This year I’m gonna focus on the British and English Championships in the hope that I can use the races as a training focus before unleashing the new fell running beast in time for next year and the Scottish Championships, which in my mind I’ll have a better chance at doing well at cos English fell runners don’t much like travelling too far north of the border! At least that’s my theory……which does not credit at all to the droves of awesome Scottish runners out there (and there are droves!)
Anyway I didn’t get much chance to run at the start of the year cos I was in the Arctic Circle getting screamed at for 2 months. With that in mind I was playing a bit of catch up in the first proper race of the year for me in Northern Ireland. It was the first of the British Championship counters this year so there was a preeeeeeettty high calibre of folk knockin’ about.
The race takes you from sea level (it starts about 200m from the beach) to the top of the highest hill in Northern Ireland – Slieve Donard (853m) over about 10km there and back. Fairly good amount of ascent packed into a short distance. Yikes! Long story short tons of people got lost in the mist, including some of the top dogs, so placings were a little bit skewed in the whole ‘talent/luck’ ratio. Those of us that were lucky got gloating rights over that were talented. I came in in just over an hour in 31st place. Shite I know but half way up I genuinely couldn’t care less that I was in a race and just started walking, making sure I didn’t become one of the many voices I could hear in the mist trying to find their way. Learn to read a map I guess?!
Next up was the Army and Inter-service Duathlon Championship down South somewhere. It was made up of a 5k run, 20k bike and 2.5k run. It sucked and was boring. I ran my fastest ever 5k and my second fastest ever 2.5k and still came 124th! Getting beaten by fat bastards all because they own posh bikes is crap. Not into biking enough to wanna buy a bike that can compete with the carbon-fibre-seat-post-and-plastic-wheel-cover-blah-blah-blah that they own. I’ll try training a bit more on the bike and see where that takes me but I’m happy with how the running side is going.
Raced in the Dunbar 10k the weekend after and did alright. Got 6th place in 36:02 on a reasonably bumpy course so there’s hope there.
Finally, ran the Coledale Horseshoe near Braithwaite in the Lakes. Guess who else was there?! No not Jonny G, close, but no……it was Scott Jurek!! Who?!!? You know Scott Jurek surely?? Him off that book “Born to Run” about them Injun’ fellas from Mexico that run right fast and only eat beans. In the ultra-running world he’s a pretty big deal. He won the Western States 100-mile race 6 times in a row or summat like that. He’s a legend. And yes, I beat him. Big. Deal. It’s not like I wrote a blogpost about it!! In less than ideal conditions – 80mph gusts and lots of fog – I did alright, came 21st and beat my arch-nemesis ‘Long-haired-wolf-looking-man’. One of the best races out there though, whopper slog up Grisedale Pike right at the start which accounts for pretty much half the run distance-wise then very runnable with some fast descents right to the end. Good shiz! (Racing Snakes do some cool pictures – unfortunately he doesn’t do fashion advice….I could use some)
Been training in between times for some of the summer races that are coming up.