Race Reports



Monthly archive for January 2013

Country to Capital Ultra-marathon

Country to Capital Ultra-marathon

It was the 12th of January, snowing and I was sitting in bed with a cold.  What better thing to do than pack your gear, head to Wendover and run to London along with 300 other eccentrics including your wife.  45 miles of cross country bliss and a day without children, could it get any better?  Actually yes, what other race starts with bacon rolls and a cup of tea?  I'm not sure I can remember being in a pub, teeming with such energy at 7:30 in the morning but then again if the night had been that good I wouldn't have remembered!

These days one can't take these things too seriously, so starting at the very back of the field we ambled down Wendover high street to the first style - now it takes some time for 300 people to cross a style who all arrive at the same time.  No worries, time to stretch, have a chat and ponder how the water will get out of your water proof shoes when they fill up from the top!

It's always nice to spend time with your wife, enjoying the countryside and the company of strangers with interesting stories about how they don't have heating and are using this as preparation for their run from Birmingham.  Things didn't change much for the next 25 miles, run a bit, wade through some mud, have a chat, look at a map, wait at a stile and repeat.  The weather did improve and at checkpoint 1 I discovered the best cake ever made which included some magical ingredients that I'm sure were designed to uplift one's spirits - the world took on a 60's glow!

Now there is nothing quite like a light Siberian breeze hitting you in the face for a day which contributed to the downside of the race when I failed to motivate Mrs G to go any further than the Marathon distance, which left me to go it alone.  A stubborn one that Em but the look of grey disgust and inability to pose for the photographer meant we had failed on our mission of quality time together so I may as well punish myself a little!  75grams of carbs and 500ml of fluid per hour and the knowledge that if I get through the 30 mile point I had enough jelly snakes to get me home, not forgetting the joy of more cake at the next stop was plenty of motivation.

A Canal can be quite boring but not the Grand Union Canal, that has a few house boats, the occasional BMXer, water, footpath, disposed toilet, dead fish, misleading sign or two, tree, derelict property  and at least 2 Sainsburys - now that beats seeing nothing swimming for the same amount of time any day!  And then came the finish, at just over 8 hrs I crossed the line and went to the pub - beats a round of golf but not quite as good as an Ironman so I'd give the experience 6/10 but 10/10 for value - Race T shirt, medal, mysterious cake, gels, and 8 hrs of entertainment all for the bargain price of £40 odd quid - now that is a deal and better than anything I got in the post Christmas sales and it gave me an excuse to miss the Swimming Club's T30!

Jamie & Emma Goodhead

Portsmouth Coastal Marathon 23rd December (BAR Race)

Portsmouth Coastal Marathon 23rd December (BAR Race)

After last year's sub zero temperatures - it was going to be interesting to see what difference milder conditions with recent torrential rain would make. Well - it was wet!! It was also windy. 

As usual the pre-race banter centred around the excuses. Loz and myself pleaded lack of training for distance, Jamie had done loads of distance but all at a slow pace. Martin Sanwell was doing his first marathon so did not really know what to expect. Jules had her usual approach, so virtually no training, and Jim Graham was taking it easy pacing his wife Helen round as his heel injury was still recovering after his amazing 3h 02m a couple of months ago. 

Jamie set off at a good pace straight from the start, but found his lack of pace training was causing pain in his overstretched hamstrings, so after 8 miles he backed off, allowing myself and Loz to move in front. Jamie is doing a 45 mile ultra marathon in a few weeks and it was not worth risking any damage at this point. 

As we approached the halfway turn (it is an out and back course) Loz was beginning to breathe quite heavily which turned out to be caused by tummy problems. Luckily there were 'facilities' at the turn point, but this was just the start of a torrid time for Loz with several stops in the second half. 

Jim was pacing Helen round and Jules was running at her usual sensible steady pace, although the course made it difficult to keep the pace even. It is half cross country and half tarmac, with 2 sections each way on shingle beach. The cross country sections were very wet, muddy and slippery. If Loz wasn't having a bad time already the last thing he needed was to slip on a wet concrete sea defence wall then skid off the edge. Unfortunately there was a big drop to the beach below and he completed the race with a huge graze down his leg.

 The conditions took their toll of everyone - especially as the way back was predominantly into a headwind, and the pace slowed for all. 

Performance of the Day for me goes to Martin. 3h44m for a first marathon is exceptional, and there is clearly a lot more to come. I am sure he will break 3h30m soon. Helen's 4h13m was also exceptionally strong. 

Martin and Loz pushed themselves so hard that they each went beyond the 'empty' point. When they finished they were both so pale that they really looked ill. It took an emergency dash to the nearest MacDonald's to refill them with junk food before either looked remotely human again! 

Well done to those that completed it. 

Men Winner 2h50m40s 

  • Steve Alden         3h19m50s    17.09%    10pts
  • Loz Wintergold   3h32m59s    24.8           9
  • Martin Sanwell    3h44m01s   31.26          8
  • Jamie Goodhead  3h49m32s   34.49          7
  • Jim Graham         4h13m12s   48.36          6

Women Winner 3h04m02s 

  • Helen Graham                4h13m13s   37.58%     10pts
  • Julienne Stuart-Colwill  5h46m56s   88.52          9 


Authors Steve Alden