstly, a completely flat sparrow early on. Then, around 10 miles, I spotted a bag of guts sitting in the middle of the road. Looked like a plate of butcher's offcuts. Didn't have the time or skill to identify the beast, but size-wise would say it was a rabbit. Chalk it up. To finish the set, around 20 miles there was a very fresh and perky looking blackbird on the pavement. It looked like it had literally been knocked off its perch in the tree. Scouse perhaps?

The Brathay 10 in 10, now in its fifth year, is an endurance running fundraising event to support vulnerable young people.

You can watch the event unfold and see daily race results here:


By Andy Nice, 19 May 2011 – 4 comments

18 May 2011

Days Go By

Brathay 10-in-10 Day 6

Time: 3:40:09

Verdict: A better day. Having really struggled for the last 10 miles yesterday, I finally managed to sort my routine afterwards, eat and drink well and get a (first) decent nights sleep. Also had a good chat to Robin from Team Nutrition, who provided some good hydration advice and some electrolyte supplements. All in all, it seemed to work. Despite waking up feeling rotten (again) and struggling early on in the run, by 10 miles I had found a decent rhythm and actually picked things up second half to run a slight reverse split. More importantly, I wasn't in bits at the finishing line like in previous days (although still had my obligatory 5 minute lie down on the lawn afterwards - bliss).

State of body: Relentless treatment from the BodyRehab folks (three sessions today) and the body continues to hold together. The price you pay is hours of extremely painful stretching (see above) and some shaving of the legs. Still, if it gets me to the start the next day in decent shape, I'll deal with it (and I do secretly like the feel of my silky smooth thighs). Safe to say that the pain doesn't end when you cross the line each day...

State of mind: Better after a decent run. What definitely helped today though was the enormous, growing support from all of you out there. Knowing so many friends - both old and new - are keeping an eye on me and pushing me along really makes a huge difference. I have now spent around 22 hours running almost entirely alone, but with all of you cheering me on in my mind. Your words are priceless. Thanks to all of you; you'll never know how much your support has meant. But don't you dare stop yet.

Urine colour: Veuve Clicquot

Roadkill count: Only new casualty of the day was the bug that flew into my mouth at about 10 miles. That said, I almost became part of the statistic myself at about halfway when I was clipped on the arm by a passing white van. No real damage done, although some passing spectators were treated to some fairly agricultural language from yours truly. Sorry kids.

The Brathay 10 in 10, now in its fifth year, is an endurance running fundraising event to support vulnerable young people.

You can watch the event unfold and see daily race results here:

By Andy Nice, 18 May 2011 – 4 comments

17 May 2011

Half The World Away

Brathay 10-in-10 Day 5

Time: 3:46:53

Verdict: Another very tough day. Having changed beds, I finally managed a decent night's sleep and felt pretty reasonable this morning. Went out strong and steady but really struggled for energy after halfway. With 10km to go I then started overheating and the head became very foggy. Still, we all got round safely again and we're now halfway there. That said, a little voice in my head says that the next five are only going to be even harder...

State of body: Legs still holding up well. Lots of great work from the BodyRehab folks - 2 hours of treatment and ice bath (see above) today - seem to be keeping things together. Had some ultrasound treatment and taping of the dodgy hamstring, and that seems to have stopped it getting any worse today too. Still feel rough as hell most of the time within myself due to the lurgy and that seems to be the limiting factor to the running.

State of mind: Very low on course today as I began to run out of steam with still a way to go. All alone dark thoughts flash through your mind on a continuous basis and it's a struggle to keep on top of them. The concentration and focus required leaves my mind exhausted all the time. All in all it makes me like a moody teenager with incredible mood swings and emotional frailty. Nobody tells you it will be like it; it's so very hard.

Urine colour: Honeydew Melon

Roadkill count: Visual confirmation of fox at halfway. Didn't look as 'fresh' today. No further additions. Special mention to the soiled nappy at 16 miles though. A notable landmark for us all now.

The Brathay 10 in 10, now in its fifth year, is an endurance running fundraising event to support vulnerable young people.

You can watch the event unfold and see daily race results here:


By Andy Nice, 17 May 2011 – 4 comments

16 May 2011

Dark And Long

Brathay 10-in-10 Day 4

Time: 3:42:56

Verdict: The most focussed run of my life. Having gone to bed feeling better about life, had a horrendous night of hot/cold flushes and dizziness and only managed 4 hours of sleep. Felt awful this morning as a result and dreaded the run. Kept a very tight pace to keep my heart rate down and with my iPod packing up at 10km (note: it has been raining NON-STOP here for two days now), I spent the next three hours only listening to my breathing, focussing on the road five feet ahead of me and making sure I kept things steady and strong. Tough day for everyone here, but was pleased to run well and manage a faster time than previous few days.

State of body: Holding up reasonably well still. Slight hamstring twang on right side but getting regular treatment for it. Still can't shift the manflu, but have kind of accepted this now and am running at a corresponding pace - the Cumbrian Shuffle.

State of mind: Not so good. There simply is no let-up mentally. Normally you build up to a race, run hard and then get to enjoy the spoils and the release of achievement. Here, having finished one, it is not long before you are preparing for the next. All running and no respite makes Andy a very sad boy.

Urine colour: Chanel No.5

Roadkill count: Despite not seeing it myself, there were reports from other runners of a 'very fresh' badger around halfway. Will verify tomorrow, but this would be the first spotting of one of the 'Windermere Big 5'. Just a fox, deer, rabbit and owl to go. Exciting times.

By Andy Nice, 16 May 2011 – 6 comments

15 May 2011

Mr Jones

Brathay 10-in-10 Day 3

Time: 3:45:40

Verdict: A cautious, but good day. Despite a restless night with a range of dark thoughts still bouncing around, I passed my pre-breakfast medical and was clear to run, albeit under strict orders to give the other runners (and perhaps my banjaxed body) a fighting chance by taking it very gently. Went out slower than I can remember ever running and actually quite enjoyed it as a result. Was slow to halfway, but importantly was still in possession of my sight, hearing and general dexterity. Bonus. Pushed on a bit second half and ended up running a 5 minute reverse, but more importantly felt reasonably good afterwards. Was also great to have old friends Dean and Helen Jones on course pulling me round; thanks so much guys, you don't realise what an incredible boost it is to see familiar faces after a day like yesterday.

State of body: Started the day fairly Indiana (rugged but completely beaten up) but thankfully stayed Grace (strong) during the run, feeling slightly Tom (knackered) now.

State of mind: Marginally Catherine Zeta (mental) first thing, a little Bridget (nervous) on course, but fully Vinnie (crazy focus) now.

Urine colour: Sauvignon Blanc

Roadkill count: No new casualties that I saw, so seems it was a good day for Cumbrian wildlife too. Congrats.


By Andy Nice, 15 May 2011 – 4 comments

14 May 2011

Where's Your Head At?

Brathay 10-in-10 Day 2

Time: 3:43:13

Verdict: SHITHOUSE. Without doubt the most hellish few hours of my life (eclipsing the previous record holder of a Sex And The City double bill). My manflu came back with a vengeance this morning and with the body working hard to deal with the lurgy, it had little capacity to get me round another 26.2 miles. As such, I need to really ease off tomorrow and not put too much pressure on my already creaking immune system and just get round safely. Won't be easy with my limited two running speeds of flat-out and stop, both of which got equally thorough workouts today. May even have to revert to 'jogging'.

State of body: WINEHOUSE. 1.37 at halfway and all was going to plan until very suddenly and without warning I lost the ability to see or hear properly and could no longer feel my hands. Scary stuff. Thankfully the support cars spotted me weaving down the road with all the style and form of a Friday night drunk, and helped get me through the last 13 miles. Spent several minutes on my back with my feet in the air trying to get some blood to my (more than usually) addled brain, and then have various concerned faces plying me with drinks and energy gels to get me home.

State of mind: NUTHOUSE. Have been emotionally and mentally demoralised during races previously, but today took me to an altogether darker place than ever before. Very, very hard, and not an experience I intend to repeat if at all possible. If the running gods are listening, I'd be really grateful if today could be my solitary 'bad one' of the 10 days as I'm not sure my body or mind could do too many more of those...

Urine colour: Lemon Barley

Roadkill count: Running count was at 4 (1 blackbird and 3 pigeons) when my ability to focus left me. However, I did see a mirage of another 10-in-10 runner just behind me at mile 22, so my recall should not be relied upon.


By Andy Nice, 14 May 2011 – 3 comments

13 May 2011

1 In 10

Brathay 10-in-10 Day 1

Time: 3:13:43

Verdict: All went to plan in the end, albeit slightly quicker than perhaps was needed. Cold and absolutely pissed down as we started, but soon cleared up. First hour was very hard work, heart rate off the scale; manflu clearly not leaving without a fight so spent most of the day coating the Cumbrian roads with mighty snot rockets. Litres of the stuff came out; not sure where it was coming from at the end, but it stank and tasted foul. Anyhoo, started to feel more myself after an hour or so and put in a good shift to get past 20 miles in good time. Last 45 minutes were quite tough going, but tried to ease off slightly and save the legs towards the end. Tomorrow morning will be the real test however...

State of body: Felt a little ropey after the race, but 10 minutes in the ice bath followed by the magic hands of the BodyRehab physios have got the legs feeling pretty springy again now.

State of mind: Upbeat. Lots of happy punters in the group, so everyone fairly chirpy. Tough days to come though no doubt.

Urine colour: Cloudy Apple

Roadkill count: 4 (squirrel, blackbird, pigeon and some small rodent - I want to say vole but think it may have been a mole)


By Andy Nice, 13 May 2011 – 4 comments

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