Sunday September 15th
|Rachel Stanley-Evans||47.39||1st LV45|
|Kirsty Webb||50.47||3rd SL|
Swallowfield 10K is a brand new race on league this year. Quite often this year I have signed up to races and been to places that I haven’t even heard before. Swallowfield is one of them. A small village, one lap 10K. The course is undulating and within the first mile there is an uphill section but after that it is fine. It was definitely a warm one today. Really nice picturesque course to run. As well as the 10K they have a 3K fun run and Duathlon. 7 of us took part today and we all did well.
Sandman Sprint Triathlon (400m sea swim, 20km bike, 5km run)
|Jenny Moore||1.31.52||(10.54 48.48 28.39|
Sandman Legend Triathlon (1.9km sea swim, 93km bike, 19.4km run)
|Derek Bond||5.55.27||43.49 3.07.56 1.56.46|
Oxfordshire Triathlon Series (1K, 35K, 7.5K)
|Fraser Howard||1.55.32||(18.58 59.41 33.47)|
Dorney Lake Triathlon (750m, 20K, 5K)
|Paul Taylor||1.19.30||(16.45 37.34 22.19)|
Bristol Half Marathon
Saturday September 14th
Woodstock 12 (GP)
2nd Ladies and Mens Teams
|Chris Colbeck||1.18.15||3rd MV40|
|Lindsay Smith||1.37.54||3rd LV45|
|Frankie Snare||18.37||1st Lady|
Upton House parkrun
Harcourt Hill parkrun
Belton House parkrun
|Graham Le Good||22.21|
|Judith Le Good||28.18|
Sunday September 8th
National Aquathlon Championships
|Graham Le Good||38.47||Bronze medal 3rd M65|
Cotswold Sprint Triathlon (750m, 20k, 5k)
|Conrad Bailey||1.17.58||(17.22 38.41 21.55)|
Henley Trail 10K
Chippenham Half Marathon
Saturday September 7th
The Bronsens Cotswold Classic (GP)
|Tegs Jones||56.38||3rd & 2nd MV40|
|Matt Lock||58.24||2nd SM|
|Joe Godwood||58.31||3rd SM|
|Frankie Snare||1.04.41||1st Lady|
|Isabel Stubbs||1.07.06||2nd Lady|
|Martha Horan||1.27.19||1st race for Witney Roadrunners|
South Manchester parkrun
Bryn Bach parkrun
Queen Elizabeth parkrun
|Graham Le Good||26.53|
|Judith Le Good||30.30|
|Harriet Howard||23.05||1st Lady|
|Martin Crabb||1.07.00||Tail Walker|
Fire Service College parkrun
Wednesday September 4th
Sunday September 1st
Maidenhead British Masters Half Marathon
Ultra Trail du Mont Blanc – Ben Lonsdale
Another DNF for me at UTMB – 0 for 2, in 2015 and 2019. The race runs 171 km around Mont Blanc, with 10,000 metres climbed (and the same descended).
After a 90-minute pre-race wait in the town square (including a big rainstorm), at 1800 on Friday, 2543 of us set off on the single-track road out of Chamonix. The elites at the front had a clear run of it, while the rest of us had been kettled in, so there was a bit of elbows-out rugby until I found some space. The first 10km are an undulating descent; having been near the front, I was slightly out of my comfort zone, pace-wise. I hit the first technical climb with a sense of purpose though, and made good time up and over the top of Les Houches and down the mix of single track and steep black run descent in to St Gervais les Bains. I was feeling strong and fresh.
As soon as I hit the long climb through Les Contamines my ‘good’ hip started to niggle. Nothing major, and I pushed through, hitting Notre Dame with an hour inside the cutoff. As I reached the big climb up to Col du Bonhomme however, it became really painful, soon tracking down to the outside of my right knee. A 30 second stop to stretch would give me 5 to 10 minutes of climbing pain-free, so I settled in to a rhythm, summiting the 25km/6 hour climb feeling ok. As soon as I started the steep descent towards Les Chapieux, the knee really started to screech at me, so I had no choice but to take most of my downward steps (where the technical descent allowed) on my left leg.
Considering the discomfort I was in on the 10km ascent to the first border crossing, I made reasonable time, though with frequent pauses to let other runners past. Dawn broke before I reached Italy, and the view of the Italian side of the Mont Blanc Massif by the dawn light was spectacular.
I arrived at Lac Combal with 33 minutes in hand. With the way my injuries had been, I was unlikely to make the cutoff at Courmayeur. Decision time. If I dropped now, I’d be letting myself down badly. If I pushed on and made the cutoffs, I’d then be faced with the same challenge for every subsequent leg, with no margin for error between me and the bus home. With that said, it was possible my knee would improve and allow me to pick up my pace. A couple of texts from my crew helped make up my mind, and I pushed on up the hill. I pushed as hard as I dared (and my pain threshold would allow) down the treacherous descent in to Courmayeur. Em got me through the aid station with a change of clothes, torch batteries and food in very good time. I left with 10 minutes in hand.
With the 800m climb out of Courmayeur came the heat of the day – I hit a 50-minute mile at one point, due to stopping to cool down whenever I found a tree. I was also starting to get quite spaced out – it’s very hard to concentrate on pushing on up the hill with a sense of purpose when you’re half asleep. As we were the last of the 4600 CCC and UTMB runners through, there wasn’t much left in the way of food at the aid station, so I got some water, stretched again and set off, knowing the level-ish traverse would be an uphill struggle. I had my first proper sleep – ten minutes by the path, which did a world of good and allowed me to set off at something like normal pace. I hit the Bonatti refuge knowing that the 45 minutes available wasn’t long enough to complete technical 5km climb and descent to Arnuva however. With a mix of disappointment, resignation and relief, I cracked on at best pace, motivated by the epically loud thunder and lightning storm that was happening on 3 sides of me. I arrived 30 minutes after the cutoff, for the ceremonial removal of my timing chip, just as the heavens opened. I dug out my waterproof for the first time, and due to some comms faff with my crew, set off for a 4km trudge down the road in the heavy rain, increasingly cold and despondent.
On the walk, I started pondering. I was gutted to have DNF’d again, resigned both to the need to prepare better and to the effort of requalifying and trying to get through the lottery again in the future. I also thought that while I could have been fitter aerobically, and a lot lighter, I’m as physically strong as I’ve ever been and I wouldn’t have done much differently on the day.
As is the way with humans, I have rationalised my failure (to myself). At time of writing (with 2h until the race closes), 970 of the 2543 starters had dropped or been removed from the race – around 40% attrition. All of them had completed multiple 100 mile or 100 km events to qualify, and were not novices. When running such a distance in a mountain environment, it is clear that so much has to go right for an extended period of time if you are going to succeed. Back to the drawing board for me to work on the controllable factors; fingers crossed for the uncontrollable ones!