Wednesday 25 July 2012

Kilmaurs Gala 5k

Garmin track

My first 5k race since 7th January, 2 days before Benjamin arrived, when I posted my slowest ever 5k with 18:00 at Pollok Parkrun.

Since I hadn't been doing any fast running (or any running) lately, my main aim was to enjoy the race and hopefully sneak in under 18 minutes.
Kilmaurs 5k Startline - last minute instructions from Dave Mitchell
There weren't too many speedy looking runners on the startline, but even so I quickly find myself back in about 7th place once the race started. Iain Connell leapt into the lead as the whistle went, as we had 2 laps of the greasy muddy track of Morton Park before launching off around some parkland with some hilly trail and sharp corners.

I made up 3 places before leaving the track, and was soon passed by Keith Haining, also of Kilmarnock Harriers.  Once we headed out onto the A735 Kilmaurs Road, the order was Robert Gilroy in the lead being closely chased by Iain Connell, then gaps to Roger Naughton, Keith Haining and myself in 5th.

I thought I was fairly comfortable plodding along in 5th place, but just as we passed the 3km marker I could hear a mixture of breathing on my shoulder. We were climbing uphill at this stage, and I didn't want to suddenly make any extra effort. As the road levelled off, we had a sharp left turn where Kara Tait and Ian Hughes went past.  I thought I could easily just track them, and didn't respond just yet.

Following Kara Tait, Ian Hughes and George Irving
Just before turning back onto the track
 Just as we turned back towards Morton Park, George Irving of Irvine also went past, so as we turned onto the track for the final 400 metres, I had 3 runners just in front. I wasn't quite sure how much effort to make in getting past, but with 300 metres to go I made a move and jumped past George, which also carried me past Kara, and I only had Ian to chase down, who I didn't quite catch.

My time was around 17:48, so was pleased to comfortably scrape inside my target time of 18:00, on a reasonably hilly twisty course.

Monday 23 July 2012

Kentmere Horseshoe

Results | Garmin Track

This was my first attempt at running or racing for just over 6 weeks, what with various things like hiking across the Alps and helping to look after Benjamin.

The route follows a clockwise loop of Kentmere, and has 3 checkpoints: Ill Bell, High Street and Kentmere Pike.
Kentmere Horseshoe Route
I'd only run this race once before, and that was way back in 2003 when I managed 1:45:02 for 10th place.

I didn't have much idea what to expect this time, so set off pretty slowly and steadily.

Kentmere start
Once up on the ridge towards Ill Bell it was pretty windy and grey, and just before Thornwaite Crag we were into the mist and I lost sight of the runners ahead, or at least I thought I saw them disappearing off in the wrong direction.  I hesitated for a moment which was enough for Ross Litherland to catch me, who I'd last see in Nepal nearly 3 years ago on the hike out to Jiri.  Anyhow, Ross seemed confident of the route so we ran more or less together to High Street.

Once descending to Nan Bield Pass it started getting ridiculously windy, making it really difficult to balance and remain upright. Somehow Ross and Richard Snowden of Totley suddenly seemed to have made a gap on me, and I was struggling to keep them in my sights. I tried to track them along to Kentmere Pike, but once I reached the final summit they were long gone, and I had nobody to chase.

I had no recollection of the final descent, but had a vague idea you needed to branch off rightwards, however I branched far too soon when I should have been running down the obvious path alongside the wall. However I still reached the stile at the fell wall before anyone caught me, despite faffing around and looking over my shoulder.  Shortly afterwards the track became horribly rocky, and groups of runners came swarming past, including Dave Armstrong and Chris Reade who must have got lost in the mist, since they had been in front earlier.

Anyhow, I somehow seemed to entirely run out of strength and coordination on the final bit of descent, and managed to lose 10 places in the space of about a minute which was slightly annoying, but I couldn't make my feet move any faster.  The only place I regained was by passing Chris Reade again in the final few metres just before dropping back into the finishing field.

My time was 1:53:18 for 25th place.

Mark Roberts of Borrowdale, now a V50, won the race in 1:39:00 which was pretty impressive given that it was quite possibly the windiest race I've ever done.

Friday 20 July 2012

Across the Alps in 15 Days

I am recently back from hiking across the French Alps in 15 days. My route followed the GR5 most of the way, starting at St Gingolph at Lac Leman (Lake Geneva). I did however use 3 variants which took in some wilder, more rugged landscape. These were the GR55 through the Vanoise, the GR5B variant between Col de l'Echelle and Briancon, and the GR52 through the Mercantour national park, to finish at Menton.

When I get round to it, I'll blog the trip in more detail here:

The approx. stats were 630km with 33,000 metres of ascent, making this trip the most ground I've covered in a 2-week period on foot, generally managing around 45km and 2,400m ascent each day.

View GR5 in a larger map