Monday 2 June 2014

Grand Union Canal Race Report 2014: GUC-king hell that's a long way!

"Put One Foot in Front of the Other One" by Fun

"You need to run more."

I love my wife! It's not that I hadn't been running much recently; my training had become more consistent since the start of the year as we finally recovered from a difficult year of no sleep, and I was finally getting back to my level of fitness from the previous year. I was back to commuting to work through running and getting plenty of speedy miles in, with a couple of podium places in local ~10K races indicating that I might be getting in good shape for the coming season. What I hadn't done recently was many long runs on the weekends. Well, long runs anyway. My short run is 10 miles, so my sense of scale is a little skewed. But with some long (long) races coming up, my wife was a little worried that whilst my speed was looking good, my endurance might not be up to scratch.

My first A race of the year was the upcoming Grand Union Canal Race (GUCR) - 145 miles along the Grand Union Canal starting in Birmingham Gas Street and finishing in Little Venice, London the following day. The GUCR is something of an institution in the UK ultra running community, and if you've ever raced in this country then chances are you've bumped into Race Director Dick Kearn, who is a mainstay of support throughout these events. He's easy to spot these days with his rather spectacular beard. I actually met him in my first ever ultra way back in 2011. I chatted to him at the end and asked if he had ever done anything like this before. Little did I know...

Dick Kearn in all his beard glory. Photo C/O Ross Langton