Kirsteen’s Patagonian Quest.

Kirsteen Welch put everything into training for The World Mountain Running Championships 2019 (up and down) which took place on the 16th of November 2019, at Villa La Angostura in Argentina writes Hamish Spence.
She worked so very hard throughout the year to qualify for this event, winning many competitions to get there. However, preparing for an event in an environment such as Patagonia, when you live and work in Devon is a tall order. Although in Devon we have great rolling hills that are still a challenge to the majority of us, we do not have the altitude problems that come with running in the mountainous region that this competition took place. Before the race Kirsteen took part in many acclimatisation training sessions in the mountains. Short runs, long runs, stretches and exercises. Physically this girl was ready to take part in this gruelling event.
However, on the day just before being setting off and under starters orders, she began to feel unwell! Things got worse during the first 5k, so much so that had it been any other competition, she would have bailed out and stopped. But this was not any other race and she was wearing the Team GB kit. Over the next few miles other things started to niggle as-well! First her hamstrings, then her quads cramped up and then to add to the problems, her calves also cramped up causing her to really struggle through the pain. All this time she still felt ill and didn’t know how she could go on! But on she went, digging extremely deep inside herself, fighting the severe pain she felt and carrying on although everything was screaming at her to stop.
The fact that Kirsteen finished this race, feeling as ghastly as she did, with the severe cramps that slowed her down all the way through the 26 plus miles, is a testament to her complete and utter grit and determination. In Kirsteen’s first Team GB event, having felt so rough throughout it, she still managed to finish in 32nd position overall out of the 75 runners who actually finished this event. Shortly after crossing the finish line, Kirsteen collapsed and got taken to the medical tent were she was immediately put on a drip to re-hydrate.
She definitely gave her all in this event and from all those that know her, we are all incredibly proud of her achievement in Argentina. Kirsteen is a fantastic role model to young girls everywhere, in fact I know she inspires the members of the SRC, myself defiantly included. GREEN she certainly felt, but MIGHTY she did run, well done Kirsteen