Last time I did this race was 2013 and I had a good race but felt in the two years since, I’ve improved significantly so was looking forward to this one.
In 2013 I ran 1:14:49 and finished in 36th. This year I felt I had a sub 1:10 in me as I power hiked a bit on a couple of the steeper climbs and was confident I’d be running the lot this time.
I’m getting better at pacing and racing the more I do it and I have a better feel for how sustainable the effort levels are early in a race and while we went out reasonably fast I felt comfortable enough and found myself running initially with the lead 5 guys.
I tucked in knowing the profile of the course is basically 6 miles up, 4 down and that I wouldn’t be competing with the ones in front of me but felt reasonably confident I could grab a top 10 finish.
Getting up to Deer Hill reservoir is tough, it’s pretty much all uphill and the field thins out significantly but I knew once up there it’s flat for a mile or so before diving down a path before the killer climb up to the top of Wessenden Head Road.
Last time around I had to power hike short sections of the climb but this time I ran the whole section where the weather went from reasonably nice day to claggy mist at the top before the long descent back to the finish along Wessenden Trail.
I love descending and long and steep downhills don’t generally present much of a problem but I definitely felt a bit leggy coming down because of the increased climbing effort going up to the 6 mile point which I hit in around 45 minutes so sub 1:10 was well on.
Just trying to maintain decent form and keeping an eye out every now and again for my friend Johnny who I’d been racing with up to the top of the hill but he’d dropped back out of sight and sadly had some chest issues which although he finished a few minutes behind me meant he required medical attention from the onsite Mountain Rescue and First Aid and an ambulance ultimately attended.
From the early updates it sounds like good news and nothing too serious but it did of course temper the personal satisfaction of my result but in the grand scheme there’s no competition between his health and a race and I’m glad to hear he’s in hospital overnight but just for observation and should be ok.
Results wise, I finished in 6th place overall and with a massive PB of 1:07:37 for the course and I felt I ran it strongly throughout. Can’t really argue with that!