Thursday 30 August 2018

East Farm Frolic

East Farm Frolic

This was a WSR 12 hr event at the same venue as The Invader marathon but was over a 5K loop rather than big loops.

It was a weekend festival of running with marathon the day before and several events on the Sunday (including 12hr) and other various events. I had entered the 12hr with an expectation of stopping over marathon and before 50Kish.

The weather forecast was awful and so it proved to be, absolutely miserable.

I arrived early to resgister and was ready to go from 8:30am. I new a few but not too many at the event. After the usual funny race brief we were off at 9am on the button.

It pretty much immediately started to rain and from reasonable conditions on the first loop it quickly became very slippy and muddy and with road shoes on it became at times near impossible to run and at times dangerous. There were lots of falls on the course.

Heading up from the start we climbed steadily for around 400 m to the corner of the first field. There was a slight extension at this stage for the first lap but from lap 2 on we immediately turned left and went up a near vertical hill for around 200 m. This was steep. Sumitting we entered a long wooded section that steadily became a quagmire during the day and was steadily uphill. For me it was generally slippy and un-runnable.

Exiting the forest we skirted a cut Wheat field and climbed over a large straw bale (or went around it over a barbed wire fence). We then hit the low part of the course through another wheat field before turning left and climbing steadily for about 600 m up hill to a lane way. Turning into the lane-way which was stony and very puddly and muddy we descended jumping from side to side for around 800 m. A steady 400 climb on very a muddy corn field brought us to the love station.

This was the most exposed part of the course and as the wind increased throughout the day it was tough going. Quickly we dashed behind a hedge onto another corn field and free wheeled our way down a slippy field at times very muddy to the final stretch back to the farm and the start finish line.

My first lap (longer) was 54 minutes and settled into 45-1 hr laps from then on. We were often lapped by the relay guys. It was a slow hard slog and I came through half marathon in 3hrs 20 and finally came through marathon in 7 hrs. A big effort on the last lap brought 30 miles in roughly 7 hrs 50 mins and I was done in.

I was glad to finish and get into the finishing tent for some nice bling and an interesting local goody bag including piddle WSR beer and some cookies as a well as a squeaky chicken.

It was a hard day.

Stats for today


Cyclopark TiT Day 4

I deliberately had a day off between the Hangman and the Cyclopark visit. B2B's really do me in at the moment and the extra day would be invaluable. And so it proved.

This was part of the SVn summer series Ten in Ten (TiT). It was amazing to see how many of the people who did the winter series were also here. It was 10 challenges with a sneaky 1 mile 27.2 mile ultra possible. If only I had that option last winter. But hey ho!

It was on a slightly modified "lightning bolt" course so I was very familiar with it. I arrived early checked in and paid the £3 parking.

About 100 headed off on the challenge. It was warm, very warm rising to high 20's and humid which made the going tough. All the TiT's were running well. The first casualty was Barry Gerhold who in his 4th day, called it a day after 10K.

Starting from the carpark at the Cyclopark we ran down towards the entrance. Immediately we hugged the hedge on the right hand side and climbed steadily along the track for a mile or so. It was undulating but headed predominately up. The field soon spread out on the narrow track. A quick up and down to the Rabbit bridge we crossed it and soon arrived at the road at the other side. About 50m on the road section we returned to the bridge. It was a right turn here onto the main cycleway and a 400m out and back had us heading on the wide cycle path back towards the cycopath. This last mile was predominately downhill.

I ran a little with Paul Commons and Rob McGregor (Both TiTs) and started to churn out the laps. roughly 40-50 minutes was my lap time which involved a lot of walking on the hills. A 2:40 half marathon was followed by a pedestrian 5:45 marathon. This gave me plenty of time to go out on an ultra lap and then an extra mile for 50K.  Though most did 27.2 miles only a few went out for the 50K.

This was Ultra no 80 and was a hot and humid one.

Stats for today:

Wednesday 22 August 2018

Hangman Ultra

Hangman Ultra 54K

This was a Saturday race and very convenient in Longparish in Hampshire only 15 minutes from the house down the A303.

This was the 3rd running of the race from Longparish to the Coombe Gibbet following the Test Way. Kick off was 9am and I arrived at registration around 8:15am. The race was run by The Ultra Magazine and there were a modest enough number there (around 40). Tea, Coffee were available inside Longparish community hall which was HQ for the day. As this was a cupless race I purchased a reusable cup and brought it with me.

1L Bladder was obligatory and this was the first time that I ran with a bladder. The race itself could easily be broken into 4, A 9 mile run to Hurtbourne Tarrent and CP1 and the a 7 mile out the the Coombe Gibbet before retracing your steps. There was a what I thought was a very generous cut off of 10 hours but it was very very hilly and so I can understand why the CP was there.

A very necessary briefing was had at 8:45 showing the type of signs to follow and we were off at 9am. The weather was lovely and I had decided before hand that I was not going to push too hard and enjoy the day. The trail was in good nick and there were lovely views all the way and it was very very rural.

I knew noone at the race.

After about 3 miles I missed my first turn in a gap in a hedge and Russ from behind called me back after going 100m off course.

Russ living in Newbury was training for the Robin Hood 100 miler in Sept and he had a strategy of walk the hills and run the rest.  I decided that suited me and we headed off together. Generally the terrain to the first CP was uphill until you come to outskirts of the village and for the last mile and a half you descend quickly and steeply through a forest section and the open field until you get to the village. The CP had everything that you needed.

Heading off again with Russ we meandered our way along the Test Way.  After a few miles we came to a turn in a field with very poor sineage. For about 400m we ascended the field before loosing confidence and turned back to the last sign. Studying this closely we decided we were actually right first time round and climbed again. After about 800 there was another sign and we were back on track.

Half marathon came up while going through a small village and we started to notice runners coming against us on their way back. Soon after Russ ran ahead as he was way better on the down hill and I lost sight of him as we started to climb again toward the Coombe Gibbet. After transversing a forest we came to a junction. On the right was a near vertical hill up and the same on the left. I found the sineage confusing and decided on left. After about 10 minutes vertical climb I came to a forest and saw no markers. I was lost.  I carefully retraced my steps and and ended up back where I was at the junction. I then saw runners returning from the other way. Off I went after about a 20 minute detour.

It was tough going on the climb up to the Gibbet and most of the course passed my at this point on their way back. Seeing the gibbet in the distance Russ passed me on his return leg and I was on my own again. Running passed CP2 I rounded the Gibbet and stopped to refuel and refill my bladder and then headed off this time it being my turn to pass a few on their own journey. It took me 4hrs 20 mins to get to the turn around and I had it at 17.8 miles.

I made sure that I made no wrong turns on the way back and ran steadily, walking and climbing where necessary. I was easily under the cuttoff all day and when coming passed CP3 I had a good hour to spare.  I was however on my own and saw no other runners for the last 4 hrs of this race.

Even though the official distance was 54K I managed to do 57K in the end and came in at 8hrs 45 mins for to be honest was a reasonably comfortable run. Back in the hall there was soup, coffee, tea and a plethora of goodies and a nice medal.

I enjoyed today but it was a long hard tough race and thankfully the weather was nice.

Stats for today

Wednesday 8 August 2018

Dark Phoenix

#250 Dark Phoenix 6:01:25

This was a big red letter day for me as it is my 250th Marathon/Ultra. I had prearranged with Rik the race director from Phoenix running to get race number 250 so was all set.

That is 91 Road, 81 Trail and 78 Ultra.

This run was an evening running starting at 4pm and as far as you like in 6hrs. Given my form and the predicted weather I knew a marathon was all that was happening. In fact there were only 2 people went ultra this evening.

I arrived in blistering conditions at the registration at around 3pm. Agatha whom I met on a recent trip to Texas was already there, stopping off to run as part of a trip around Europe. We checked in and relaxed outside the leisure center in the shade.

Texas Switchback Race Report
Jack's 200th

It would start off at 30 degrees with little restbite all evening. There were a small number were doing 2 on the same day and a smaller number would be back for a 3rd the next morning.

At the race brief Rik mentioned my 250th. Almost immediately from behind Jack Healy appeared to tell me it was actually his 200th. Now on my 50th on a rainy day in Craughwell it was actually Jack's 100th so we were no strangers to celebrating together. Jack had travelled with Paul Hogan and Michelle Burke from Ireland and it was great to see them. It was their second for the day and they would go onto see Ireland in the Hockey world cup final the next day.

Jack's 100th in Craughwell Race Report

We walked to the start. I had a coolbox with coke, Irn Bru and frozen water and left it at the start. At 4pm we were off. It was roasting. I started Ok and did a pretty OK first half managing each 5K loop in approx 35 to 40 minutes. This brought up half marathon in 2hrs 30. Then the wheels feel off as I succumbed to the heat.

At the start
First Agatha passed me looking strong and would go onto do her second fastest marathon at 5:23 and eventually the Irish caught me just at the end of lap 6.  Surprisingly despite my tardiness I was still mid pack.

At half past 9 as I went out for my last lap, I donned a head torch and struggled on. I even tried hard to beat 6hrs but failed coming in at 6:01 having quite a turn of foot over the last mile.

I was delighted to finish as it had been a tough one. A lot of people who normally go ultra all stopped at marathon today.

Afterwards in the pub I med two German runners, one of whom actually had ran with me in the winter Coburg marathon a few years earlier. That was bizzare.

Coburg Race Report

Anyway 250 done and still running though my performances leave a lot to be desired.

Stats for today