The Pembroke Coastal Challenge consists of three marathons in three days where you run along the Pembroke Coastal Trail. This is an absolutely beutiful area of the world and definitely a place worth putting on your bucket list. However, training in Houston, Texas could not prepare me for what was required. I looked up YouTube videos of the race to see the different terrains. I saw gravel so I ran many miles on gravel. I also saw lots of dirt trails, so I trained on dirt trails. But what we came across was mud! Not just regular mud but ankle deep mud. Those in the challenge that live in the Pembroke area were flying across the stuff. As for Tina and I, it slowed us down considerably. While trudging through the mud I fell not once but three times. The first time I just got agitated, the second time I twisted my ankle and fell face first in the most awesome grass ever. I just laid there for a while having an emotional moment, but felt I better get up before Tina found me laying there and panicked. The third time however, after I fell I heard some stomping and looked up to find five cows staring down at me. One warning given to us before the challenge began was the cliffs. It was mentioned that 5 people had died by slipping off the cliffs from 1981 – 1996. I did not want to be the next statistic. My concern was not the closeness to the cliff as it was the closeness combined with the slippery mud. I completed 20 miles and had to make the decision that I should not continue the challenge. It is the first time I have not completed a race I have started, but with conditions I was just not prepared for I had to listen to that gut feeling that says to stop. So I did. I am very disapointed but I know I did what was best for me. Below are some more pictures of this fabulous coast.
Even though I did not finish it was an experience I will never forget. I have never run through cow pastures, flocks of sheep or among horses. If you are someone considering this race and you are from a flatland area I would suggest you really think about how you can train for such an event. If you are already one of these crazy mountain runners then this would be an amazing race for you. The staff were wonderful and very concerned for the welfare of each participant.