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Sunday 17 March 2019

Notts 20 Mud Fest

This morning L and go our separate race ways. She hops on the Red Arrow and then the Comet on her way up to the Kilburn Kilometres 10K. You’d think that the run would be a doddle after the transport arrangements but she says it was brutal with knee deep mud and loads of stiles to climb over. It took her 1 hour 24 minutes but naturally she loved it.

It sounds surprisingly like my race where there no stiles but still plenty of mud. Which wasn’t what I was expecting from the new Notts 20 Road Race.

I drive over to Holme Pierrepont nice and early which was a very good plan as the car park soon fills up. Parking anarchy breaks out with people abandoning their cars all over the place and it becomes apparent that they probably aren’t going to get 800 runners’ cars in but somehow everyone parks somewhere.

This is the first running of the race so there are going to be a few teething problems and that’s one for attention next year.

Practically everybody was doing this 20 miler to prepare for a marathon, so all the chat was about which one you were doing. Were you lucky enough to have got into London or were you doing Brighton or Manchester? Many were doing more than one of these.

The route consisted of two different loops out from the National Water Sports Centre. The first one of around 13 miles took us out through Radcliffe-on-Trent and Shelford. Then the second, of the remaining seven miles, took us out along the riverbank to the Victoria Embankment and back. The first part seemed to contain large chunks of the Outlaw bike course along with the legendary Adbolton Lane potholes while the second part seemed to contain large chunks of the Outlaw run course. So you could say it was all very familiar to me.

What I didn’t expect was that so much of it would be off road, around about two-thirds perhaps, and because the weather hadn’t been great of late, several sections of the course had turned in to either mini lakes or mud baths. It almost warranted trail shoes.

The last section along the riverbank was particularly grim with its puddles, mud and very narrow path. Which wasn’t the best choice for a race in March.

The other thing that made it a lot harder was the lack of miles markers. There were not at all. Apparently the organisers took the decision to take them down as they were in danger of becoming low flying missiles in the wind. Unfortunately, this looked a bit over the top with the wind having dropped considerably by race time. So once again I was wishing I had brought my GPS watch but we all ended up using the water stations, which were placed every three miles, as markers.

Anyhow it all went well in the end and it was all very well organised despite the less than perfect route. I was aiming to break three hours which I knew I was on to when I saw the three hour pacer behind me as we did an out and back section on the Embankment with around two miles to go.

I came home in 02:55:51 to claim a fairly naff medal but a very nice t-shirt.

(Sunday 17th March)

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