Arriving in Sospel about 10.25pm, I was expecting a big aid station. The two guys I had been intermittently running alongside had gone on and on about the food and what they were going to eat. Turns out that it was a couple of trestle tables with Coke and water. I filled my backpack with fluids, had half a Go Bar whilst cleaning out my shoes of various bits of trail debris, and then was on my way sipping Coke as I went. I managed a little joke with some of the volunteers, and then mentally prepared myself for the monster steep climb ahead. I know this path well, having run it on many trail races and also run down on the Pre Cro 2 days previously. It does not get any easier, as the gradient is such that it required me to use my hands to pull myself up by tree roots. I overtook a couple of guys that were struggling, and managed to navigate the path correctly despite some the odd missing marker. One chap was stumbling back down the hill, holding on to a bush to slow his descent and the veins popping out on his calves as his legs braced themselves whilst he slid and stumbled down the path. He had clearly given up in his head.
Next stop Peille, although the climb out of Sospel was brutal, and long. About 10km and 1000m of altitude change. I played telephone tennis with Mark H as I went up the hill to discuss the finish, which still seemed a depressingly long way away. Eventually we spoke and the chat cheered me up, and not long after a chap I had encountered earlier in the race commented I seemed to have regained my form. We topped the summit, the marshall said it was 7km of descent to Peille and I was off at a rate of knots, stopping to warn the marshalls that one of my fellow competitors had gone to sleep just off the track, and that they should probably go get him if he didn't turn up in 30 mins or so being as it was chilly, humid and he was in shorts and t shirt. Not long after I passed another chap laying down on the side of the track about to use his backpack as a pillow.
The descent into Peille was not all descent and there was an evil little climb just before which took 30 mins or so, but soon I was at the 2nd last checkpoint. I changed my headtorch batteries, and was grateful for a cup of tea with a sugar lump to warm me up, with a Coke chaser naturally, and filled up my pack with fluids for the last time. I was not sure which route I was to be taking for the last ridge before the finish, but I knew most of the routes and there was nothing they could throw at me to stop me from finishing. I cracked on, overtaking a couple as we left the road and went up another steep scrambling climb towards the Col de Madone. I was pleasantly surprised we were not sent up to the very top, and then I could see Monaco below me, and I felt like I was sprinting (obviously I wasn't, but it felt like it!). I overtook quite a few more people and found myself approaching the Monte Carlo Golf Club as the sun crept over the horizon below. I called Mrs R and Mark H and said it would be 45-90 mins to the finish depending on the route. Sure enough, just before La Turbie and the final check point we were sent off to do another climb and descent before we arrived at the aid station. I just got my ticket scanned, refused all food and drinks and moved on towards the finish along with the Brit I had met earlier in the race and an Italian he had been running for most of the race, with. I led them through La Turbie and onto the Tete de Chien track for the descent to the finish. All of a sudden I momentarily lost my wind and had to pause, enabling them to move on ahead of me, but I soon regained it and was skipping down the track overtaking 3 or 4 more people as I went. I zig zagged through the streets of Cap D'Ail, onto the Sentier Littoral and ran all the way to the finish, picking up #2 & #3 offspring who accompanied me, whilst being filmed by #1 and Mrs R and Jack cheering me on.
The organisers very kindly presented me with a trophy, a silver platter, and a bag full of goodies for my efforts and we got further exposure for Diabetes UK at the awards ceremony. I allowed myself my first beer in many many weeks in celebration, and then took the kids back to the beach for a swim and a sleep. I am so happy to have completed the challenge I set myself and it all seems rather surreal. 235km, something like 12800m of up and the same down, and almost 3 nights of no sleep. 41 and a half hours of motion in 3 and a half days. It has also been great for the fund raising efforts. We have raised almost £14000 and have raised the profile immensely in Monaco. My feet are recovering nicely although espadrilles are about the only shoes I can wear right now. The trainers have been binned as they were in a worse state than my feet at the end! I am keeping moving, and see no reason why I cannot get myself perambulatory for a slow jog round Monaco on Thursday morning, with Jack!