Saturday, 27 September 2014

The Long Expected - Tolkien Run

A new event from those guys at Saxon, Viking & Norman marathons.

With a small field of runners, on Britains newest bit of land and the race being midweek, this race was going to be a bit different. Add to the mix, a Tolkien theme, and it was going to be special!

The race was held at Samphire Hoe, basically a new part of Britain, next to Dover, which was created out of the spill from digging the Channel Tunnel. Here comes my first mistake. After Sundays Farnham Marathon, I expected the course to be pancake flat. Mainly due to me not reading about the course and more from a tv documentary I had watched a fair few years ago about the channel tunnel. 

In the documentary they talked of Samphire How and the fact it was used as a storage area for the large concrete curved walls that lined the tunnel. So in my mind, this was a nice flat area!

Turns out that it wasn't really!! Well, actually two thirds were flat, as we ran along the sea wall. The final third is like the pic above. Over the 27.90 miles I ran, I recorded an elevation gain just shy of 2000ft. Pretty much the same as Farnham marathon.

My initial plan was the same as Farnham, run a good half. Although my glutes were still achey from Farnham which had only been 3 days previous. So this was really about enjoying the event with my fellow runners. 

I set off in a nice comfy 10min/mile pace. Making our way over the hilliest part of the course before making a quick descent to the sea wall. Heading East towards Dover and the docks clearly in view. During these early miles I chatted to Sheila as we headed to the turning point on the sea wall. Just prior to getting there, Matt and Foxy had come past us and Foxy mentioned something about a head wind! At that point I was unsure what he was talking about. But as we made the turn and came onto the main sea wall, I fully understood what he meant!! You couldn't feel the wind at your back at all heading East, but it was a pretty strong wind when you headed west straight into it. 

It wasn't long until we were back at the hilly part of the course, and wanting to run a good half, I continued to run up the hill. It actually felt good. The surface was a good quality trail, so running on it was good. 

Each lap is approx 3.45 miles, so to cover the marathon distance, 8 laps would be required covering 27.6 miles. 

At the end of each out and back there is the legendary aid station. Full of all the naughty food you could wish for. I opted for the bacon cheddars. While admiring Heathers wonderfully made cake!

And back out I went. Matt Tonks was on a flyer, I think he was scared being so close to France, or it may have been difficult to pace with no Jon Godfrey with him. Foxy was after a 50km pb and Keith was always close by or they were talking. 

It was good to meet a fellow 10in10er (TiT). I believe Ellan had turned up late after dropping her child at school, but it was good to have a chat!  

I went through half way in 2.30, not overly disappointed, but slower than I had hoped before I saw the course. 

Mel and myself linked up, and after Mel recently completed the Great Barrow Challenge, 10in10, we started discussing 10 in 10s as you do! We were happy to just enjoy ourselves and keep moving forward. We were soon joined by Jacqueline, who had unfortunately picked up an injury and possibly shouldn't be running. 

The event is a 6 hour challenge. You can run as many or as little laps as you like. As long as you complete one lap, you're classed as a finisher and you get your medal and goody bag. The majority of the field targeting the marathon distance.

After my 5th lap I was very aware of some uncomfortable pain in my left hip flexor and that I was trying to compensate it which was giving me other issues down my left leg. I did something I don't like to do and took some pain killers. I also slipped on my calf guards. I felt better for it and we cracked on.

It wasn't long until we were just about to start our last lap and I had a sneaky shot of Vodka. Thank you Janet. I like to drink tonic water on these type of events, so one vodka was a welcome bonus. It made me feel better for 5 minutes.

I tried to convince others that there was time to run another lap and go for the 50km. Some were already doing this!

Crossing the line was a great feeling. My left leg was shot and I had asked Emily, Rosemary and Sally if they had a spare. Despite my stubbornness and the pain, the medal and goody bag removed it for a while! The medal is huge!!!

The goody bag is full of all the naughties you want after a marathon!

I got an extra choccy bar for working out the Dwarfish Runes on the medal "not all those that wander are lost".

A massive thank you Rachel and Traviss for another fine event! You can't go wrong with these guys. Take a peek at their website

Thank you to the running family again for helping make these events so special.

And a special mentioned to Paul Sahota running in his Darth Vader outfit again! I think he enjoys it a bit to much!!

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