Sunday 31 January 2016


#122  Chocathon Fowlmead  3:56:30

"I run for Chocolate" themed event.   There was chocolate everywhere.

I suspect that this will be an annual event similar to the Cakeathon (which now has 4 every year) and sells out immediately. The event itself was a 6 hour timed challenge and because the weather forecast was poor there was an extra 15 minutes for you to get out on your final lap.

There was also to be a chocolate theme at the aid station (Brenda had made Ferraro Roche fudge) and the goodie bag would be dripping with chocolate and the medal would be a huge 1lb chocolate bar with theme "I run for chocolate".

With Donadea only 2 weeks away this would be my last run before then so I wanted at least to go 31 miles. As the weather was expected to be poor, mud and puddles was due to be the order of the day. I have ran in Fowlmead twice before and on both occasions it was atrocious conditions. Time would not be as important as distance was.

Guess who was there
Advise was sought and was given on the types of shoes to wear as the winter Cakeathon was on the same course on Saturday. Hoka road were the choice of the day.

We started in rainy and windy conditions on the third different route that I have done around Fowlmead. Even at that it was by far the best conditions that I have run here with the underfoot conditions being a little puddley and muddy but nothing too bad.

We were off at 9 on the dot and there didn't seem to be too many
fast runners today. Around 6 or 7 went ahead of me immediately but I cant remember any others passing all day. The route was a balloon (with a string) shaped route. It started off flat along a familiar part of the course from previous outings past a pond and crossing a small bridge before a decent climb for 400m up along the periphery. A steep downhill took us to a windy flat section before another very steep uphill (100m) to the main path around the park. A long section that oscillated from being into and with the wind brought us all the way round the park before a steep downhill brought us to the out and back section to the start/finish line. The loop was 4.37 miles with 6 loops being a marathon,

I would say overall today was mildly  hilly at around 1000ft climb.

Aid station
Remnants of the Cakeathon 
The aid stations today were special with the leftovers from yesterdays Cakeathon as well as plethora of newly baked chocolate themed goods as well as everything else you would ever need. The fudge today was strawberry cheesecake (a special request for me), fruit and nut and chocolate orange. It was all ridiculously good.

The goodie bag had nine different chocolate bars and a 1Kg bar of Galaxy as well as a bottle of double chocolate stout. The medal of course was huge and was 1 mm thicker than normal which gave a little extra weight.

I have little memory of the weather today but I have been informed that it rained a lot and was very windy but it was not cold. We had the tail end of storm Gertrude to contend with but we had the better day of the weekend. Certainly the course deteriorated as the race went on and large sections got very muddy. In general though the course held up fine.

Steve (well under 4hrs)
I ran quite a bit today with Steve from Swindon who was in training for the Manchester Marathon where he hopes to break 4 hours for the first time. We were going around at a nice steady clip and when he said he was stopping after 5 laps, I couldn't believe it as by then he was a way ahead of me and well under 4 hr pace. But he had his plan.

Goodie bag
Several clubs seemed to have many many runners there today with "the rebels" having around 10 with quite a few doing their first marathon. There seemed to be a full compliment of 134 running with many doing the double Cakeathon/Chocathon weekend.

Because I was with Steve and going well my plan changed mid-race and after lap 4 a sub 4 hr was on so I decided to go for it and leave the ultra for some other day. This would be good training for Donadea 50K nationals either way.

My pace today was remarkably steady with my lap splits very close together
  1. 38:14
  2. 39:36
  3. 39:41
  4. 39:32
  5. 39:29
  6. 40:08
Great medal
This gave a 1:57:19 first half and a 1:59:11 second half for a 3:56:30 which wasn't half bad in the conditions. There were very few today went out for Ultra distance and I was 9th over all and 5th of those that finished at marathon distance (Results to be confirmed). There were no super fast guys there today but there were a few that came in sub 3:30 which was good running.

Today was very much keeping concentration with the eye on a good time in Donadea and a sub 4 in similar trail and elevation conditions goes a long way to that.

Photo:  Philip Rand

Polar stats for today click here

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