Total Pageviews

Sunday, 10 April 2016

St Peter's Way 43 mile ultra race report

A week after a 33 miler, a 43 was not a great idea. However I was desperate to get back on the trail. A cold and total full on headwind was the order of the day. I ran with good pal Nathan for 10 miles or so, laughed at a runner who fell face down in the mud, then promptly fell face down in a bunch of nettles. Karma. 10 miles in I realised last week had taken a huge toll on my legs and glycogen stores.

25 miles of undulation from North London to mid Essex near Chemlsford, then a drop to pan-flat estuarine unabated headwind. The scenery was stunning. Such an underrated part of our countryside. I love it. It reminds me of my mum and dads.

So after 4 CPs on the whole course, I was undernourished and underhydrated....I ran well until 35. I caught up with Nathan and we ran together in 5/6th place.

The world of hurt then set in. BIG style.

It was like Don Quioxte with the relentless fields of wind turbines. I mumbled some excuses to Nathan and promptly dropped 3/4 places along the 2 mile beach wall levee at the end. 9th place (maybe 10th?) I think but a great finish at St-Peter-on-the-Wall in perhaps the most remote part of within-100-miles-of London.

A great medal and a chance to catch up with the top 10 whilst we waited in sub-zero conditions in the chapel until the buses came to take us back to the start.

Nice to have a good catch up with RD Lindley Chambers at the end and also Naiomi Newton Fisher. A pity about the 2 1/2 hr wait for the bus back to the start. Never been so cold.

Mid Feb, another great race and what a start to the year. Marathon #70 done.

Challenge Hub Midnight Ultra - RACE REPORT

Who would think that a cross country trail ultramarathon would be run IN THE DARK, in FEBRUARY in deepest, darkest swampiest (well marshland) KENT?! Bring it on.

My prep for the day included Brockley market picking up some excellent and super strong coffee, a scotch egg (remember secret weapon at our podium #2nd place at the Norman Conquest 50 miler?!!!!) plenty of organic veg and some meats. I spent the day with the family and then bimbled off to between Whitstable and Margate for a 7pm start.

It was wet, raining and very muddy at the start. I had a brief catch up with out of sorts Jezza. It is great to see him back on the trail. It will be even better when he is back to his best.

Pitch black and raining, I set off with a bunch of waterproofed and headtorched brave souls. I chose to travel light. One hand held and a merino sweater and gloves. Lap 1 I stuck with the front group. The pace felt comfortable so I held back. I felt great......probably unlike I have EVER felt before. One by one the front group got smaller until there were three. I made an early acceleration to test the water. No one responded. Potentially I thought that this was a ruse and they were holding me at arms length and then would pounce. No matter. I had to stop and wait as I did not know the directions and needed the reassurance of Paul, who had run the course last year.

For 30 mins I ran with him and gained confidence in the surroundings. I necked a caffeine gel and pushed again. Not the fan of wearing a headtorch an becoming accustomed to the night I switched off and ran....within myself but it just felt good. Not realising this until the end but apart from lap 3 where I motored, my pace was even throughout. I saw headtorches behind so kept pressing on.

Late on lap 3 I lapped Jezza. By mid lap 4 I felt for an overtightness in my OMM running shorts. At mile 23 I borrowed scissors from a first aid kit at the CP and cut them through. Relief.

Final lap! At the CP I stated this. You are 15 mins in the lead! stated Race Director Mike Inkster. All that blurted out of my mouth was the fairly sombre "Well its mine to lose then!"

Final lap I had a few demons between 27-29 miles. Once over them I went as full gas as I could at 11.30pm in the dark in Feb across marshland trails with wet feet. Unbeknownst to me I had overtaken all but the top 5 runners. Ever time I dared to glance back, a headtorch brought the same question......lapped.....or catching me?! My heart was literally beating out of my chest.....too much sugar and caffeine or the potential that I might actually get a WIN!!

Straight into the final CP and 33.1 miles (the RD even asked to see my Garmin to confirm! NEVER EVER THINK ABOUT CHEATING!) and that was it

1st PLACE!

2 trophies and a medal

Interview on camera. "How does it feel to win?"

"I'm fucking STOKED!"

"We can't publish that....anything else?"

"No. I am genuinely fucking stoked. Well happy....did I really win?!"

"By the broke the course record.....BY 24 MINUTES!!!"

Wow. I went back to the car for my phone for some pics. It was now past midnight. I said the to RD I'd wait for P2 and P3 to come in. I waited 21 mins for P2. I got in the car and went home.

Everything had gone right. Food, hydration, pace. I think this is what you call in the ZONE. For me, a total enjoyment of every single minute.

I got home and had a beer and a pork pie. How better to celebrate?


Marathon #69

Dymchurch Marathon Race report

Traviss' races are no-nonsense fuss free races where you can crack out run with a bunch of friendly people. We'd organised for the family to come down not far away for a weekend on the train and meet me straight after the race for dinner and some R&R. 

A misty sunrise gave way to a 2 hour session of sea fog, something that was a bit magical. This was an out and back along a totally pan flat concrete sea wall. Knowing we had baby UB2 on the way, this was about fitting in a convenient marathon. No frills. No thrills. After probably 17 miles I was on for a 3.25 ish, but a combination of the working of the same muscle group (I do prefer the hills for a proper workout) and not feeding so well early on and this slipped to a 3.37 in the last 6 miles. This was a little disappointing as I dropped probably 6 or 7 places to finish in 14th. Having a blast 7.30 for the last mile cheered me up immensely and I cursed my lackadaisical attitude in the previous 5 miles. Nuff said, it was off for fish and chips and a couple of big glasses of Coke. Marathon #68 done. The BIGGEST MEDAL I HAVE EVER SEEN!


Winter Tanners Race report

I haven't written my blog in about 3 months so apologies dear readers as I have been mega busy. It is time for a catch up on the start of the season which has been arguably the best start to a season I have had ever.

it was an exceptionally muddy trail for one of my favourite runs. This seemed to be less on the tops of the NDW and Weald and more in the valley bottoms this year. Mud and more mud.....followed by calf and occasionally knee deep water. Great. My good running buddy Johnny and I set out for this beautiful race early doors. We cracked on with a big group of runners including a good catch up with Jenni Cox who is returning back to form after a year break following a stellar 2014. The skies were clear and my mapwork was good for this odyssey. Only 3 Checkpoints on this long route makes this a bit more of a day out.

The first 20 miles were an absolute joke in terms of running. Real challenges in terms of grip, constantly wet feet and the inability to get into a good clip. The last 11 miles were much better. We made some real progress....then the boy JJ slipped and fell on his hand on a flinty path. Much blood later and a quick final checkpoint, we were off and coursing through the final few miles, running in to a 5.51 finish and joint 13th place. Bearing in mind the conditions, we were happy. JJ is one of the most awesome people I have ever had the pleasure of running with. May it long continue.