The last couple of weeks I’ve not really reduced my mileage by much, despite Transe Gaule coming up this week, let’s call it a ‘active taper’.
As in previous years a group of runners from the running club headed out to Davos, Switzerland for the Swiss Alpine running weekend. It’s a classic weekend in the mountains with a range of races to accommodate all runners – from 21k to 78k. I ran the K42, the mountain marathon, as I prefer to be in the mountains for the majority of the race, I might attempt the K78 one day but right now the 40k before you get near the mountains doesn’t appeal. Saturday race day was one of the hottest they’ve ever experienced for the event – some thermometers recording 30+ degrees and that was at over 1000m above sea level. It was a great weekend, everyone seemed to struggle in the heat and most people were well over their anticipated times – I fell at 15 miles, just scuffing my thighs & knees) and didn’t feel great on the uphill (though the downhill sections went well even after the trip up). I definitely want to come back one year and have a good race here.
The weekend was great – once you accept that Davos makes London seem very cheap it gets better! I even managed to get a swim in Davos See on the Sunday morning.
The inaugural marathon on The Vanguard Way from Lloyd Park, near East Croydon, to the M25 and back again was organised by the team behind the Richmond Park marathon. I ran the first of those in 2011 (resulting in me being able to go into the office the next day and say I’d ‘won a London Marathon!’ with a silent ‘a’…) and thought I’d run this as a training run – it was also the AGM marathon for the 100 Marathon Club so there were many familiar faces. I still haven’t gotten round to counting up how many marathons I’ve run (really should I suppose – though it never seems important) but they let non-members run too. At the start I caught up with Dave Ross, congratulating him on his 300th marathon recently, and we debated how many people would be in that club – he reckoned it was in the thousands, I guessed less than 100. [Dave – I’ve checked and you’ve made it on to this list – 333 + you makes 334.] Amongst the starters was my friend Josh, a Barnes runner, who I hadn’t seen since he breezed passed me at the Wokingham half marathon earlier in the year. It was good to see him and I got to hear first hand his Scott Overall story – when recently the Olympic GB marathon runner had stopped by to use the Barnes track and Josh had dutifully explained about the spring and autumn marathon seasons, potential training runs and the importance of interval sessions – sorry Josh but it deserves more socialising!
Anyway the run… we set off in Lloyd Park and within 800m Dave Ross was out in front, leading us the wrong way! Most people use the standard ‘if in doubt head straight on’ approach to navigation but Dave likes to employ a ‘if in doubt just take any turn’ plan. This may be why he’s a quick and strong runner – most of those 300 marathons were each probably 29 miles with his navigation! The route was fairly hilly, a couple of road crossings but mainly off-road and a mixture of rutted ground and field paths. The odd stile and gate also added to the fun. At the start I saw a couple of fairly speedy women and was settling for a nice training run when getting to the half way turnaround point in 2:10, I was first woman and decided to try to hang on! Thanks to actually getting nearly the right route back – having done 15 miles on the way out – I managed my first (possibly only) negative split and finished 5th overall in 4:10. Only 15 minutes behind Dave, who must have done over 30 miles. Delighted to see world-wide fame is around the corner as it even made the Croydon Advertiser.
I then had a rather hurried cycle back home to get to the hairdressers and out to the Serpentine Summer Party in central London – and spent the night in a pair of killer heels.
Waking up with ok legs (high heels providing calf relieve?) I was quickly on my way to Waterloo for a train to Petersfield to race my second inaugural event of the weekend – the Harting 10. 10 hilly miles on trails near the South Downs seemed quite fitting after the North Downs of the preceding day.
The race was a small, friendly affair organised by Liss running club with various local clubs and other runners. They’ve discontinued the Miland Valley race and have replaced it with this. Simon (who’s parents picked me up from the train station – thank you!) and myself were the only Serpies but next year I hope to get a few more to turn out as it’s a great race and good preparation for anyone doing the Isle of Wight Fell series or even cross country. Though the 800m gradual downhill to the finish id not nearly as steep as Ventnor!
I was second woman in the single ladies category which irks me a little. I was actually 7th woman but because 5 of those women in front of me (including the winner) were over 35, and I’m a whole 6 months off that,with 2 classed as ‘super-vets’, they only received age group trophies. I think it should be that you win the overall prize regardless of age and then the age groups, as many races adhere to. So because of the rules, I won a 2nd-place trophy and the woman who finish just ahead of me got 3rd in the Vets. I don’t think it’s fair really, and it felt a bit odd to have a 2nd place trophy when I was 7th! Though nice to have a 1-2 for the weekend, even if by default!