The start of the day went like this......woke up, felt awful from Bewl marathon yesterday, had a lush couple of sausage and egg baps for brekkie with beetroot juice, coffee, coke and fruit, got in the car and drove to Worthing. I dropped a couple of anti-inflammatory pills and met David Immune, Helen Smith, Peter Bowles and James Elson. James had been for a curry and 4 beers last night. I had been on the cider and wine at a BBQ and David had been on the BBQ kebab meat feast. David reminded me that Bewl had 2300ft of climb yesterday and we all compared injuries and aches.
The plan was simple.....get round. I knew what this was like as I have done 3FM twice before and a double weekend last year.The first 2 miles up 700ft to Cissbury Ring was a killer.Some would call it limbering up. PB, Helen and James shot off whilst I, busy talking, ran into an overhanging rambling rose and my well chosen red Salomon top was splattered with blood. I caught David after about 3 miles and we ran together pretty much most of the rest of the race, probably never more than 500m apart, save for the last few miles.
I have now run 38 at 38 yrs of age marathons and ultras and it has been a while since David and I have run together. Our inseparable man-love was reignited after a 2 year cooling off period as I have struggled with speed after the broken leg and big D has gone from strength to strength. Today was about getting round and we cracked a few jokes and shared some stories over the miles, something that really made my day today.
So it was back down Cissbury Ring and then up onto the Downs proper.....we had a strategy, keep calm and bimble forward! Getting to the river Adur marks the point of tidal sea level. It is then a 2.8 mile slog up to the top of Devil's Dyke with a number of steep escarpments and undulations that take you close to 800ft. David blasted the hills. I couldn't keep up with his pace on the steep climbs but reeled back on the shallow sections with a purposeful grind up the hill. On the switchback we dropped back down into a race-long headwind after 11 miles. Back to the Adur and up towards the Downs that form the Chanctonbury Massif. It was at this point that we overtook a lot of early runners who had gone out too hard and perhaps the 18 degree bright sunshine had gotten the better of them.
From 17, David hit the hill harder than I could manage and off he went. I presumed I would not see him again but I knew we had broken the back of the race and much to my surprise, caught him back up at 19. The well stocked checkpoints were a source of banter with the marshals and also a chance to cool off. A really well organised course. We hit the top of the 800ft Chanctonbury Ring knowing that there was only Cissbury to negotiate along with some undulations.I'll have a look at my Garmin and report back but I think there was definitely a negative split going on. We had done a fair bit of power walking on the hills. I'm pleased with mine as I can power walk about the same speed as some of the runners. Also a great chance to refuel and conserve energy.
We reached a gentlemanly urination stop and I thought big D was just behind. I should have looked back but as there was downhill and he is significantly quicker than me, I thought he would have caught up. I looked down at my watch and thought that I might just be able to beat last year's time so put my head down, overtook about 25 people and blitzed the last 5 miles like back in the day. I whizzed through the last 2 CPs without stopping, ran most of Cissbury back up and then came the last 2 miles. This perhaps at the end of a marathon/ultra has to be the best finish ever. 700ft straight down in 2 miles and then onto the finish. I clocked 2 x 7s for the last 2 miles and a 4.32 finish which was 6 mins better than last year. Despite me not feeling on form, I appear to be better! That is 2 faster finishes in the weekend compared to last year. David took a big slice of the glory pie by clocking a 5.25 (???!!!!) last mile and coming in 2 mins behind. Machine.
Anyway its off to the Sylvan now for some well needed cider recovery.
Awesome to run once again with the living legend Mr Immune. It's been too long...lets do it again soon!