Mytholmroyd woman tackles world’s toughest mountain race
A woman from Mytholmroyd sums up her tackling of the world’s toughest mountain race as ‘not bad for a menopausal woman of 52’.
Kirstie Law took on the challenge which is a gruelling challenge which sees runners covering 236 miles over six days along the spine of Wales from Conwy to Cardiff.
Each day involves a 40 mile run over the most inhospitable terrain with each of the checkpoints on mountains summits including the infamous Crib Goch ridge in Snowdonia.
The rules are merciless and when Kirstie, from Mytholmroyd, finished just two minutes after the cut-off point on day one, it meant she was no longer able to continue as a competitor.
Hugely disappointed but nonetheless undeterred, Kirstie continued on a slightly reduced non-competitive route.
She’s very proud of her achievement with only 90 runners – just 25 per cent of the original 367 runners – completing the challenge in time and receiving a coveted Dragon Trophy. Of those, only seven were females.
It was the unprecedented heat which caused so many runners to fall with temperatures reaching 38 degrees.
“It was carnage, people were wandering around, dazed, like the walking wounded," Kirstie said. "The medical tent was like a scene from MASH, full of people on IV drips, people being helicoptered off. The rocks were so hot, we could have cooked an egg on them.
"When we ran out of water we had to get it from bogs and treat it with purifying tablets.”
Kirstie teamed up with another two ‘veteran’ runners, 58-year-old Debbie from Washington DC and 57-year-old Gill from Derby and the three spurred each other on – also stopping to help those affected by the heat.
“Some guys were in a really bad state, just grey and going round in circles unable to remember their names. We had to stop to help them. One guy passed out in his dinner bowl right next to me at supper!”
During the race competitors are housed for the night –between 10pm and 4am if lucky – in large tents supplied by the organisers.
“It was a case of ate, slept, ate ran,” said Kirstie.
“It was the hardest thing I’ve ever done in my life, I spent a year training for it, I’m not an elite athlete and it was as much a test of ‘keeping it all together’ as being physically able.”
“I’m really proud of myself, because I continued on and didn’t just jack it in. I didn’t have to seek any medical help or get help from anybody, it just showed I can do Ok and look after myself up on the mountains, really doing OK for a 52-year-old menopausal woman.”
Waiting to see mum over the finishing line were son Ellis, 14, daughter Charlotte 11, and husband Iain - the children running the last few yards with her. This tough veteran ‘still cries ‘at the memory.
Giving up was never an option - Kirstie was determined to keep going because she was running to raise money for Cancer Research – in memory of her mum, Hazel, who died 25 years ago, uncle Gerald and close friend John Jones, all lost to cancer. And she says: “I feel like they’ve been with me every step of the way.”
To donate to Kirstie click here