Quick reflection on 2011’s races (that I remember):
5/6 Feb 2011: Pilgrim Challenge Farnham to Merstham and back the next day.
Xnrg event which is a challenging 33 miles over the North Downs, including Box Hill. Lovely route and I enjoyed it a bit too much on day 1 (5:36 was a bit quick) and suffered a bit on day 2 (6:45 with glute and hip problems!). Neil and co always organise a good event and I’ll be doing this in 2012. I bumped into someone from work (actually a government minister) on the first day and my cover was blown in the office!
5 March 2011: TNF Trans-Gran Canaria 123k
Coincided with James Adams’ birthday – my first ‘proper’ ultra was on his birthday the previous year running 54 miles from Glasgow to Edinburgh. This was longer and hillier; and you’d think warmer but I was pulled out with hypothermia at 80k. This was also the same place my drop bag was with warmer clothes… lesson learnt. James and Jany finished in just over 24 hrs, tough event where you find out just what a mountain the island of GC is! Video of event here.
26 March 2011: EcoTrail de Paris 80k
Starting near Versaille and finishing on the steps of the Eiffel Tower this trail race is a must for anyone who likes a few hills and a well organised run through some pretty forest and countryside then entering into Paris down the river and climbing some brutal steps to the finish. 9:18:32 was only 15 mins slower than a similar distance I’d done a year ago on the flat (canal) so I was pleased with that.
23 April 2011: Anniversary Waltz fell race
Group trip to the Lakes for Easter and we decided to show the northerners just how badly a southern running club could run a fell race! Great atmosphere and lots of comments like ‘you’ve come a long way’ and ‘Isn’t the Serpentine in flat Hyde Park? you know this isn’t?!’ I knocked off 7 minutes from my time 2 years ago to finish in 2:37:27 – which for 11.5 miles tells you there’s a lot of climb in this A graded fell race.
30 April/1 May 2011: Pony Express 30 miles x 2 in the New Forest
The first running of this Xnrg event – and they suffered with locals taking down signage (!) – 4:59 for the first day and 5:15 for the second were good times but I let myself down towards the end by getting stroppy after finding myself lost (knowing I was within a mile of the finish but not knowing where that was!). Booked in for 2012, foul attitude staying home – plus I kinda know the route now!
May 2011: Richmond Park Marathon
Inaugral marathon in one of my favourite London Parks, 3 laps on the trail with a couple of little hills. Suprised at first woman place (3:28) and good turn out of Serpies (it was Gemma’s ‘birthday mara’); including Nick Copas who was first man in just under 3hrs which was brilliant on that course!
25/26 June: Mont Blanc Cross and Marathon
Treated this as a training weekend as struggled to get in much training owing to busy time at work – so I ran the 25k cross and the marathon on back to back days. Ouch. Really great races starting in Chamonix and finishing on top of Plan Praz in the shadow of Mont Blanc. Alpine running at it’s best; the steep climb to the finish is not to be underestimated!
21 August 2011: Hell on the Humber: 12 hour race in a 4 mile loop over the Humber Bridge, Hull.
Loved it; never thought 12 hours running on road in Hull would be great but the atmosphere was really uplifting. I finished 1st Woman, 3rd overall with 17.5 loops – 70 miles. I will miss this in 2012 (it’s the very weekend I plan to arrive on the East coast US) but look forward to being back in 2013.
28 August 2011: Ridgeway 85: 87 miles (yes I know) on the Ridgeway from Tring to Avebury.
Second year for me and much better – last year I was injured near the end; this year I ran more (and added miles getting lost in a field in the dark…) so was happy enough finishing in 19:46.
9 September 2011: 100 Miles of Mors – Denmark.
Road 100 miler was a bit ambitious after a busy few weeks but a super event around the island of Mors in NW Denmark; small field were well catered for with checkpoints every 5k (maybe a bit too often?!). Perfect running conditions – about 10 degrees no wind – turned to storms and torrential downpours as I got to 91 miles. A wonderful marshal picked me up off the road – which had turned to a river – and told me he was driving me to the finish; I was too cold and wet to argue! I’d like to get a few people out there next year – very well organised and gave me the impression that Danish people are lovely. I want to go back and finish those 9 miles. Thanks to Matthew Wilson who now lives in Norway and was injured after signing up for the run but still came over and ran sections with me.
18 Sept 2011: Isle of White Fell racing weekend (3 races in the 2 days).
A classic weekend with the running club – great to have run all three races and good laugh; we retained out ‘Southern Fell Running Champions’ titles in the process.
30 October 2011: Newcastle Town Moor Marathon
I was the returning Ladies winner and had a course record (3:23 in driving rain) to improve on; stomach issues at 12 miles continued ’til I pulled out at 20 miles. I’ll be back for the 5 laps next year as it’s a really low-key but fun event, and a great chance to catch up with some friends who live in Newc.
5-12 Nov 2011: Training week
I took a week of work to run 35-40 miles a day for 7 days to help my decision to run across USA next summer. Could I do it? What would I learn? Well yes and basically I just ran, ate and slept for a week; then ran one of my best xcountry races for some time. I did pick up a foot injury which was quickly remedied by a trip to see Thomas Dekkers and subsequent exercises. Also decided I needed to move posts at work to a more sensible job – so it’s back to economics and analysis for me.
Not a bad running year considering I was doing the busiest job I’ve ever had and struggled to run much mon – fri.