Sunday, 26 July 2009

Faversham 2009 race report

The day started at 6.00 am and as usual I went about by various preparations this one being slightly different as I had to take my chair and all my water bottles, sports drinks, cool bag and other equipment.

Andrew arrived at 6.55 am and we loaded the van for the quick drive to Faversham Recreation Ground arriving at 7.45 am, after a very quick check in we went about the business of preparing ourselves and staking our claim for a our HQ. We eventually opted to borrow a corner of Tom Meldrum's rather posh camping table.

I originally met Tom via a small internet forum, UK Runners hosted on, as we went through the preparations and got our bearings Ian from the above forum arrived and was our main support man for the whole event. His presence was brilliant and it was really assuring to have a friend there just to give an encouraging word.

At 8.55 am, things got serious as we were gathered together and the last safety instructions were talked through and then the airhorn started us on our way. It was unusual as a looped circuit that the marathon runners started on the opposite side of the park and it was about 1.5 laps later that I was overtaken by the first ultramarathon runner, who was in fact the fasted marathon placement of a 2:50 hour marathon runner!

After the first 200 metres we were met by "The Hill" we were not sure what to expect but it had a vertical rise of 45 feet over a 100 yard horizontal distance and as Sid the organiser stated "It won't be hard for the marathon runners, by the ultras will find it hard"....never has a truer word been said, I was able to run up it for 32 miles of my race but I have to say the last 5 miles it felt like climbing Snowdon!

I don't normally wear an Ipod but I opted to wear one for the first 4 hours. Lesson #1 learnt: Don't put Iron Maiden - Number of the Beast as your first track, it makes you run just a little over your planned pace :-)

Not much to say about the course as it was a loop around a recreation ground but it was a Devil and not to be underestimated, as it was on a slant with a 400 metre stretch upwards to "The Hill" and then a 500 metre stretch going down and a 100 metre length which was flat, this caused the heart rate to rise and fall regularly and I heard Ian mention it was like a faartlek, a very good analogy as it really played games with the psychology.

I planned to run a steadt 8:45 to 9:00 min/mile pace as long as I could and was pleased when I ran through the marathon marker at 4:01:36, almost spot on, but as my Garmin was under counting I reckon I was almost spot on. At 4 hours I was still on for a 40 mile end but knowing I was beginning to flag I went for my second option of smashing my predicted distance of 36 miles, something I knew was in my ability.......well within my ability :-)

By 30 miles my carb-loading strategy was really working in which I would take 300 calories per hour in the form of carb gels, chew bars and sweets, it worked a treat as I was nowhere near the imaginary "Wall" at any time. Fluids were easy, I took on fluids every 2 laps and if the sun came out I took a bottle with me, at 3 hours I drank a pint of Dioralyte (rehydration salts) and I felt the cramps in my quads just drift away.

Just before the last lap we were handed a wooden baton with our name on it and we were told to place it on the ground by our feet when the airhorn went, I went screaming through the Start/Finish point with 30 seconds to spare and then realised that if I went too fast I would have to run up "The Hill" never has a blast been so welcome when I was able to stop just 50 feet from the start of it :-)

In all a great race, I am hooked on lap races now as they are a great way to pace yourself and not feel stimulated as there are people around you all the time to look and maybe talk to.....may be there next year, we will see........"How far did you run Jerry" I hear you say, 37.2 miles

1 comment:

  1. Congratulations, Jerry! Wow - 37.2 miles. Big Grins! I think it takes a special mental fortitude to keep going in the same circle over and over, and you proved you have it. Did you get to keep the baton?? ;o)