|Hot Hot Hot (photo: Paul Johnston)|
#147 Olympic Run 6:18:35 33.65 miles
#148 F1 Run 6:31:40 31.5 miles
#149 Darnley Run 8:30:08 39.3 miles
#150 Punk run 6:07:47 29.5 miles
The Cyclopark series was 4 runs over 4 different trails over 4 consecutive days. They were timed events in and around the Cyclopark in Gravesend, Kent. Around 100 did the event each day with a number doing multiple days. It was August, it was Kent, it was hot.
I think most that were doing multiple days stayed in the locality. I toyed with this idea but every-time I have stayed I have regretted it as Basingstoke is only 1.5hrs away and it would be my shower and my bath that I would be getting home to. So I decided to commute. That would mean a lot of driving and running and in retrospect it worked out, but I was lucky with traffic to and from each day (So only 12 hours driving).
This was to be my first quad which is a big enough challenge anyway, but I had an inkling in the back of my head that this was an opportunity to do 4 Ultras, as except for day 3 they would be relatively short Ultras. This was not going to be about times, except to make sure that I was within time for the cut off to go out again.
Day 1 Olympic Run (25th Ultra)
Today's course was the lightning bolt course that I have done once before when the Jeskins challenge was relocated at short notice earlier in the year. It was a short course with 7 laps constituting a marathon and beyond that an Ultra.
|With 2012 Olympic torch|
As the aid station had everything you need I don't bring anything to these races. Watermelon was a great addition today and there was more cakes than would choke a horse.
I came through 8 laps (a small Ultra) and there was still plenty of time and the course was busy with those finishing marathons so I went out again. My 33.65 miles was good enough for 2nd place overall out of 100 finishers. The medal was the biggest and heaviest and one of the best that I now have.
Day 2 F1 Run
The theme of the day was F1 and specifically 40 years since James Hunt won the F1 championship. This was Louise Tidbury's idea and she was there dressed as "sexy pit girl". It was very very hot today, with temperatures reaching 27/28 degrees and as we were on Tarmac all day it was just roasting. This had an attritional affect on the field with a lot stopping early. We had 86 finishers today and just as a measure of how tough it was there was only 1 sub 4 hr finisher and only 9 sub 5 hr finishers (WOW!).
|Sexy Pit Girl (Tids)|
Somei was there as always encouraging everyone. The twins were also there doing their first quad. They are a fantastic source of encouragement always.
Paddy was going well and half a lap up on me. I just knew he would go Ultra and sure enough he did going out on his 6th lap. I came round to marathon finish in 5hrs 20 and took the big decision to go out again. The last lap was relatively quiet as most had finished and I slowly reeled in all of those who were finishing their marathons and there were quite a few. I had the twins in my sights from 3 miles out and just pipped them at the post. My 31.5 miles was good enough for 2nd place overall. The medal again was a triumph and Team Ireland with 2 podiums.
Day 3 Darnley Run
This was to my biggest challenge as it was a 13.1 mile loop and to go Ultra meant 39.3 miles. It was also hot hot hot as usual and this course had plenty of elevation. 80 finished and noone got even close to 4 hrs today. Thankfully it wasnt as hot as Friday but it was still warm at mid 20's.
Coming back to marathon finish I noticed Lee and Ellen had gone out on a third lap. I was a long way back. Noone else seemed interested in Ultra today. I was still well within the 5hr 30 cut off when I finished marathon and made the very brave/stupid decision to go back out. I knew I was taking a liberty going out again, as I was well back but I did it anyway and have apologised to Traviss and Rachel ever since.
Also coming back through Cobham village (about 23 miles in) there was a big caffuffle in one of the pubs. There of course was Philip and Georgie belting into some very nice cool looking pints and having a great old laugh (they would stay for 3 rounds). They would be joined by others including Enda and Costas.
|Medal collection for the series|
I eventually rocked up to the finish a long way off everyone else today. But 3 Ultra's done. The Medal today was brilliant and the attention to detail incredible.
Day 4 Punk Run (150th Marathon or longer)
|Lots of punks|
|Punk Run start|
I had set myself up now to do an ultra so that was all I had in mind. I had 6 hrs to do a marathon which should be achievable. It was hot again today and I was slow but what do you expect. It was a bigger crowd today with 142 finishers.
|Awesome medal and dead Hokas|
I eventually went out on lap 9 (I had to really) and got it done.
It was an experience and I can now say not only have I done a quad but managed a quad ultra. My 134 miles was easily the furthest of the field and I was very happy with that. What a month.
Photos: Dee Rand and Paul Johntson and Enda (hick) Cleary
Stats for all 4 runs: