Sunday, 15 January 2012

Winter Tanners 2012 - Race Report

It was at 6.45 am when we arrived in the municipal car park at Leatherhead, Surrey completely deserted apart from about five cars and some human activity of people setting up tables and maps...we were way too early and it was -3 centigrade. George and I cracked open our flasks and quietly drank a warm drink sitting in the car watching the walkers beginning to arrive, they had the benefit of having about 3 layers of clothes whilst we were in lycra!

At 7.15 am we jumped from the warmth of the car, donned our last bits of kit and then negotiated with the organisers that we wanted to start and as we were going to gently plod it would probably beat the first checkpoint times, begrudgingly they allowed us.
The run
Firstly, we were not going to push this run, we were not there to win or get personal bests; although we had run in these parts a good few times we didn't know the route and know there is always a little sting arranged by the organisers.....we were going to plod out at an average 5 miles per hour afterall, this was a training run to prepare for the big events coming up in the next few months and that is what we did.

We were running really strongly for the first part finding that there was a theme, National Cycle Path 22, which seemed to be the route of choice. "So what?" I hear you say Dear Reader but that is the point, where there are cycles there are smooth paths which made it easier for us between 7 and 10 miles, this allowed us to hit out and keep our pace consistent even over some of the tougher hills.

What made this run so nice was that the organisers had made a brilliant route description with accurate distances marked and descriptions that really assisted us, there is an in joke with the walkers who say "Less haste, more speed" when they see a runner dawdling and ironically this was our saying today but this time we were doing well.

The first big hill
At 12 miles it came apparent that the hills were coming and as the instructions don't always tell you where you are we recognised the sandy, wide path, the sharp ascent....it was St Martha's Hill, a mount that both of us had run on numerous occasions and we knew it was a matter of digging in and climbing it for the journey on the otherside would be a breeze and after that we realised that the sun was on our right shoulder, we were on the way back.

The Return leg
The time was beginning to slip and our pace slightly dropping off but we were happy as ever but it was getting tougher with a nasty ascent to come which carried on for 5 miles and 500 feet which also undulated so it was a leg sapping journey taking us to Newlands Corner, the last time I was here was last September in the Surrey Tops 50, it was wet, it was dark and it was windy a total different day today's cold, light and cold day. We lost a bit of time here as we were getting a little confused with the instructions (caused by us having a little wobble) but battled through to the final check point where we agreed to have a hot drink and a chat with some other runners who were quickly overtaking us. George mentioned David and Rob wonderng where they were and as soon as mentioning them we heard "Oi George, Jezza, wey hey" there they were but we were off down the trail so called to them to catch up. These guys are getting fast today, one because of their training regime and two because they are about 10 years younger than us and we just cannot compete. They soon caught up and we had a 5 minute chat with them to see them blister off into the distance

The last 5 mile leg was down hill on average so we dug in and took what we had to get to the end via the same route we had done at the start, I looked at my watch and realised that we were nearing 6:30 hours and wanted to end before then and by magic we caught up a runner who was struggling and he joined us for the last mile returning to the car park in 6:26 hours which I am totally happy with beating our last run by 33 minutes...cool

4 comments:

  1. well done chaps....I've got a video that I will post of our brief encounter. Pity you are not running the Thames Trot next month but no doubt I will see you both around at an ultra or marathon soon

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    1. Thanks Rob, we have finally realised we are nearer 50 than we want to be and can't run every one of the events at great pace. I am just happy with the consistency

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  2. Well done, Jerry. Sorry I didn't pause for longer to chat but I was finding it difficult enough keeping up with Duncan as it was without giving him a head start! It was good to meet you and observe your legendary shorts first-hand.

    I hope you don't have too many aches and pains today. I think my achilles both need a bit of TLC but my muscles seem in surprisingly good working order.

    Rob / Roadkill

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    1. Likewise Rob, good t meet you. I seem to have a little niggle in the left calf which is a standard post-ultra ache which will stretch out nicely in coming days.

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