Thursday, 22 August 2013

Thames Gateway 100 mile preview

This is a quick update just as I prepare for my first 100 miler this weekend.
After Shotley, I was more than happy with the event. I'd learnt some good lessons on the run and that combined with everything I'd prepared so stood me in a good position to finish.
My last race showed me that support cannot be underestimated. So far all my events have been large scale ultras with really good support from the organisers. This has meant that I've not had to employ any support crews and as they've only been around 50 miles I've never had to use pacers.
This event was something different. Not only was this ultra run by a very small race company but the actual race itself was tiny compared to something like Centurions South Downs Way 100 with only currently 14 entrants for the full 100.
The other difference is that all other races I've taken part in have taken place on reasonably established paths but this was almost like a 100 mile trail race across fields and through towns. Who knows what the conditions and going would be like on the day?
Id managed to pull together a small support team made up from members of my running club and various other friends. I've always tried to help the running community whenever I can but I feel a little bad asking people for help now as they are giving up so much time.
I'd drawn up a plan that will hopefully get me around in just under 24hrs. This will be a major achievement as it will be the furthest I'd ever covered. I planned to average 13:45 min miles and with stops meant I needed to maintain approx. 13 min miles which should be ok but this is a very long time on my feet and I'm actually interested in seeing what running that slow is actually like?
Most the team gathered at the running club this week and this was for the most the first time some had met each other. Paul and the awesome Bridges family had agreed to cover Aid Stations up till 50 miles. I brought I plastic box and filled it with as much food and drink I could. I'd read loads of  material on CP's and took the guys through some basic drills with the main one being don't let me stay longer than 5 mins.
I next spoke to James Rideout and Debbie Mitchell who were a couple of the people who had madly volunteered to run with me as pacers. It's one thing meeting up for a social Sunday jog but another meeting up in the middle of nowhere in the middle of the night trying to navigate and drag someone around that just wants to go home. I must say thanks to James and Debbie, Anna Luff and Mike Hall. I owe you all big time!
All that's left now is decide what footwear to use? I'd tried for some time in Luna Sandals but it was now raining and some of the course would be seriously muddy. I'd really struggled with Lunas in heavy mud so I'd also decided to carry my Vibram Five' Fingers Off-Road Spyridons.
Well Im as ready as I will be and next entry will be a review of the actual event.
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