Sunday 15th July
Long Course Weekend – Wales
|Gareth Petts||9hr 12m||2nd overall|
|Swim 2.4 miles||1hr 05min||56th after the swim|
|Bike 112 miles||5hr 21min||4th fastest on the bike|
|Marathon 26.2||2hr 45min||1st in the marathon|
UK Masters Heptathlon Sheffield 14th &15th July
|Jeanette Ashton||VW60||Gold Medal 1st|
London British 10km
High Wycombe Half Marathon
|Tony Lock||1:29:51||1st MV50|
Gran Trail Courmayeur 105 km – Ben Lonsdale
I’m still on the hunt for a finish at Ultra Trail du Mont Blanc (UTMB), which means more qualifying points are required. With that in mind, I joined the back of the joint start pen for the 55 and 105 km events at the Gran Trail Courmayeur, on the Italian side of Mont Blanc, on Saturday. All I needed was a sub-30 hour finish in the 105(ish) km event to get my points, but the race has such a generous cutoff for a reason. It has 7000m gained, and the same lost, with much of it being very technical (fixed ropes provided and crampons compulsory kind of technical); finishing isn’t guaranteed, particularly with only 1 uninjured run under my belt since early March.
We were briefed that mountain guides would man certain sections, and that if we were told to put our crampons on, it was for good reason, with a lot of snow on the high ground (topping out about 3000m). The weather was due to be sunny with cloud (perfect for most of Saturday in the end) with some rain overnight but no storms(!). With crampons taking up space in my smallish race vest, I packed gloves, waterproof trousers and a thin hoody on top of the other compulsory kit and a lot of food, leaving out my insulated sweater.
The first 4 miles was downhill on groomed single track or road, being my only miles that were sub-14 minute. The start of the climb saw the race start properly, with zigzags climbing through the trees. As a somewhat overweight runner, I’m realistic about my chances in most races, but this one was all about gaining the UTMB points in as scenic a setting as possible, and the first of three (different) loops absolutely provided scenery. A long climb to 2000 metres+ saw us traversing clifftops/bottoms, snow fields and some quite exposed sections, before reaching a beautiful rifugio with spectacular views of the Mont Blanc massif. A quick refill of soft flasks and some chocolate, orange slices and crackers pilfered for the next leg, it was on to a section with ropes provided, dropping past some thundering glacial waterfalls, during a very technical 1500m descent over almost two hours (for me).
I met a Brit expat with an impressive ultra distance pedigree, and swapped dits with him throughout the 8 mile climb from the ski resort of La Thuile to the exposed Col Youla as we headed out on Leg 2. While my legs were feeling strong on the descents, my legs, lungs and head were struggling to cope with the steep grassy climbs. Reaching the higher technical section though, the excitement of being in the no fall zone masked the lack of fitness, and I found myself picking up pace on the long exposed traverses. By pushing these sections, I managed to stay 2 hours or more inside the cutoffs.
As I bimbled down from the highest peak on the course, the rain that had threatened earlier started in earnest. By the time the epic thunderstorm we had been told wouldn’t happen arrived, we were making our way down the rubble slope from the exposed ridge, and so enjoyed a mix of hail, rain, wind and sheet lightning and thunder overhead. The dark cloud brought night earlier than expected, and with the storm still in full swing (about the time the winner finished) a lot of runners opted to drop at this point rather than climbing back on to the ridge with the storm in full swing.
The storm eased as we headed towards the check point by the start however; I grabbed a ten minute power nap before yet another technical descent in the dark, waited for Ben (the guy I had run with earlier) then set off up the first steep thousand vertical metres of the third loop. We were both hallucinating rocks and trees as various things (my favourite being the Trump Balloon) until we topped out and started the long traverse with, as the sun came up on day two, spectacular views of the back of Mont Blanc.
We had left Courmayeur with more than 2 hours in hand, but had both slowed right down on the climbs, so we were both concerned that over 26 hours of moving, including heat and hail, would stop us getting to the finish. We cracked on up the final pass, discovering that we had enough time to take the final challenging and at times dangerous descent, including a number of snow covered torrents, at a sensible pace without putting a finish at risk. We jogged down the high street to applause as 28h30 approached. It appeared the plaudits were mainly from faster runners who had finished, showered, eaten and had a full night’s sleep while we slowly followed behind them.
Happily, the finish was right next to an Italian ice cream shop…
Marathon Challenge – Radley on Sunday 15th July
WRR Seniors defeated the juniors by 30 secs in the marathon relays in a close contest. The lead changed several times right to the last lap. A new record for both teams.
A great day out for all
Saturday 14th July
Amager Strand, Copenhagen Parkrun
|Graham Le Good||21:42|
|Judith Le Good||26:55|
Thursday 12th July
ITU World Aquathlon Championships, Elite and Age Groups, Fyn Denmark (1km swim, 5km run)
|Graham Le Good||42:13 (19:51, 20:45)||VM65 Bronze Medal 3rd & 1st GB|
Sunday 8th July
|Jade Hewlett||52:16||2nd Lady|
|Graham Le Good||53:05|
|Lucy Harris||54:26||3rd Lady|
|Judith Le Good||71:11|
Adderbury Half Marathon
Saturday 7th July
|Graham Le Good||20:57|
Brighton & Hove Parkrun
|Judith Le Good||28:53|
Tuesday 3rd July
Cheltenham Open: Mile
Sunday 1st July
|Graham Le Good||48:07|
|Lucy Harris||49:12||1st Lady|
|Judith Le Good||61:28|
Didcot 5 Mile
|Chris Colbeck||28:56||1st MV40|
|Isabel Stubbs||33:36||3rd SL|
|Lindsey Smith||34:09||1st FV45|
Monmouth Challenge – 7.5 miles
|Sally Howard||56:37||1st Lady|
Monmouth Challenge Aquathlon – 1km swim + 12.5km off road run
|Fraser Howard||16:32 swim + 53:32 run||1st|
Lake Windermere Triathlon
|Standard Distance (1500m swim, 40km bike, 10km run)|
|Sprint Distance (750m swim, 20km bike, 5km run)|