So in order to prep myself for the Ridgeway R86 in a few weeks, I thought I would do some night running and have a gentle marathon at the same time. This was not one to rush, a few days before our holiday and a month before one of my 2 'A' races of the season. I did't want to go apex over triangle on Cocking Down as I did on the 2014 SDW100 and then be ruined for the summer.
So a busy day of trampolining and kids parties preceded the drive down to QECP park on the A3. As you might expect, there was an eclectic mix of runners and nutters for this night event. Rain had been forecast so I packed waterproof and a spare head torch in case the new SILVA trail runner 3 did not work out in terms of comfort. I had a chat with a new ultra runner from Poland who lived in London on the walk down to the start. Then I bumped into the cheeky chappie himself, Mr Kelvin Gower where we had a bit of banter at the start.
It then went dark. Very dark. Not like London dark which is actually daylight with the amount of light pollution. Head torch on almost within minutes. I was concerned about the boredom on a out-and-back course but it was pretty novel running the SDW in the opposite direction to the previous marathon a few weeks ago. Somehow it felt a little easier. I wasted lots of time after CP1 (5+ mins) sorting out the ever loosening strap on the new headtorch. Bummer. CPs were well stocked (and had alcohol?? - not for me though!) as I took caution over the wet chalk in my road shoes. Good choice for comfort but not the amount of mud and wet. Cocking Down, the halfway point came and I felt better and better during the race. I had started ridiculously cautiously so was surprised to see how good I was feeling at 15 miles. This is where the wheels came off a few weeks ago. At this point, off I went and started to overtake some runners, one by one, especially as the field was strung out. This was lost though as I spent 9 mins at CP4 putting new batteries in the Silva. Oh my God it was bright, but not a good idea to put Lidl batteries in. 3 hours....almost dead. It was really really hard to get the battery case open. the CP staff couldn't do it either. So time was lost here and I can reflect on equipment issues taking up 16-20 mins of my race, which is significant.
At this point I set a challenge for myself. The field was pretty strung out so if I could overtake a runner a mile from 16-26.2 then that would be good. This was like olden days with Dave Hegarty. I guess we used to chat too much at the start and then beast the last cheeky 10k. Same old for today, but it was me on my own. In the end, I overtook 22 other runners. I was pleased that all of the places in which I had walked the previous marathon, I ran this time. 30th overall which was OK for me. A lovely hot spicy bowl of chilli and an IPA at the finish with a big fat medal and t shirt. No pics on this one as Kelvin ripped me to shreds for the poor quality selfie of me and him at the start.
The next one will be a super tough ultra.