So it is a bit of a delay in the write up. Usually it is within 24 hours but over a month later I needed to get round to it. A nice drive up to Hertfordshire for a nice race temperature start for this time of year. For me t-shirt weather but for some, it was a case of the 'Yukon Ultras' for others.
Dear readers might notice a change in my perceptions about the sport but in the last few months I have ditched the gear and gone for a lightweight approach to the longer runs. No backpack, no waistpack, just a bottle and what I can fit in my pockets. Liberating!
I arrived knowing very few faces. There were around 250 runners and after a packed race briefing and some race admin of my own it was off for 2 laps around the field. I spotted Craig Holgate from Centurion running team on the front laying down the marker as he went off like shit off a hot chrome shovel. I gently stretched out my tired legs and after the 2 laps we were on the road for a 1km descent to the Stort Navigation channel where we would out and back over the 30 miles. Ever short of miles this year I enter events now with some trepidation and this was no different. After 4 miles of feeling shit but striking up some good conversation with a local chap (sorry your name escapes me) I felt like I could give it some beans and caught up with a chap I had done the Downland Ultra with Dave Immune who remembered I had broken my leg 6 months previous. I felt a bit embarrassed I hadn't remembered his name and again this escapes me! So we ran together and beasted the next few miles racing through CP1 and heading onto CP2 for just a quick drink and then the turnaround at 15 miles which we did in 1hr 57 mins. I stopped for 5 to gather myself and drink and off we went again. I kept this up to 20 miles and then the wheels came off a bit.
What I really enjoyed was the high 5-ing runners coming the other way.....but sweating my bollocks off by this point seeing the throng of overdressed Hoka-compression-tight-rucksack-wearing-jacket-wearing-sunglasses-wearing obese runners made me question for a moment the technology in our beloved sport. I have been a bit of a sucker to some of these fads and fashions but now am becoming a bit retro in my belief that mind and body get you through the harsher parts of races and there is nothing that a couple of cups of coke and a handful of crisps won't solve. My favourite was the portly Lara Croft man who sported a gun belt of at least 20 gels across his chest and Buff man.....top to toes in Buff sponsored gear.......both these guys were BIG UNITS at potentially 18+ stone.
Anyway after my giggles at the caravan of colour, I hit the skids at around 20 miles and ploughed into the checkpoint and grazed like a horse. I was clearly light on training longer miles but enjoying the day with a permanent smile on my face. I hooked up with 24hr Track runner Nathan at about 24 miles in, recently projectile vom Nathan....we had a bit of a laugh and then trotted back the last 6 miles with some run-walking to come in 47th at 4.40. Not too bad for a lack of training but still well under the 5 hours I had in my head. A bit more sensible eating earlier and we would be looking at a 4.15.
Marathon #55. Done