All years that involve some kind of regular running routine are good ones. 2018 was no exception and in fact it has been one of the best years I’ve had. It was the year of the 100 mile and 10 mile PB’s. It was the year of running with friends and sharing in some spectacular
adventures together. It was the year where Jason and I drove up to the Hardmoor 100 and surprised Colin with some support for him over the last twenty miles. There were some magic parkrun moments too. No PB’s for me, but I took on a new role by becoming a parkrun event
support ambassador. This gave me the opportunity to attend the 2018 parkrun conference and meet some really great people. I got to learn and hear about the grass roots of parkrun and even got to do a group run with Chrissie Wellington and Vassos Alexander. I got to run parkrun this year with the legendary South African ultra runner, Bruce Fordyce who I’d met as a young child many years ago in Johannesburg. I ran for the first time on a bit of the North Downs Way, and managed a hard run 4th place at the Surrey Hills Challenge.2018 saw a few small injuries which came and went. Particularly on my achilles tendon which impacted my performance at the South Downs Way 50. Perhaps the biggest significant result last year as mentioned above was Jason and I finishing with a six hour personal best over the hundred mile distance. That race saw me hit a physical low point with nausea that hit me very badly. That race reinforced for me just how important friends are in helping get each other through the finish. I could go on with various details already documented in my race reports but now onto 2019, which is shaping up to be IMMENSE.
2019 was bound to have another hundred miler in it. There are still a ton of races I’d like to do over this distance in the UK and so for this year it is going to be the Centurion Thames Path 100. Jason and I are going to take on the distance for the third time together and this time we are moving from all the hills and going for a flat one. This is going to mean a whole new challenge and slightly different in terms of training and racing. Jason and I are going to plan to race this one, going for a good time. Let’s see what happens!
Three weeks after the Thames Path I’ll be running my first ‘longer than’ 100 mile event and trying to finish the Grand Union Canal Race. For those who don’t know it, it is what others call an old school British ultra race. Fewer stations, low key, less runners and will take on the famous path from Birmingham to London. Am I worried about the recovery time in between this and the Thames Path 100? Yes, a little. More mentally than physically though. I tend to repair quite quickly after the hundreds, and end up taking a day off the running normally. I am going to need to plan this one VERY carefully and give myself plenty of healing time in the mind and body.
Before these two big races I have a the Portsmouth Coastal half marathon in February (I think!), and a six hour timed event in April called the Batty Bimble. I’m going to be spending the next month or so building up some speed and distance, with speed taking about 70% of my focus, and the other 30% taking up base building on the mileage. This means I’ll be trying to get some serious fitness and turnover in the legs, while introducing the body slowly back to double long weekend runs. These have already started. Then in a month or two I’ll switch the focus and get more ‘race specific’. Speed will likely drop off a bit with hopefully just a bit of maintenance on keeping it up, and then focusing purely on distance and getting in the long runs to prepare for the distances coming up in May.
Now, here’s the big news. After May I have the UTMB CCC race in France! I still can’t believe myself and a good friend got in. We entered on thought that we’d likely be rejected first time around. You can imagine the delight when we both got in via a group entry. What makes this even more exciting is that other runners from around Portsmouth that I know got in too, so there will be a ton of familiar faces. Warning to all elite runners who I follow who will be there : I will be stalking you all for photos and run chat. Thank you.
UTMB is a series of races I’ve never really wanted to do purely because of the amount of hiking involved, but something really excited me last year watching all the carnage and results especially from the British runners who did so well. It was then I wondered about CCC and the fact that it is slightly more runable that the big UTMB 100 miler. So, here we are. Ready to take on the mountains. Butser Hill will be my main training ground.
The rest of the year is pretty standard really. I’ll be returning to the Great South Run to try and get a better time, however that might change with CCC being a confirmed race now. I’ve also got the Portsmouth 50k Challenge booked in as that has become very much a Christmas tradition for me. That’s it. I don’t think I really want to do anything else. In between all of those big races, there will be some really cool adventures and trail running. I really hope 2019 brings good things for everyone out there. I’ll be posting up my race reports after each event to document how things pan out. For now though, happy miles everyone and may your race plans be epic!