Wednesday, 4 November 2015

From the trails of Ennerdale to the roads of Abergele via the UK Trail Running Championships..

October has been a busy month of racing to say the least.. Im my last blog post I shared my success running the first ever Night Trail Wales race in Coed Y Brenin. Since then I have raced every week with a mixture of outcomes.

Ennerdale Trail Race Finish Line.
The month continued to be a good month for me by racing the Ennerdale Trail Race event organised by High Terrain Events in the Lakes District. This event has everything a trail runner would ask! It starts with a groomed single trail run before continuing onto a fast rolling open fire road before heading back along the southern shores of the lake back to the Ennerdale Scouts Hut. But the return leg isn't as straight forward as going out, you start by running through an open field before heading onto a technical single track where rock hopping is needed and a good sense on foot plantation, personally I love this section of the race as it truly is trail running at its best! The views across the lake and opposing fells are just breath taking. If you ankles last through the rocky section you then run/scramble over a small exposed section called Anglers Crag which is once again just brilliant and a great twist to the race! Finishing off on a single trail along the lake shore back to the finish line. The event is a brilliant choice for anyone who wants an achievable but challenging trail run, High Terrain Events offer 3 distances on the day from 10km+, 25km and a 50km route.
Section of the course along the south shore of the Lake. 

My main aim for this race was to try and get as close to the previous course record as possible set last year from a talented local cumbrian athlete. The only advantage I had was the weather was much more favourable then last year what made the rockier section more runnable. I crossed the line in 44 minutes dead what just gave me the new course record by a very small margin. I was pleased at how the race had went and of course a new course record. For anyone wanting a 'real' trail run give this one a go next year, as it defiantly beats the trails races what just run around open fire roads....

Race number at the ready..

I followed up Ennerdale trail race with a trip down south to compete in the UK Trail Running Championships at the Stort 30 mile trail race. I wasn't what to expect here as the race incorporated the championships. The morning of the event was a lovely clear day but had a cold crisp feel in the air what in my opinion is perfect to race in.. Stood on the start line I was looking around to see if I recognised any faces, unlikely being hours and hours away from where I usually run. But I did notice one face an English International athlete who I raced back in May in the British 100km  Road Championships where he finished 2nd overall. From the off a small group of 3 of us broke away from the rest of the field and took it in turns over the first 10 mile to lead along the single track river trail towards the turn around point. The first section of the race was muddy and slippy underfoot and all i could think I would have to run over this again on the way back after 200 runners had run through.. Something to add to the fun of the return leg.
Enjoying the sun along the river side..
Around the 10 mile mark myself and Craig pulled away from 3rd place and headed to the turn around aid station at 15 mile after running straight through the first 2 check points.

At the aid station Craig was carrying his own water supply in a waist pack, I just had a small amount of energy food and took a cup of water and coke at the aid station. Just before I started to drink the coke, Craig started the return leg and shot off down the park. This made me neck the cup of coke with the thought i wanted to try and stay as close as possible to the leader all the way back... Problem was as I had rushed to drink the coke it had gone down the wrong way and I instantly started to choke but off I went down the trail to follow the leader. His pace had quickened and started to pull away what I had expected but wasn't as easy running for me as it was coming out, where I had taken in the coke the wrong way I started to get a stitch/cramp feeling in the side of my stomach and started to slow down dramatically.. First thoughts, where was 3rd? and can I continue to run if this stomach cramp got worse..? Of course the answer to that part was of course I can just at what speed. I really started to suffer as each mile got slower and slower and I had started to really doubt myself in my head and was continuously looking over my shoulder where 3rd place was.

About 4 mile to go 3rd overall caught up with me and continued on and left me for dust, his pace was far superior to mine at this time and rightfully he claimed 2nd overall behind the leader. I was extremely pleased to hold onto 3rd overall (3:32:27) in the race and ultimately in the UK Trail Running Championships (Middle Distance) In the end a great day out on the trails and pleased to podium!!

Collection of medals from the UK Trail Running Championships

Abergele 5 mile road race was the following weekend where I got to run for the regional team North Wales in a match Vs the Staffs who we had previously raced earlier on in the year. The race also was the North Wales Championships for the distance. Going into the race I was feeling good after having a good 3 races before hand and confidence was high, this soon changed when I started the race on Sunday. Usually I love the tougher courses and hillier the better but on running up the first climb of the race I just wasn't feeling the love, my legs struggled and I felt like I didn't have much energy..! Had the pervious races taking their toll on my legs/body I don't know but it just wasn't happening unfortunately. I crossed the line in 29:35 and my worse time for the distance since starting running 10 years ago.. The only positive of the day we had done enough as a team to take the win Vs the Staffs in the Mens race and get our own back on home ground. I run for Eryri Harriers running club what saw us pick up gold in the team event also. So not all bad as a day but a disappointing personal performance but I can't expect to run well every week and will just go back to the drawing board and looking forward to my next race/challenge.
My North Wales kit with my trustworthy Hoka One One shoes! 

Next in the calendar is another road race at this weekends Langley 7 in Macclesfield, where I will make my debut captain role for the regional team (North Wales) in a match Vs the Cheshire team. Fingers crossed I will perform better than last weekend! Not much planned after this for the rest of the year but as normal I'm sure something will crop up..

Thanks to everyone who follows and supports!
Paul x

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