With the World 24 Hour Championships in 3 weeks time in Holland I needed a last long run before the big day and I thought 21st April would be a good day. I couldn’t really find any events on that weekend of marathon distance (God knows why?) so went for the 45 mile Evesham Ultra in the lovely Cotswolds run by Cotswolds Running.
After arriving in Evesham on the Saturday night and practically sleeping in someone’s garden near the start, I then pinched a free breakfast at the hotel (I think the breakfast was solely for runners staying at the hotel but i was staying just outside) and got to the start line in my Team Centurion top and La Sportiva Raptors, thinking that the tough, dry, rocky trails underfoot would warrant a tough mountain shoe more then usual.
At the race briefing Kurt Dusterhoff reminded us of those who had been cruelly attacked in Boston, had lost their life at the Brighton marathon and others who had been victims of a large explosion near Waco, Texas and we took a moment’s silence. I vowed to not take beautiful days like this one for granted and to enjoy every second of it in honour of those mentioned before.
Setting off ahead of the pack I took a wrong turn quite early on and then met the chasing pack who’d reclaimed about 5-10 minutes, then, for a reason unbeknown to me I them went in the wrong direction again and had to put a bit of a spurt on to catch up with the now leading pack.
It was at this point we realised that some unscrupulous swine had been sabotaging the directional signs, at first we thought kids but the organised manner and planning that had gone into the sabotage, plus the need to have a staple gun with you on a country walk, led the majority to think it was disgruntled land owners who didn’t like 60 runners nipping across their fields.
So I set off again and kept with someone who had the route on a GPS device, until we were sure the route was unaffected by the route changing fairies, or so we thought. I don’t generally agree with having routes planned in Garmins, but on this occasion it saved a lot of hassle at the start of the race. I feel it can give an unfair advantage in some circumstances but I wasn’t to grumble on Sunday.
After about 10 miles I slowly increased the pace again until no one was with me, taking it easy on the up hills and pacing on the down hills. There were lots of rolling hills, relict ploughed field and a generally undulating landscape. Oh and bundles of sheep, over-protective of lambs and a little aggressive. They were to provide my main audience for conversation today, although it was a little one sided.
I kept pushing on and got lost a few more times, probably losing 30 minutes or more by the end but they were just free extra training miles that i didn’t have to pay Kurt for. I’ll take that.
I kept on moving at a comfortable pace, enjoying the jelly meerkats and super sour snakes that I had put down as drop bags at two sites, what more does a runner need? Coming down from the penultimate checkpoint it was mainly downhill and flat so I got to open the legs a little and jog quite nicely past the site I had slept the night before. Ahh, memories.
I tried to make sure my time was under the 7 hours I aimed for and managed to finish in 6:47, a time I was very happy with. The La Sportiva Raptors held out well on the ground and my feet felt good at the end of the day as they definitely help with rockier, hard ground yet still allow me to pick the pace up on the technical downhills.
Last long run before world championships done, never out of my comfort zone and feeling good the day after. Three easy weeks now and off to Holland for a little jolly out there and see what I can do. I’m pretty happy with my form at the moment but how far do I gamble for at Worlds? Or should I just find out which one is Mike Morton and stalk him like a crazy man?