Friday 7 June 2013

Putting it all on the line

In just over a week, I will be lining up at the start of the Centurion Running South Downs Way 100 mile race, following the National Trail from Winchester through the South Downs down to Eastbourne. This race holds somewhat of a special place for me, as it was the first proper ultra race that I did way back in the distant summer of 2011. It went quite well and I managed to come 5th in 22:10. Not too shabby for my first 100 miler.

The following year, the race was absorbed into the race calendar of Centurion Running by James Elson, who made a few changes including switching the direction to run West to East (so we could get blown along by the Westerly wind for a nice easy run), avoiding the cliffs and the Seven Sisters at the Eastbourne end (hundreds of fatigued runners piling off a cliff like lemmings probably wouldn't be a great advert for future events), and adding in more aid stations along the way. I ran the updated race last year and smashed my PB, finishing 2nd in 17:23. This year, I will be lining up again to try and smash that time again, and maybe even improve on that position as well. 

Now I'm no statistician (oh wait), but based on the last two years it's looking good for a world record...

Stats don't lie. Statisticians on the other hand... Fox News would be proud.

Last year went well, but it wasn't a perfect race by any means. I had problems with fatigue and stomach issues that really slowed me down towards the end of the race. I also finished with far too much energy, suggesting I could have pushed harder from the outset. The stomach problems seem to have abated and I haven't seen them for a while now (possibly as a result of reducing milk in my diet). And fatigue-wise... Well okay, I can't imagine having a baby is going to do anything for that so I'm just going to have to try and get an early night. But I think that there's definitely a lot of room for improvement.

I've decided to push for a pretty tasty time of 16 hours. It looks doable on paper, and I will be aiming to get to the halfway point at Kithurst Hill in about 7:30. I ran the first half of the course in roughly this time a few months ago, and felt okay afterwards so I think that the pace is sustainable. Then I have about 8.5 hours to get to the end. Simples. 

This may well be all talk, and I might well screw it up royally and end up crawling across the line a broken man. But hell, you never know unless you try right? Every race I have done so far, I have felt like I could have pushed a little harder. So what happens if I push from the off and try and hold on? This is going to hurt isn't it.

There are various things working against me, but I'm staying positive and I honestly think that this is a doable time. So I have just over a week to shift the chest infection I have been suffering from for the past few weeks, recover from my own brand of "home chiropody" (I have to intermittently yank half of my toe-nail out by the root otherwise it starts hurting - I had hoped to wait until after the race, but ended up doing it yesterday), and try and get rid of these massive knots that have crept into my calves (Jen is thoroughly enjoying helping me with that - masochist). 

Anyway, plenty of time to get fixed up, and I plan to hit the start line feeling fresh and raring to go with no excuses.

If you're around at the SDW, I'll see you there! If you see me walking, you have my permission to kick me up the arse. Just remind me about the prize money; nappies aren't cheap y'know!


  1. The SDW will be my first 100 and whilst I'll probably finish some 10 hours after you, I find it comforting that we're both battling knotted calves and distinctly weird toe nails. If I do find myself having to chivvy you along then both our game plans will have gone somewhat awry. Good luck, dom.

  2. Heh. Thanks Dom! Hope that you have a great race, and hopefully see you next week. If you see a guy with obscene sideburns collapsed on the side of the path, give me a wave!

  3. Hi Sam, I like your graph prediction, but then you settle for a 16 hour finish! Remember "Run as fast as you can, while you can!" If you have already ran to halfway in 7:30 in training, surely one should expect to go faster when racing!

    If its a sunny day I'll see you somewhere in East Sussex along the SDW.



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