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Sunday, 25 July 2010

Downland Challenge Race Report

A beautiful day......

The previous evening supping a small amount of shandy with Jezza in prep for the big one. Then an early night and then in the car at 6.50am and down to Jack and Jill for 8.30am down the A23. What a great meet at the foot of the biggest hill between Snowdonia and the Massiv Central. Johnny Mac, Robert, Matt UltraFlynn, Super Irish George and Helly D plus other that were ready in the 130 strong field ready to hit some Downs.

Having had a conservative (with a small c) start up Jack and Jill and onto Ditchling Beacon to test out the legs that were on the stiff side after 127km week (my biggest ever!) I had a few miles with a super duper newbie to Ultras...Josie......a brilliant young runner from Metros in Pinner. We felt a little naughty as both of us had bunked the London Summer League meet that our clubs were taking part in and had seconded ourselves to the finest Ultra in the South. Having said goodbye to Josie who wanted to run a little slower I caught up with George on the downhill off Ditchling and up to 8 miles I found out about the Cotswolds 100 that he had just ran. The man is an hero. A legend. He is sooo relaxed. Brilliant! After about 10 miles I hooked up with Matt aka UltraFlynn and Helly D adn we ran together until the end....well almost the end.

Dropping down to CP 1 was a breeze. CP 2 got hotter and at this point we saw strugglers. On the way back up from CP2 we were met by the leaders on the switchback, a small group of runners including 2 colchester harriers whom I have seen before at the round the island half. We began to pass runners and we had a run walk strategy that was purposeful but preparatory for mine and Helly D's Ridgeway Challenge. We did not want to get injured! Mile 16 to 20 was pure uphill but spirits were kept his by a mixture of profanity and Flynn's wittering. At the top of the mettaled track we came across a sight to behold......a naked ramber. We exchanged a woo hoo with him and then swifted upon our ascent negotiating kissing gates and wondering on the chaffing and sunburn issues that this gent might have. At least he had shoes, which was more than could be said for the barefoot runner.....Ouch!!!

Climb and climb and climb and then we were back at Ditchling. Flynn took after Green and the Maltesers and finished 5 ahead of us, racing the last 1.7 miles leaving me and Helly D to chat Ridgeway stuff. I came in about 9 minutes slower than last year but Immune will tell you just how bad I was at 22 last year. This time bother. Felt really great at the finish and managed a sprint to the line and a 45th place. It was such a different story to last year where Ditchling finished me off. This time round I was fresh and conscious of not pushing it at all, using the sort of strategies that I will want to employ in the Ridgeway. Now to work on the water and Nuun strategy!

What a super day. Loved it. Loved the company and will see you all next year

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