With painful memories of my first foray into running a long way in December still very fresh, I headed to the 35 mile Beachy Head ultra marathon on Saturday with a simple aim. To be be able to run all the way into the finish, save for some near mandatory walking up some of the steeper hills.
The first few hours of the race were very pleasant, running over the seven sisters and chatting to fellow runners. This early stage of an ultra race is seen by experienced guys as a bit of prelude to the real event as the slow pace you have to stick to in order to make the distance isn’t too taxing, at first. The serious work begins in the second half of the race once the legs have started to ache and the exhaustion sets in. Things were going swimmingly for me until I reached a fork on the trail with the course marker pointing almost dead between the two. Between myself and the group of runners around me we decided to take the left fork and headed off in search of the next marker. I hung back a little but the cheery, energetic guy who took on the task of running off to find the way, was met by a particularly grumpy bunch of faster runners who had been about a mile too far before realising their mistake! Luckily this little detour probably only cost me 1km, or 2% of the total time.
I ran/ walked/ shuffled the rest of the way waiting patiently for the crippling leg cramps I recalled from last time to set in, but apart from a short spell just after I’d mistakenly made an uphill sprint for the finish two miles too early, my legs held out. I put this down to a combination of factors, the course was a little less mountainous, better pacing strategy starting off slowly, taking on more electrolytes and generally being a bit fitter. All in all this made for a much more pleasant day out, big thanks go to Endurance life for running such a good event, Charlotte for driving me home after running the half marathon herself and all the friendly runners who made the day a lot more interesting.