Yep the 3rd time at JW Ultra for me. As per previous years I stayed at the re-named `Etap` in Birmingham - 15 mins approx. away from the finish if you are thinking of staying there but remember to take your own kettle, tea / coffee etc.. anyway it`s quite nice. Due to Friday night traffic issues I did arrive quite late so with a pre-planned early night I didn`t venture out. Up at early o`clock - after the normal race breakfast - coffee & porridge I was out the door.
Slight change (for me anyway) the Race HQ was at the T.S. Sherbourne - all very nice esp. afterwards when sitting out in the yard in the sun….We jumped unto the coach to take us down to the start at Stafford-Upon-Avon. I sat next to Garfield - her 1st Ultra…how good is that? We got there and had about 40 mins or so before the start - which just disappeared but it was nice to have a brief chat with Suzy, Plodding Hippo & Lady Alton (* Not their real names except Suzy`s).
We made our way down to the start area..after the race briefing we were off. Like last time I thought around 5 hrs would be good - why because it`s about 10 minute miles which easy on the brain. The first section is not along the canal but as soon as we hit the towpath we soon settled down to our own pace..we past friendly & cheerful marshals along the way inc `2FF` in Stratford - I thought he was running - anyway soon enough we had gone 6M - 00:57:xx - which was about right….
Just before the 8M mark we went across the `Edstone or Bearley Aqueduct` - which is the longest aqueduct in England at 475 feet (See Sharon I do read these route cards).
No Rich K there this year so I took my own photo...
From previous years I remembered the first checkpoint was just shy of 10M (about 9.5M) - I went through there in about 1:30:xx - I just grapped a water & re-stocked my hand held…I was pleased with that time, it was about right, maybe even slightly ahead of schedule of PB pace (4:54:08 - in 2010) & despite my lack of long runs since Salisbury I was feeling ok. I took my second gel around the 12M mark (01:54:xx) - the blister I picked up from the Farnham Half wasn`t bothering me (mainly due to a whole tub of Vaseline being used) also glad I went with the vest & shorts approach. I knew I was ahead of PB time but didn`t have too much to play with……around here I had a bit of a nasty coughing fit - caused by swallowing one too many flying objects - the trouble of running like a basking shark. I did have to stop for what seemed to be several minutes - not nice - esp as I was in a good rhythm too!!
I saw Elaine & Colin around 14 / 15 which was really good as it was me a chance to empty my shoes of stones - one drawback of wearing loose shoes..anyway soon off - cross the canal & quick peek down towards down the Grand Union Canal…
Just around the 18 mile mark I went past a runner who I saw go off at a very fast pace at the start - he had over-cooked it. He asked where the checkpoint was - I said it wasn`t far….opps sorry about that. I got there about 03:14 - `20 miles in & 10 to go`. I topped up the hand held & grapped a few jelly babies & off I went - I got some cheers from the pub - thanks. My PB margin was down (03:14 + 01:35 = 04:49:xx) to about 5mins….despite the miles ticking away I kept the pressure on…but I was seeing a lot more 10:xx:xx coming up..
I hit the marathon mark in 04:14:xx & again I thought "right 3.8 Mile in forty minutes" - just about do-able esp. as the course measures short on the Grmin………then disaster - my legs went heavy - just under 3 miles to go. I had to stop…I thought you are not going to go anywhere being still so I walked - it felt like I was staggering so I jogged. A relay runner came past - I tried to tag myself on the back of him. We went over the bridge where it went `ever so slightly wrong` last time - I looked across & there was a jogger (nothing to do with the race) coming towards us - "Oh been there before" I thought & carried on with a little grin. The next bridge is a biggie…well it is if your quads have gone…I did struggle - it felt like I had to climb a mountain. Time was ticking past…another 00:14:xx mile…..
My PB was gone - my next target was a sub five…I was in the last mile..I knew I was close…was is it about that last mile? I forgot the legs & ran. I saw 04:58:xx - did I really deserve a sub 5??? I knew the finish was just past the bridge. I ran through the finish & stopped the garmin - I haven`t felt so exhausted in ages - I looked it was 05:00:51 - knickers !!
It was good to see Sharon, Hilary, Elaine & Colin at the finish..& after a while I got my bag & made my way back to the Race HQ - which did give the legs a chance to recover.
Splits - 9:33, 10:44, 8:57, 9:02, 9:11, 9:10, 9:20, 9:23, 9:19, 11:07, 8:51, 9:20, 9:07, 9:55, 9:01, 10:16, 9:46, 9:25, 10:22, 8:14, 10:08, 9:20, 11:24, 10:40, 10:18, 10:26, 11:43, 14:08, 14:10, 8:19 (0.71@ 11:42)
Results - Individual Results
Main Website - LINK (which does include my 2011 blog)
As I`ve read before “there`s no such thing as a bad race, you either run well or learn a lot”….what did I learn? Basically the same words as when I ran in 2011….`The JW Ultra is 30 miles long !!`
Next up – A bit of pacing a Frimley Lodge parkrun (32 mins) & the Mortimer 10Km, then my final long run before Caesars Camp 50 the Bournemouth Marathon on the 6th October.