Monday, 27 June 2011

Beauty and the Beast: G3 series 2011

The North Downs

I caught the last of the G3 races yesterday. The race is part of series of five races which take part in the beautiful surroundings of the North Downs in Surrey here in Southern England. The first three
races take part in the early months of the year finishing with the final two back to back over this Weekend in Sunny June.

I say Sunny, the forecast was for this to be the hottest day of the year, fortunately though the day started very misty and the race start was 8:30am.

Setting Up at the Start

It was an early start as I had offered to help friend Tim whose Company sponsor the event, a helping hand in putting up his Company banners. Tim had got me my race place so it was the least I could do to help out. It also gave me a chance to meet some of the Organisers and chill out a little before the other competitors turned up. I enjoy helping out at events, especially shorter races as it makes more of the time rather than just turning up racing and going straight home.

The Calm before the Storm!

The race course consists of Forest trails and Woodland sandy paths with quite a few challenging hills thrown in too. The well organised start to the race made a prompt start as scheduled at 8:30am. Tim had warned me that the first two miles of the race were fast and downhill and it would be easy to get swept along at a fast early pace. He was not wrong and I shot off from the start like a greyhound. This was my first mistake as I would learn later in the race.

I'm really pleased with the way my Nike Lunarglide's handled this type of terrain although a Trail shoe would be recommended for this course. After the easy start to the race and crashing through two seven minute miles, the false sense of achieving a PB was slowly but surely zapped out of me. The next mile and a half was by far the toughest I have competed in, the ups were tough and the downhills just as daunting. Be warned the Down hill's are steep and fast with the terrain uneven and rocky!

The toughest of the hills follows up to the Church of St Martha's. Not only is this steep but the terrain is loose sand. I've run this hill from the other side on a training run. That particular run was the first time I have ever had to stop and walk while running and today would be no different. Despite my recent efforts to include more hill runs as part of my training, St Martha's, my Nemesis, had reduced me to walk for the first time in a race.

The Final Stretch

Once I had got past this, my confidence came back and I was able to go past a few people up the smaller hills that followed and finish the race strongly. I finished with a respectable time of 52:12 on this very tough course. It was nice to be greeted by the race director who I had met earlier while setting up, with a "What took you so long!" I like this kind of banter at the end of the day and laughed along while I ate my Banana and Recovery Shake that you receive at the end of the race.

There is no medal, which was a little disappointing but you do have access to download your photo for free after the event and I was pleased that the Recovery Shake was my favourite 'For Goodness Shakes' which I swear by as part of my recovery at the end of a tough event.

The race was faultless in it's organisation and the Marshall's were encouraging and friendly. I will definitely be up for doing the full series next year, a great race although not one for the beginner.

The Course

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