Thursday 18 February 2016

National 50K

National 50K  Donadea
Kris and I 

4:34:25   90th overall and 4th in my age group.

Getting ready for the start
This is a very popular race and my 3rd time doing it. With a 5hr cutoff for 50K its no pushover. The first year I made it with 4 secs to spare and didnt make it the second year but luckily was still awarded a finish. This year as well as the 5hr cuttoff you also had to qualify. This is mainly as there is only limited capacity on the 5K circuit and it is the nationals. You needed to have a 4hr marathon or 5:10 50K to qualify. Luckily I qualified early in the year with my 4:55 in Vartry so there was no pressure.
Start/Finish/Aid area

There were 3 Cursaders doing it. Olwyn, former champion was there. Unfortunately this year she was suffering from a really bad flu but bravely still turned up. Kris was running for the second time and was in a rich vein of form of recent times. We had no realistic expectations of national medals but age groups were a reality.

Kris looking strong
The race is superbly organised and it is 10 laps of the 5K loop around the outside of the forest park. The weather was cold and the surface was sticky but otherwise it was perfect running conditions. I knew I was in better form than last year but I had to be. I had in my head 4:40-4:45 would be good.
Olwyn struggled with a flu today

There were 3 pacers at 4:30, 4:45 and 5hrs. My strategy was to fall in behind the 4:30 and stay there as long as I could.

At 10am we were off. My strategy went out the window immediately as I went out ahead of the 4:30 pacer. Lap 1 which is 300m longer than the rest was done in 28 mins. I was already 2 mins up on last year and felt OK. 26 minute laps followed for quite sometime as I put time in the bank. Kris joined me on Lap 3 and we stayed in touch until lap 5. Just past half marathon (1:45), we came upon Olwyn who was visibly struggling and slowing. She said she would try lap 5 and then make a decision. Kris and I pushed on clocking off the 26 minute laps. Olywn would go onto finish in 4:49 and come 2nd in her age group. That is guts.

With Brian Ankers lap 5
After 5 laps Kris went for a toilet break and I forged on on my own to be joined by Brian Ankers who abandoned his 4:45 pace group as noone was with him and was using the day as a practice long run for the next weeks "last man standing" ultra in Strangford. Also with us was Dave O'Mahony and we all had a good old chat.

Passed with 3K to go
Coming upto 7 laps Kris caught us and pushed on past looking very strong. She would end up doing a sub 3:40 marathon split and coming in just a couple of minutes shy of her PB in 4:25. She also would be 5th overall with 4th and 3rd directly in front of her. This was a 24 minute improvement on last year. She was also using this as a training run for some spectacular Ultras coming up.
Beat into 4th by 7 secs (over the shoulder)

Meanwhile I pushed on and managed a 3:46 marathon but have to say struggled from that point on losing valuable minutes. Gary the 4:30 pacer caught me coming upto the end of Lap 9 and would take 5 minutes out of me on the last lap as would Brian Ankers. Around the 40K mark I was passed by someone who looked a similar age to me. This put the pressure on but I just couldn't stay with him, but did manage to finish strong getting closer and closer near the finish, It turned out he was in my age group and he cane 3rd and I got 4th by an agonising 7 secs. I ended up with a 4:34:35 a whopping 47 minute improvement than last year, a course best by 25 minutes and less than 1 minute behind my PB on a much tougher course.

The atmosphere was brilliant at the finish and we were all delighted with our efforts and thankfully all secured qualification for next year already. Only 1 person over 5hrs was awarded a finish, every one else was DNFed. 20% DNF rate was significant.

Polar stats for the day  Click here

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