Date: August 2014
Location: North Downs Way
Distance: 102.5 miles
Assent: Total climb of 9,930 feet and overall elevation change of 22,000 feet.
Navigation: Fully marked course by organisers and NDW signs
Time Limit: 30hrs
This is the 3rd race in the Centurion grand slam which consists of the Thames Path 100, South Down Way 100, North Downs Way 100 and the Winter 100 all within the same year.
Since that last race SDW100 my recovery and my training have gone really well and I have been really concentrating on step sessions at box hill and the surrounding areas as the NDW has a large amount of elevation change and multiple section where there are steps, steps and more steps..
Also my feet during my training runs have been a of very little concern and have made things a lot easier to deal with.
So leading up to the race things have been good, Another race organiser and good friend Karl Jackson of Hell On The Humber (6 or 12 or 24 hour race over the Humber Bridge) message me and asked if I would send him a logo for BYB so he could add it to the HOTH finisher t-shirt, WOW THAT GREAT NEWS, Such great coverage for the site, Thank you again Karl.
So things in life are great leading up to race day, no injuries, the websites future is looking bright and training has gone well.
One interesting thing happened on the way to one of my step sessions though, I finished work and headed to Waterloo and hoping to catch the train to Dorking and then walk to The stepping stones car park and then up to the steps at Box Hill, I arrived at Waterloo and the training to Dorking were seriously delayed so I had to catch a train to Leatherhead and walk from their, So after pretty much failing asleep on the train I got to Leatherhead and decided to run to Box Hill as it was about 5-6 mile it would be a nice warm up for the session ahead plus it was a little cold.
I was running down the cycle path which is about 5-6 meters from the busy dual carriageway and about 5 mins after I had eaten a banana, I heard as loud noise and saw a car tumbling towards me I step 1 meter to my right and in went straight passed me, MY GOD THAT WAS CLOSE..
The pic below was the cash then happen and the car the could of killed me.
PICTURE OF CAR CRASH ON WAY TO BOX HILL
So…race week approached and I had decided to buy some race socks called Injinji that I had heard were great socks and nice to wear underneath the Drymax socks that I already had.
I have also had a bit of advice from my Mum (retired gp) who suggested that it would be a good idea to have another insole in my shoes as to distance I was running was quite substantial, that seemed to have worked in all if my training runs and so I was happy to take that to race day.
I had not booking any accommodation anywhere near the start which is unlike me, so on race week I booked a B&B in Aldershot which was about 4 miles from the start and managed to arrange to share a taxi with a fellow competitor. RESULT !!
So a few days before I started to organise my race things and sort out what i was going to put in my drop bags…( drop bags are bag that you give in at the start that are clearly labeled by your race number and are placed by the race organisers at mile 54 and mile 69) you choose what goes in what bag and they are then delivered to the finish.
The day before the race I headed to Waterloo Station to catch a train to Aldershot and check in to the B&B, arrived there to find out that is was more like self catering with a kitchen which was great as I’m vegan so getting food in Aldershot would have been a struggle.
So I head to my room and sorted me things and then headed to the local supermarkets to find out what they have to offer.
Got a few packets of Uncle Bens microwave packs, Linda Mccartney pies, veg and drink and then headed back to the B&B to feast on them, Got early night as alarm was set for 3:30.
Woke up feeling good and well rested and happy with my nights sleep as I only woke up once.
So got up had a shower and then changed in my race things and did my last min prep and then headed down for breakfast homemade muesli with soya milk, bananas and orange juice.
Runner name that I met the night before who agreed to share a taxi to the start
We had both finished breakfast and were waiting for the taxi as it was booked for 5:10 and the race started at 6 and I like get there with time to spare and not rush thing that why it’s good to do a lot of sorting and organising the night before so your not wasting nervous energy.
So with registration done and kit bags checked there was a race briefing headed by James Elson the race organiser five or so Minutes after that we all headed to the start of the NDW were there was a 10 second count down 10,9,8,7,6,5,4,3,2,1
This race is the hardest in the centurions running calendar, My aim was to just keep a nice steady pace throughout the race, there is a lot of elevation change and multiple steps you have to endure which was good as I have done a lot of step training at Box hill.
I made a decision before the race to wear my Garmin watch for the first 50 miles if the race as the battery only last 13.5hrs and I thought it would be better to wear in the first half rather than the second as to get a good pace going and into a good rhythm, that worked really well as I feel a I go off too fast in ultra and thus effect you for the rest of the race, the first part of the race was going well and I felt good at the pace I was going, as I was early morning when we started the race the sun was just coming up and shining though the trees with early morning mist it was a stunning picture and well worth get up for if just for the view,the first part of the race was going ok and I was happy with my progress and my nutrition was good too, the first part of the course before Box hill is a little rolling but not to challenging and then..there they are..the steps to Box hill, before this section thought you have a aid station which is nice to see as its gives you a chance to refuel ready for climb of those step… the good thing is I practiced this section so many times and knew the best side to take and the best approach..but after a 25 mile run before hand it’s another story completely.
I have my own rule when going up a hill, mountain or long steps, just look 1 meter in front of you and don’t look at the view until you get to the very top…
So the steps were tough but I overtook a few people so i was happy and when at the top I got running again as I had done it my training.
To surface of the NDW is chalky to muddy and then to grass, it completely different to SDW as it is very wooded and sheltered were the SDW is very open to all the elements and there is no were to hide, but then again the NDW is much more hilly
I prefer the NDW because it is more challenging and the hills just keep on coming..
The section after Box is a bit rolling in places…there were number of people that passed me in earlier that I notice had dropped when I got to the next aid station, i wish them all the best, refuelled and when on.
The was a key moment in the race when I began to rain really hard and from that point on you couldn’t really run at full pace while on a slope as you may take a tumble to the bottom and that maybe the end of your race, So i took it nice a steady with a safe pace.
There were some pretty steep ascents on the course even more so than Box hill and I loved them.
The last section as I remember was through a country park and then as you past the 101 mile point, (yes this race is actualy 103 miles) you get to a big field of 7 foot singing nettles which is not a pretty sight, I must a broken the 100 meter wr running throught there..VERY PAINFULL..
But all in all a great race and please I finished
RUNNER FINISHED: 110
DROP OUTS: 71