Over the last two weekends, I ran two races that I had heard a lot about but had not tried before. I liked them both, but because they tend to consistently fall on successive weekends, it seems that I will have to pick one, if I want to compete properly.
The Welsh 1000m Peaks race (~20 miles, ~9000 ft ascent) was more or less exactly what I expected – a long slog in spectacular Snowdonia. I ran this with a lingering cold and had no idea where I was going much of the time, so I was pretty happy with being able to finish it in 4h32, good enough for 8th overall. The best part, besides sharing a few miles with fell running legend and eventual winner (!) Colin Donnelly, was that I was feeling strong in the last hour or so, and even managed to catch three people – a first-time experience in a long race!
Welsh 1000m Peaks, a likely project for next year
As expected, Man v Horse (23.6 miles, ~4000 ft ascent) had a unique atmosphere, and to my surprise, I quite liked having the horses around. But I had to work a bit harder than I had intended to, possibly because of the heat and/or the newly re-designed course. The competition among runners was not as strong as in previous years, so I was able to finish third in 3h01. I may try this one again on fresher legs sometime.
The day after Man v Horse, I also ran a shortened version of a hilly leg of the Welsh Castles Relay (Builth Wells to Drovers Arms, 8.6 miles, ~1350 ft). Feeling fairly beat-up, I started conservatively, but was soon able to find a reasonable pace that I thought I could keep for an hour. I caught a few people who had started too fast, but my 0h57 was still only good enough for a 12th position on the leg. This race is competitive!
Only a week into my taper for the Vitosha 100 km, I am already bouncing off the walls. May have to start swimming again…