I did the Wendover Hills Ultra Challenge on Thursday, my first race back since Trail Races have been reinstated to the calendar.
It's a super-hilly 6 hour challenge in Wendover Woods....how many 5.25mile loops can you do in 6 hours (if you start a lap within 6 you are allowed to finish it).
If you get chance to run socially at Wendover I thoroughly recommend it, it's brilliantly hilly and there's miles of runnable trails. Apparently there's a very difficult park-run there too !
It's a fantastic race, I did it a couple of years ago and posted 6 laps , just over 50km in 5 hrs 47, so was delighted this year to do better, with another 6 laps of 50km but in 5 hrs 29, so I knocked 18 minutes off my PB ! NHRR training over the Summer has definitely helped my speed and endurance (thanks Brian et al)
I managed a creditable 4th place, the winner managed 7 laps, which realistically I could have gone for, as I was still within the cut-off time, but wanted to save myself for another Ultra next week, plus the cafe was shutting and they had really tasty Brownies !!
The hills were immense, I managed 1200m of climbing and the trail was pretty slippy as it poured down for the whole event.
The best thing for me was seeing how clever race organisers are adapting to COVID to deliver a safe race.....
1.Run on a Thursday so there's less public around, and with reduced entrants
2.Staggered starts - every minute
3.Very wide course to help social distancing
4.No aid stations
We had the Forestry Commission on-hand to risk-assess the effect of running through their land; I've seen races cancelled by the National Trust, United Utilities and indeed the Forestry Commission recently, as they were nervous about public perception of runners on their land....happily they were delighted with how safely the event was run.
It's given me confidence that whilst the big city races may be postponed for a while, the smaller trail races can indeed run safely.
Onto next week's Backyard Ultra (in Letchworth !!)
Well done Mike. Pretty good to knock 18mins off your previous time, you should have kept going and and not let the temptation of the cafe stop you. Yes the club training is certainly helping a lot of members improve their overall running