With the dust now having finally settled on my 1000km, the past few weeks have been all about the continuation of my own personal quest of running 52 races in a calendar year.
1010.37 – 1031.40KM: Turkey Trot
The first race of December was the Keyworth Turkey Trot, a race that had been pencilled in to my calendar much earlier in the year. When the race registration opened at the end of September there was a lot of buzz on Twitter about the race and whether people would be lucky enough to get in. For what I deemed a low key race, albeit a relatively popular one, this seemed like hyperbole, but I made sure to set my alarm early that morning. Sure enough within 12 hours of registration opening the race had sold out. Roll on a couple of months and I would get to see what all the fuss was about.
On the way to the race I began to worry about whether eating a curry the night before would prove to be a big mistake. If there is one vital piece of ‘kit’ that I bring with me to every race it is a pack of Immodium instants, whilst I have never had to rely on them, there has been a few occasions where it has been reassuring to have them on stand by. I can’t think of anything worse than having to squat behind a hedge mid race. Some ominous noises from down below on the drive to the race aside I needn’t have been overly concerned.
It’s hard to say whether or not the race lived up to the hype, as much of it was spent anxiously waiting for my knee to inevitably fall apart and then dealing with it when it happened. The pain from the past few weeks was pretty much constant from the start of the race, but it wasn’t until the 10th mile that it became an issue. The majority of the course was undulating, in particular a big climb around the 2 1/2 mile point, but it would be the final big push with 3 miles to go that proved too much. For those last few miles my pace would drop over a minute slower than the rest of the race, but still crossed the line in a decent enough time.
Next year when I have use of both my knees, my jaw doesn’t hurt when I run and I’m nowhere near the fatigue levels I’ve reached this year I imagine I’ll give the race another go. From the little I can remember the race seemed to have a great atmosphere, a nice challenging course and Jelly Babies on route, meaning it has all the makings of a great race.
Distance: 21.03km | 13.07 miles
Official Time: 01:43:24
Average Pace: 04:55 min/km | 07:55 min/mi
Goody Bag: Mug, Bottle of Water
View my run:
1031.40 – 1039.64KM: Gaddesby Gallop
On the 24th November I reached the 1000KM at the Norwich Half Marathon, a few weeks on and I’m still entering every race I can find every weekend as my own personal quest to run 52 races in a year continues. On the 8th December my tally for the year would reach 50 with the Gaddesby Gallop, a 5 and a bit mile cross country run in a village in Leicestershire.
Having had nightmares about running across soaked, freshly ploughed fields after the Spires & Steeples earlier in the year, I was relieved when the week before the race was relatively dry. A smallish crowd of around 100 competitors gathered in the field for the start, many appearing to be veterans of the race, fully aware of what was to come. After a few hundred metres we came to the first of many stiles, and the tailback was pretty bad but thankfully a broken fence allowed runners to cross five at a time. This was soon put into perspective as after crossing the next field it took at least a minute to get from the back of the horrific queue, over the stile and into the next field. The reward for doing so would be the first of three water crossings, the ‘Dew Pond’ a relatively simple 2ft deep crossing, and just a taste of what was to come.
While a lot was made of the race’s three water crossings, it would be the ‘dry’ parts that would prove to be the most challenging. More often than not diving in to the water would feel like a welcome respite, if for no reason other than to clean all the mud off my trainers. Thankfully the dry weather made these uneven surfaces as passable as they could be, but the fields soon churned up.
Next up would be the ‘Drainage Pipe’, as I approached this section you could see runners disappearing underground only to re-emerge some moments later. Fortunately this section was much drier than I was anticipating and the challenge became whether or not I could get down and then back up the bank without slipping on my arse. With the ‘Brook Crossing’ the best would definitely be saved until last. After some bitterly cold mornings the previous month I was relieved for a reasonably mild morning as it could have made this section rather unpleasant. Instead I rather enjoyed wading though the waist high water, I imagine I looked like the Creature from the Black Lagoon when I emerged at the other end.
Once out of the water there would be a couple more fields to cross before reaching the finish. It’s a shame this race wasn’t closer to home as it could soon turn into a yearly race for me. As it stands it’s definitely on my ‘Probably’ list for races I’d do again, I just need to remember to bring a spare pair of socks.
Distance: 8.24km | 5.12 miles
Official Time: N/A
Average Pace: 05:33 min/km | 08:57 min/mi
Goody Bag: N/A
View my run:
1039.64 – 1043.20KM: Lincoln Santa Run
I had always intended to run at least one race this year in fancy dress in an attempt to raise more money for charity, but ultimately any plans I tried to make fell through. Instead the opportunity was eventually forced upon me with the Lincoln Santa Run. Walking to the start of the race from the bottom of Lincoln already in ‘costume’ caused a few strange looks, but thankfully there were one or two others doing the same thing.
I headed to the start of the race, outside the Castle wilfully ignorant of how big the event was. When I arrived and I was shocked to be greeted by a crowd of a couple thousand Santas. I slowly tried to wriggle my way to as close as I could get to the front, past the crowds of walkers.
It would be a common theme throughout the race as the majority opted to walk the course, meaning I would have to be alert to gaps as they opened up. As the course bent round past the castle on the second lap hordes of competitors were still crossing the start line, which led to big hold up later on as the two laps merged. The majority of the second lap would be spent squeezing past walkers where possible until finishing back in the castle to collect my Santa themed medal. There were only handful of competitors in the castle grounds as I finished and if I’m feeling generous I could boast a top 20 finish. With, to my knowledge, no official results and no one to claim otherwise, I think that’s what I’ll do.
Running with a cheap, fake beard soon proved to be more difficult than I could have imagined. Being a mouth breather I had to split open the mouth slip wide enough to allow me to breathe, but instead this just allowed me to breathe in clumps of the beard, which then found a way up my nose after I tried to spit them out. Rather unpleasant.
At the time of writing this in a few moments I will be off to the Lincoln District Runners’ Charity Christmas Cross Country (Longest Race name ever?). It also wins the prize of having the best race entry of the year, asking instead for a donation of toys or selection boxes for a local children’s charity. With my total currently standing at 51 and with today’s race and the Liverbird New Year’s Eve Marathon little over a week away it looks like somehow I’ll reach the unprecedented total of running 52(53) races in 52 weeks.
If you’re feeling generous in this season of giving my JustGiving page is still open, so please visit http://justgiving.com/shanes1000km.
Distance: 3.56km | 2.21 miles
Official Time: N/A
Average Pace: 04:27 min/km | 07:10 min/mi
Goody Bag: Medal, Bottle of Water
View my run: