ITERA Expedition Race Wales 2014

In The Beginning

In the beginning there was the video, a superb piece of marketing collateral designed to lul the adventurer and ultra runner into an excited yet secure state of mind where the beauty of the scenery, the concept of a journey with team mates over a nice sunny week in Wales was the perfect holiday destination. How little did we know?

So Steve said, ITERA, will you do it? I said yes, then Heather, and latterly Jill did too, we had a team. We did some training and some team building but no where near as much as we’d liked. We’ve all busy lives and live all across the North of England so it was difficult to get the quality time together.

We did have some good times, the night trek across the Yorkshire 3 Peaks was challenging and fun, the days out in the lakes was relaxed and all too short.

Then the days seemed to catch up with us, kit briefings, conference calls over the internet bringing some of us right up to date with the technological world, panic buying of the extra dry bag, race food and many other assorted items. Some last minute deals with suppliers to sponsor us, thanks to Petzl and Extreme Foods. Some worrying nights waiting for critical kit to arrive from far off lands.

And packing and more packing and re-packing and bike boxes, and kit bags, spares for the team, overnight bags for the journey, MORE socks!

Then we’re off! In Jill’s van, stuffed with all the above and more, it’s a long way to South Wales, a stop along the way breaks the journey and allows us to catch our breath. The team is not yet in one place, more travelling to do.

Then it seems we’re there, Cardiff, and the team assembles, slowly at first, then at last we’re all together, it’s late but we’re almost at the start line. Almost  but not quite, crash out until tomorrow.

Registration

It’s Saturday, the day of registration and kit checks, meeting neighbours, from Spain and friends from all over, some who’ll be competitors some as officials.

Registration, we’re team 31, those maps, oh how pretty they look all pristine and colourful all 24 of them. Those OS icons, symbols and legends we know so well, all strung out into this amazing line from the North Coast to the far South of Wales. From Caernarfon back to where we were right then, Cardiff, and while it’s much like we expected it’s full of huge surprises and excitement and, ooohs and aaahs and expectations and the probable disappointments and aches and pains, we’ll put those aside for now. This is going to be a journey.

Right now there are things to be done, more packing and re-packing, weighing and – RE-PACKING! Apparently you can have too much kit Steve!