Bury to Clare Challenge: 18 miles - 2:08; 3rd place
A really enjoyable event – I felt pretty tired and my left leg was tight throughout, but that made me relax and not try to maintain a particular pace or place which made the whole run much more enjoyable. It really is a stunning route – considering I’ve lived in Bury for 9 years, I can’t believe I haven’t done this route before but I certainly will be doing it again in the not too distant future, especially as there’s a public bus service back to Bury. The route was a reminder there are plenty of rolling hills in our part of the world but being predominantly off-road made it all the more enjoyable, with a cracking finish down into Clare. The amazing weather helped too, hence the soaked-through Pacers vest being hung out to dry in Clare Country Park at the finish.
At the start I did briefly think of London, 4 weeks earlier to the minute, but swiftly forgot about it on the run and now, after such an enjoyable outing yesterday, I’m looking ahead to the next couple of months. I can also relax a bit in a week’s time, knowing I should be clear of the window when symptoms might surface from my Hepatitis E virus. I don’t feel much zip when out running at the moment, but equally I can still get out there and chalk off the miles, so if a bit of extra fatigue in the legs is the worst of it then that’s no big deal.
Warmer weather, longer days, off-road routes to explore and the Snowdonia Trail Marathon to conquer where I’ll have no time or place goals, just wanting to get it done in one piece and feel good along the way. In the short-term, I’m really looking forward to the Wharfedale Trail Half Marathon in less than two weeks’ time up in Grassington – that will feature proper hills but it will still be a delight running off-road in such beautiful surroundings. My only other race will probably be the Bury Friday 5, as the next 8 or 9 weeks are all about hill training, a couple of 1 hour runs during the week as tempo or fartlek runs and then some longer off-road stuff at the weekends. My training grounds will be Ickworth and the paths around Hartest, plus possibly some faster stuff round the perimeter trail of Nowton Park.
If I was really trying to achieve something spectacular at the Snowdon race, I know I’d have to have training weekends away in the Peak District or further afield, but with the miles in my legs already, the mental strength I’ve banked from a 100-mile race and focusing on enjoyment over pace and time, I feel fairly comfortable about the Snowdonia Trail Marathon – yeah it will be steep, technically tricky in places and at full marathon distance in the mountains it will feel like a bloody long way, but it should also provide plenty of highs – literally and metaphorically. I’m also looking forward to exploring that part of the world for a couple of days afterwards with my family.