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Sunday, 15 March 2015

Race Report: Ranscombe Challenge

I woke up a little unsure of myself before this race. I haven't done any serious miles recently and with a promising start to the year with the Tanners, have not got over 18 miles in the last 9 weeks. Still, with a coffee and marmite on toast in my belly I ventured out into the heavy rain and whizzed down to the Medway on the North Downs to Ranscombe Park.

Rain on the way gave way to light drizzle and then a couple of hours break in the weather. Having not raced a 'Vikings, Normans and Saxons' event before, I was pleasantly surprised at the checkpoint food, the organisation, the medals and the goody bags. What I was not looking forward to was running laps. Despite this, a slow start to the race on the first half lap to get my legs going and to ascertain how I was feeling for the run gave way to some harder and faster miles which felt good.

Clearly the idea of laps demoralises me but this was dispelled quite quickly with a scenic route. I can only imagine how nice this would be in the early summer, but for now it was head down and race. The idea of the challenge was to either; run as far as I could in 8 hours or run as quick as the terrain and the lack of training would allow me to do a marathon. With the inclemency of the weather and Mother's Day lunch both looming, I chose the latter, and wisely so. One whippet went straight off the front, chased by another, then a group of say 10 runners and then me. Lap 1 was to be my slowest. It took some time to get into the groove. Once I was, laps 2-6 went by really well. I went through the field and was lapping people, some twice and only 2 chaps were in front. The guy who was clearly the best runner there was Adam, from the Royal Marines Running club. Boom! He was a mentalist. Then there was this guy whom I said hi to every lap we crossed paths near the CP. After 4 laps of ignoring me, he finally said hello. At the start of lap 6, he finished, leaving me in 2nd overall and by the start of lap 7, having lapped everyone but the Royal Marine....who then lapped me!

Essentially the laps were; undulation, up up up, down, down, down and then undulation at the end. 7 times for the marathon. The weather turned by the end of lap 5 to rain, lap 6 to quagmire and hail by the start of lap 7. Halfway round lap 7 my goose was cooked and it was time to ring the bell and finish. 3453ft of hills and 4 hours 11 mins. On the back of no training, not bad. 

So marathon #57 done and dusted. Nice medal, great organisation and I'll definitely be back for more of their events.