Saturday I ran the Endurance-life 33 mile ultra in Dorset. I traveled down to Bristol from London Friday and hoodwinked my father into being my crew for the day.
The week leading up I did very little training, a 7.5 miler on Sunday and a 4.5 miler on Monday, then nothing till race day on the sat. I felt my legs were rested and I would be able to tackle the course.
So Saturday morning I woke at 4:15am and tucked into a bowl of porridge before my father and myself drove to Lulworth cove. (He drove I slept)
The event was very well organised and after registration at 0700 we had a briefing at 0730 and then it was off to the start line for 0800.
The route started with a hill, I had a brief chat with the guy (Jeff)next to me as we waited, then we were all off running up the hill.
I stuck with the front pack my reasoning was I could always drop back later but it would get me clear of slower runners who could hold me back early.
The first hill went by quickly then we were hurtling down a steep decent and what I can only describe as a vertical path loomed ahead. The course was hilly, my strava had over 6000 feet of elevation at the end, I’ve never run that much elevation before.
I attacked the hills hard and was surprised to find after the first six miles or so that I was running with the lead group in 4th place. I looked at my watch, 6:25, 6:50, 6:30, 6:45 minute miles this was my half marathon pace! To be fair it was a long down hill stretch across fields, but still a voice in my head warned me I was going out too quick.
I kept this up for fifteen miles or so then I started to slow, I grit my teeth and started to grind out the miles, more seasoned runners who had been holding back passed me, I chatted to one (Anton) and ran with him for a while. Then he was off too.
I started to feel a bit sick, then thirsty, I got to the 23 mile check point and stuffed crisps and jelly babies down my neck, I put electrolytes in my water bottle. I felt better, mentally at least although my legs would only work at a slow plod.
Still I couldn’t see anyone behind me, I was still up the front of the field and I was determined to give it my best shot.
The course looped back on itself and soon I was running through crowds of runners who were competing in the marathon and half marathon, it was a bit hectic but also gave me extra motivation to keep running strong.
The miles went by and soon I was on the last loop, a 10km stretch taking in the first few hills I had already ran at the start, the second time round they seemed a lot steeper! Then I had 3 miles back to the start, a gentle run downhill, I went as fast as I could, I couldn’t give up a place now!
I came in after 5 hours and 55 minutes, and in fifth place.
I was very happy with this, I was hoping to be near the top of the field, but fifth place was better than I expected. Chuffed.
This will be last race in my first year of running, and what a race to finish on. Big props to the guys at endurance life.
From hanging up my gloves from Thai boxing last December, leaving the boxing gym where I worked and deciding on a new direction and sport, which took me from a 5km park run in April to a 54km ultra marathon in December, it’s been a great start. I hope I can build on this for next year!
Thanks for reading.