Race Report - Stort 30 (UK middle distance trail running championships) - 30 mile, October 2017
The Stort 30 is the UK middle distance running championship venue for 2017, this was my last big race of the year. My preparation had gone really well, I hadn’t really had any niggling injuries to disrupt my training for a change. But I knew the field was going to be very competitive being a championship event and this was confirmed by the pre race report showing the depth of the field a 1:12 half marathoner, a 2:31 marathoner, last years race winner and a 4 time previous event winner who also happened to be a GB 100k ultra runner. So it was going to be a tough day at the office.
Pre Race - My morning started with a couple of weetabix, followed by a big bowl of porridge with some blueberries and strawberries about 3 hours before the 9am start to allow it time to digest. After a couple of hours car drive to the start (luckily my parents were driving) I began to snack on some dates in the last 30 minutes before the event to make sure everything was topped up.
I decided I would run with my 600ml handheld filled with water and a Powerbar blackcurrant electrolyte tablet to help keep salts in check and in the pouch I kept some more pitted dates and a Powerbar wafer berry yoghurt flavour split into 3 for easy consumption.
The Race - A quick warm up and we were off. The first half a mile was a lap of a sports field so it allowed the field to filter out and I could find my place. Almost immediately there was a breakaway group of 4, I decided to sit at the back of this and just stay a consistent pace of 6 minute per mile pace. We stayed pretty stagnant until about mile 4 two decided to up the pace, but I decided to stick to my current pace as did last year’s winner.
I kept sipping my electrolyte drink and taking in a date roughly every 20 minutes as I find whole foods tend to work well for me. Approaching mile 10 we seemed to be catching the leading duo, by the half marathon point we were all running together I decided to have a bit of wafer now as I didn’t want to get hungry!
Approaching the turn around point at 15 miles the 2:31 marathoner who had been pushing the pace appeared to drop off slightly, so now it was down to three. At the half way aid station I grabbed a handful of grapes (they were very refreshing) and a cup-full of squash and we were back off. I continued to sit at the back of the trio and just see what kind of pace they could maintain, they seemed to not be tiring- much to my concern, until about 22 miles, when I noticed the pace started to just creep towards 6:20 minutes per mile pace so I took another wafer and a date in preparation for my move.
I waited until 10k to go before putting the hammer down I upped the pace to about 5:50 minute per mile pace to try and break it up, I still felt surprisingly fresh. I was starting to pull away and they didn’t appear to have an answer, so I went through the marathon mark at 2:39. I downed the last bit of wafer and chugged most of my remaining drink in the hope I could hold on! I kept pulling away but there was a brutal hill up to the finish which my legs didn’t appreciate!
I could see my parents and our dogs stood at the top of the hill. A lap of the field and I had done it,
Post Race - 1st \ New Course Record
I was the UK middle distance trail running champion and much to my disbelief I had crossed the line in 3:01, 10 minutes under the previous course record. But showing the depth of the field 3 other people went under the previous record. After having a breather for minute, I grabbed a mars milkshake and downed that as I don’t tend to feel like eating whole foods immediately. I also had a can of coca cola to help pep me up, then about 45 minutes later I had a salmon and watercress sandwich to make sure I got something in!
It was one of rare days when everything went to plan!