The Finish – San Pablo de Buceite to La Linea 48km

I will always remember the great feeling of the excitement bubbling away last night. Everyone was in a great mood. Dinner was actually pretty good, and no-one complained about the long walk to get to the restaurant. No-one cared that the service was slow. Who cares if we didn’t get much sleep tonight? One little day.

It was very cold in the gym last night. I slept till around 1130 then needed the loo. After that I didn’t really sleep. My mind was active (unusual). As we left in the morning, People were singing and whooping. We were done. This was a day to appreciate our achievement. My body was in its now normal battered state but things were different. This alone is proof of the positive mind being the most powerful physical tool. I felt strong. I felt I could push hard, but not today.

Yesterday, we lost sight of Gibraltar as we came down off the mountains and lost height. I was very excited to see it again and was eagerly scanning the skyline as we ran. Fred and I ran together again. We should finish this thing together. We have become quite close over the many hours on the road together. We are also the two youngest in the race.

Gibraltar doesn’t come into view until we are at the final cp with only 6.6km left. It is a glorious sight. Maybe one of the most incredibly beautiful sights of my life, not so much for its looks, but because of the many hours spent toiling, the many times that I was convinced that this was not possible for me and the much doubt about myself. We are now running along the seafront and I am buzzing. Fred and I have caught up with Fabrice. Fabrice had to pull out of the 2009 TE on day 56 because he badly cut his finger lifting his case, so I know this is seriously big for him too.

We then hear a whistle. There is the rickety old finish that has served us well for the last 63 days. I get handed a Union flag and my good friend Yoshi is there offering me his pointy hat which is apparently called a kaso. I take my cap off and proudly put it on and with the flag flying behind me, the three of us finish together. I go immediately to Lou and we hug. I cry like a baby with happiness. I have finished.

I have showered and had the pleasure of not having to handwash my running kit for the first time in 64 days. Tonight we have a dinner in the hotel where awards get dished out. This will be nice as everyone will be so happy and relaxed with nothing to do tomorrow. I am looking forward to having an explore of the rock as it looks amazing, and I really hope to see the cheeky monkeys.

I will sign off now. Maybe I will write again with some afterthoughts once it’s all had a chance to settle in.

Before I forget, I must thank everyone of you that messaged me somehow or another with your lovely positive comments. I drew so much from them that certainly helped a great deal during the harder times (all?). I would check my phone obsessively in the evenings. You all helped me get to this spot right now, so a sincere thank you to you all.

5 thoughts on “The Finish – San Pablo de Buceite to La Linea 48km

  1. Huge congratulations Neil! Such an epic achievement and amazing given that you weren’t sure how your ankle was going to hold up. Well done on pushing through right to the end and showing us what mental fortitude really is. Now go enjoy those monkeys!

  2. Well done and massive congratulations on an awesome achievement Neil. Proud of you and inspired by you – congratulations from all of us at Udos Choice HQ

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