Alison Walker has recently completed the 297km “Smog Graham round” FKT attempt. We interviewed her after her attempt to see how she got on.
How did the attempt go, compared to how you expected it to go?
The attempt started off well but when we hit the night sections there were several navigational errors due to golf courses being shut and also running away from cows and horses! We lost about 6 hours in total from the first night and I was exceptionally down from that. Coupled with my tiredness and being unable to nap, I was slowly losing the fight and just wanted to give up! It felt like there were more lows than highs on that run, probably need to work on my mental strength a bit more!
The route was also quite exposed, and it was warm on Sunday and Monday! There was quite a lot of rural road running which saw lots of cars bombing down, so we had to walk cautiously!
There were beautiful parts of the route like the north downs way and the SE London parks. Watching the sunrise over primrose hill with my friends was also magical. Watching the sunset on High Barnet was also beautiful - so it was not so bad overall!
Unfortunately, my feet swelled so much I had to change into my husband’s shoes at mile 120. Whilst it meant my feet didn’t feel bound, I had some horrid blisters and had to be careful coming down the trails as it was a bit loose for me!
Did you prepare well for the route?
I did recce the last 50k, which was good as we had to go through that in the dark. However, I also knew what was coming from that 50k, so it also worked against me. I could’ve done more recce on the Kent and Surrey areas, but as I’m still not comfortable using public transport I didn’t do it.
What fuel did you use along the way?
I used Unived gels, Luchos Dullitos, sushi, precision hydration, bagels and a cheeky McDonald’s
How long did the entire attempt take you?
54:33, way too long!
How are you recovering, and what are you using to recover?
Sleep. Lots of sleep. I tried to nap on the course but failed a few times so basically went 2.5 days with no sleep!
I had a coco turmeric latte at the finish and a massage yesterday but my feet are still swollen
What have you got planned next (once you have a rest haha!)
Gloucester 24 elite race - should be a sprint in comparison, right?