I ran this race in it’s first year (2014), and again the following year. In 2016 I was there, but supporting Sarah who was running. Last year I ran GUCR, but decided for this year it was time to come back.
It was a beautiful morning when I left the house, and I’d been offered a lift by David Milloy who was running, so could relax as he drove down to the start.
Registration was quick and simple and we soon lined up for the race briefing. All the pre-race communications had warned that only the half marathon route would be marked, and the 50km runners would need to navigate (a run book and GPS files were provided). However during the briefing Stuart told us he had marked the full route, which was great news, and meant I would need to worry too much about navigation.
8am, and we are sent on our way. I set off at an easy pace and had decided to run on feel rather than check my pace on my garmin. In fact I ignored the watch for most of the run, only checking once an hour, so was very pleased to make it to half way, and the highest part of the route up in Ashdown Forest, in the time I had predicted.
This meant Sarah and the children were there to cheer me on and offer to fetch me an ice cream from the van in King’s Standing car park. The weather was still perfect for running so i declined on this occasion. An hour or so later when it had warmed up, i’d have happily accepted.
After about 3 hours of steady running, it really started feeling warmer. I was carrying two 250ml soft flasks, but one was leaking badly, so I could really only carry about 250ml. I made sure i stopped and drank at the next check point as well as refill the flask.
I’d planned to meet Sarah again at the Blackboy’s Inn, but shortly after leaving CP4 and climbing up to the road I saw Claire Milloy waving at me and then heard Sarah call out. A runner had collapse by the side of the road, and they were looking after her.
I later discovered this was the leading lady who was suffering badly with cramp. In the end she had to withdraw, and Sarah drove her back to the finish.
Shortly afterwards I caught up with a couple of runners from the half marathon race, and from the top of the next hill I could see the church steeple at Chiddingly. It was still some way off, but once I saw it I knew there was only of couple more fields to cross before the end.
The runner in front had twice looked over his shoulder at me, and I assumed he was struggling. If I see a runner looking back, I always take this as an invitation to race, and I knew once we hit the road for the last section I would have a chance to push hard and catch him. The last stretch is about half a mile but seems further as you have to run up the hill to the start line and then carry on for another couple of hundred meters to the school. I pushed hard, and manage to catch him with a hundred meters or so to spare, and then power passed to the line.
My Garmin says I ran the last half mile at 6:43 min/mile pace.
I’m very glad I did as this meant i once again managed a top 10 finish!
My 3 Weald Challenge Results
Slower but still in the top 10.