Dean Bailey, 59, from Chandlers Ford, Eastleigh, Hampshire, is coming back to run for fun this year after both he and his daughter, Lisa Bailey, 31, completed the nonstop Race to the King together in 14 hours and 45 minutes raising £1400 for the British Heart Foundation last year.
How did you find Race to the King last year?
The Race to the King was the icing on the cake after completing a number of races building up to the main event in June. I have been running for around 10 years and got my daughter running in 2011. We have run nearly every event together since.
Have you completed many other challenges?
I have completed a number of races – 10k, 10 mile, half marathons, a couple of Marathons on the Clarendon Way and some looped ultra races.
The Race to the King was a race I had looked at before having completed five other ultras before, Thunder Run, Endure 24 and Endure 12/15, but these are run in loops, while the Race to the King is a point-to-point.
Why would you recommend Race to the King?
The reviews were great as was the information before, during and after the event, but what made this race so good was the support, organisation, the location and the whole thing just coming together.
On the day we started our non-stop race at 08:30 among many other runners soaking up the atmosphere, and just felt relaxed, thanks partly to the organisation and the feel around the start.
Do you have any advice for people taking part in Race to the King 2018?
The real challenge is not to get caught up with the swell of runners leading the pack who set off at a faster pace. We set off in a gentle rhythm and the miles started to click off, helped by the support by other runners and the draw of the aid stations with amazing food, drinks and support. Mile after mile we kept to plan and passed our half way marker in around five hours thirty minutes which was good. We felt good and the legs were fine, all thanks to the great training plan provided by Race to the King.
We did the stop-off for food in the main camp and what a display of food we found! We rehydrated and had a quick chat before setting off again. Hitting 30 miles we were still going strong but the hills were starting to bite and the feet were feeling the strain. The family met us in the Queen Elizabeth Country park, which was a great boost.
Then it was about getting down to the hard graft of the last 20 miles. Despite blisters and sore legs seeing Winchester in the distance was fantastic and the tough hills behind us faded into the memory.
What was it like crossing the finish line?
The finish was very emotional for both of us. There can’t be many dads who get to run an ultra of this class with their daughter. Seeing our family at the end was just brilliant and once again we were filled with elation having done the distance and having raised so much for the British Heart Foundation.
Will you be doing anything differently this year?
Last years training worked and the plan went well but I have a couple of minor changes for 2018. I will take a bit less kit this time around as I know the course. I will also tape my feet this year – the blisters for the last 10 miles were very sore; and I might not run as many hills. That said, my challenge this year is to train harder to get to the finish in daylight.
The real reflection on 2017 came a few days later, when I said to my family “that was the best event I have ever done”. It was at that point I decided to do it all again. I can’t wait to stand on the start line again a year older and race wiser.