Two hundred miles is a really long way, around the exact distance between Manchester and London. If you were to go 200 miles vertically, you would reach the space station. It is a phenomenal feat of human strength, endurance and determination for a person to compete in a 200-mile footrace, especially coming in first place.
Ry Webb has been building to this distance for over a decade, jumping from marathon straight to ultra distance, stating: “I did a road marathon, then never left the trails after that.”
Ry has completed many Centurion races over his running career; however, he was initially deterred when he saw their Winter Downs 200 race had dropped.
“I was like, no, that’s just silly. That’s too far. Too far. However, the worm was there, and the bug kept getting bigger. So it wasn’t long before I’d signed up.”
Ry explained it was his partner, Laura, who convinced him to take on the challenge after they made a pact he would do it if she was prepared to crew him for the whole thing.
“It was that step into the unknown. It’s another string to your bow, as it were, to test yourself in a completely different way. I spent a lot of time trying to get my head around it. I’d done 100 miles in this time, so surely it’ll just be like this long to do 200. I remember how I felt at the end of that last 100 miles, and I couldn’t go a step further. You got to do it again. It took a while to process it.”
Ry explained that 200 miles aren’t just the race; it’s months of planning and training leading up to it, both physically and mentally, which he described as “all-consuming.”
“Once you sign up for it, you hit that button, and I think I’ll forget about it. And then every time I think about it, nerves wash over me. Even like six months out, I was like, oh, that’s a long way.”
The Centurion Winter Downs 200 is a 200-mile trail race taking place in a large loop around the South of England. Starting in Juniper Hall, the route takes in the North Downs Way, Vanguard Way, Alfriston, South Downs Way, Wayfarers Walk and the St. Swithuns Way up to Farnham. The route then rejoins the North Downs Way. Racers have 96 hours to complete this race.
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