Monday, 7 December 2009

Doyen of the Downs

This race must break trade description laws, as the amount of Downs were far exceeded by the amount of ups.

The photos from last years race showed a crisp, sunny and frosty race - this year however was the exact opposite......... heavy rain, 30mph wind and very soggy underfoot. The race was a circular route starting at the foot of Arundel Castle (although it was so gloomy and dull it was hard to see). ½ after the start and having run though the town we were onto towpaths along the side of the River Arun until we hit the roads in pouring rain after 2 miles. a further mile down the road and it was trail - well when i say trail - mud and lots of it, that went on and on.

This was to be the format for the rest of the race, and being further down the field than i would have liked the ground in places was a slop of sticky glutinous mud and dirty pools. The footwear (The North Face Hedgehogs) worked superbly as others slipped and slid around - although the hill at 19 miles that went up for 100 metres in ¼ mile across a ploughed field made life very difficult for even my trainers.
After another decent into the the town of Storrington we faced the 1 mile climb up to the top of Kithurst Hill - 213mtres climb, although most of this was hardened trail and the sun had come out (shame about the very strong winds in you face on the rapid descent). With hamstrings and quads refusing to move properly and energy at an all time low thankfully the last 4 miles were flat as we followed the river back to the finish, which looked close but with the meanders took even longer than i wanted.

It was nice to be greeted my the race director at the end and with an engraved shot glass (as well as t-shirt) the memento was nice, however the facilities at the end were poorly planned. No drinks or food available for us at all. It would have been nice to have tea/coffee and some cakes, especially after all those miles. The check points had limited items, namely water and banana' but for an entry fee of £36 i expected at least a hot drink to be available.

I had been struggling with stomach pains from about 8 miles which at time almost forced me to pull out, but this was an important run for me too do, and the physical and mental strength i gain from it will be dragged up at future events. I must put in more training after this weeks rest ahead of the next race on 16th January - Country to Capital 45 miles and loose a bit of weight too i think.

99th from 170 finishers (300 had registered) in 5:35:11
Winners time 3:36 - 15 mins ahead of 2nd place who was a further 10 mins ahead of 3rd
39th place in 5hrs dead, which indicates how tough it was.
Last placed runner (cut off time was 7hrs) at 6:56 but results don't show DNF

Next year??? - I think not, but one lesson i have learnt is that the hills in Essex will not be any help in the SkyRace in May.

My Kit consisted of
X-Bionic Spykers
Ron Hill Jacket

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