the course record by 6 minutes and most importantly having a blast!!!!
There was no pre race prep, pacing & hydration strategies and most of all no pressure. I checked the time of the race and dashed around picking up all my racing gear – most importantly I got my new found X-Bionic EFFEKTOR top (such a cool running top) and grabbed all my TORQ racing gels& recovery shake and headed out the door.
That's just about it, I turned up and ran, well almost...
What made the day was running with this guy I had never met before and having fun – I sat behind him and one of his team mates from the start and thought that they were doing the half marathon as the pace was quick and thought this would be good to let them pace me until they turn off. I was feeling pretty good and hadn’t picked up any injuries during the Ridgeway Challenge so thought I’d go with the flow and before I knew it I was up front. His mate turned off at the 6 mile mark and Dave and I were left up in front.
We introduced ourselves and had a great natter all the way around and just kept taking turns to keep the pace going and it was just great. The only thing that I did religiously do was to make sure I took my TORQ gels and bars and the way we
were running I guessed that every 45mins would be good.
The pace was pretty quick and we flew through the CPs - for me only stopping to grab some water - and before we knew it we were coming out of the last CP with 4 miles to go and I was thinking to myself we're on to a cracking finish time if we keep this up. I went through the mental procedure of checking myself over, all was good and wolfed down a banoffee TORQ gel to give me that extra pick me up to finish with.
For the next 2 miles we didn’t drop the pace and we just ran, this was now the business end of the race and conversation was limited.
We picked up the pace again and basically blasted in the last 500 metres and I just loved it.
The day wasn’t about winning for me, it was just about having some fun, no pressures and ultimately to enjoy the company of some great people. The win was a bonus.
Now for a bit of technical stuff about the race – it’s a great route out, up and along Dunstable Downs and over to Ivinghoe Beacon, through Ashridge and then on back to Dunstable Downs. Its all self navigating and you must keep your eyes on
the route map as it’s pretty easy to miss certain trails.
Actual route course is 44.1K long, with 550M (1,804Ft) with a couple of good hills to test you, but the trails are good under foot and it is a great trail ultra to step up to from road running. The set up is good and the check points are fully staffed and stocked with abundance of goodies.