My race season starts in earnest tomorrow with the Brecon Beacons 40M. After an eight-month break from racing ultramarathons, I have been feeling a bit rusty and anxious, so last weekend I decided to let some of the nervous energy out.
On Saturday, I raced the train up and down Snowdon, mostly providing entertainment for my family, but also getting a good effort in, especially on the climb.
Snowdon is stunningly beautiful in good weather.
I was running fairly well but my splits were still embarrassing, compared to Kenny Stuart’s incomprehensible 1h02 for the return trip.
On Sunday, I entered the low-key 17-miler Ras Y Diafol, which traditionally follows the much more competitive Red Kite Challenge. My goal was to run hard for a couple of hours, but avoid getting too wrapped up in racing.
Gareth Green (running on tired legs after finishing 8th on Saturday), Dylan Lewis, and I stayed close together and pushed each other throughout the race, with each of us making a move at some point. Dylan was clearly the strongest among us that day and eventually managed to pull away with 3-4 miles to go. I gave him a bit of a chase (especially after seeing him walk a gradual climb and inferring that he was cramping). But although I was gaining on him and cut his lead to maybe 20-30 seconds, I was not willing (or able?) to work any harder than this, so I eased up a bit and cruised in to finish in 2h04, about a minute behind Dylan and a minute ahead of Gareth.
Overall a pretty nice day: good race, very enjoyable finish-line chatter, and even prizes (a bottle of wine for Aberystwyth AC winning the club competition and a check for £30 for finishing second overall - so much for my amateur status).
Dylan (white vest) and I, obviously not running hard enough. Gareth is about 30 m ahead at this point.
The three of us (Gareth on the left), happy to be done.
Now, let’s see if I can stay on course (in many ways) and give myself a chance to compete in the Brecon Beacons.