19th May saw the second of the Centurion 50 mile Grand Slam races for 2018, The North Downs Way 50.
This race starts in Farnham and heads East to Knockholt Pound. I’d read some race reports and some comments online that typically people take 30 – 45 minutes longer than their SDW50 time. So after a 9:45ish SDW50 I was expecting something round 10:30 for this route.
I drove to Farnham early doors for the 8am start, and was eyeing getting a train back from Knockholt around 7pm which would get me back to my car around 9pm, and home by 10 (hopefully)…
Let’s just say that things did not go to plan… 🙂
I felt like I had a decent run at the SDW50, and then a couple of weeks later I took part in the Beer Ultra, which was a decent 30 mile distance. However in the 4 weeks since then I had only run a handful of times, and only one of those was over 5 miles. So training had not been great.
That said, I’d manage a run commute home the week before (17 miles) so was feeling quite confident… (not sure why)
Although people rate this race as harder than the SDW50, there’s not much between them elevation wise. It was a pretty hot day, full sun and around 23 or 24 degrees – a good deal hotter than I’m comfortable with.
I found the first half went okay, but things got harder from there, and there was a lot of marching. Lack of training was showing through, and I wasn’t really enjoying myself. My mood nose dived and I started thinking how miserable everything was – how I hated the route, how it seemed like a dark green tunnel, how it wasn’t really runnable… All nonesense of course, looking back now I recall the amazing views from some of the tops we crossed. Lots of people out picnicing, giving words of encouragement … the fact that the Kiosk at the top of one of the hills, right next to the aid station was open and I bought an ice cream.
The second half turned into a death march for me, and I had my head down just getting on with it. I had not run or recce’d any of this route before, which I think made things more difficult for me – especially towards the end, as not knowing where the finish was meant I kept wondering/hoping it was the next field, only to be annoyed when it wasn’t. I did manage to shuffle a bit for the last couple of miles, which is a bit of a positive…
Anyway, a finish in around 11:40, a full 2 hours slower than the SDW50.