Monday 18 April 2016

Fowlmead 50

Fowlmead 50 Mile   8:22:40  Kent

You wait 51 years for a 50 mile race and 2 come along in 3 weeks. Having done 8:37 in Vartry  in awful weather and a hilly course I was hopeful.

Some of the Irish (missing Finn)
through 2 laps
This was a race that was part of a timed event (upto 12 hours) and a 50 mile race on a closed tarmac cycle path inside Bettsenger country Park (formally known as Fowlmead). I had run here on the trail routes here a number of times and the weather generally had been awful. Indeed in the run up to today it had been pouring rain and the night before it had been dreadful.

Finn 2nd lady home
I was pleasantly surprised when the morning came and it was glorious. Cold but glorious. It was perfect running weather. A big group had flown over from Ireland for the race. Just off their 100 miler first and second was Kris Ryan (also just after Conmemarathon 6 days before) and Finn O'Mara. Seamus Dornan was trying 50 miles for the first time, Brenda O'Keefe was in training for The Comrades and was in for the 50 miler and Collette O'Hagan who has never gone over 39.3 before was attempting the 12 hr race.  We also had Enda Cleary from Monistereven and Fiona McNelis from Derry completing the Irish at the race.

1st lady home
We all arrived at the venue just in time and registered and had very little time to prepare.  It was a cold but a beautiful start to the day.

There was a 120 entered for both races with the option for the 50 milers to drop back to the 12 hr challenge (many did) if they felt they were not going to make it. There were no DNF's. The facilities were great and the aid station was amazing. There was a novel hole punch system used to track laps. This worked well and there was little inconvenience.

At 8am we were off.  I had decided I would start fast similar to Vartry and see how it would go. This meant a hard first half marathon and hang on. This strategy soon seen me settle in 3rd place as I lapped in approx 17.5 minutes. Kris settled in a couple of minutes behind in 4th spot and first lady.

Seamus and Brenda
As it was a 2 mile loop we were passing and being passed regularly by all sorts and it was really impossible to find out where you were in the race. The loop seemed to be slightly longer than 2 miles which was a little disconcerting. In fact most had the 50 miles measuring 51.5 miles. As long as it wasn't short I didn't mind.

Winner of the 12 hr race
The first half marathon was a couple of seconds off Connemaraton at 1:49 which was still fast for me. I kept plugging away and kept 3rd place. From time to time I lapped the others and it was great encouragement. I was delighted when I came through Marathon distance in 3:43. This was the fastest that I had ever been through Marathon inside an Ultra and I knew a this stage a PB for 50K was on. I passed Enda who seemed to know my pace and encouraged me to go for it. I put in a huge effort and came through 50K in 4:29:40 a PB by 4 minutes. Phew!. Meanwhile Kris came through marathon in 3:48 holding onto 4th spot and 1st lady.

Amazing medal for 50 Mile
At this stage I was spent and slowed badly and started stopping at the aid stations to take on fluids and sweets. It was only a matter of time before Kris caught me (at 42.5 miles) and she pushed on for home. She finished strong for a 8:04 (51 miles) and 3rd place overall and 1st Lady.

I struggled on and unfortunately got taken by a runner in the last mile. He ended up finishing 40 secs ahead of me. But I was ahead of him at 50 miles.....  So my time was 8:22 and 5th overall. Not a bad performance really and delighted with my 50K time.

Meanwhile Finn and gone very steady and finished as second lady in 9:20, Brenda was aiming for 11 hrs and managed a 11:02 and is now confident of finishing The Comrades.

Seamus had a dodgy tummy and dropped to the 12 hr challenge. He still managed 40 miles and came in 7th in that challenge.

Enda in training for a 100 mile race in July was also doing Brighton the next day and put in a solid PB ridden run for 8:50 and Fiona who is a very experienced Ultra runner finished the 50 miles well under the cuttoff.

But the performance of the day was 66 year old Collette O'Hagan who never had run more than 39.3 miles in her life stayed out for the whole time to clock up 44 miles and 4th overall and first lady home (What a performance).

Photos courtesy of Sean Smith

Strava stats

1 comment:

  1. Hello. I was the runner who overtook you in the last mile.It was my first 51 miler.I was most pleased with myself! I had done my first 45..46 miler a couple of weeks before. The Samphire 100 miler is in July, has this 59 year old bitten off more than he can chew?
    Your friend Kris in 3Rd place looked very impressive as she sprinted past me!