Race report – XNRG – Pilgrim Challenge 66 miles (2 day).
What an awesome event. http://www.xnrg.co.uk
The North Downs Way is one of the 15 National Trails in England and Wales and they are special because they pass through some of the best landscapes, and they are managed to a very high standard – of course this does not mean they can do anything about the bogs (which rivalled any of the Endurancelife challenges along the coast on a wet day).
The route goes from Farnham to Mersham and then back to Farnham on the second day, covering 33 miles each. The actual NWD is a lot longer but i think they captured a great section with very varied terrain.
Normally I do not spend much time on the writing bit of a blog as most of my effort is spent taking pictures on the trails. This weekend however was hilarious for two reasons and the second is why there are no pictures taken on Mersham to Farnham return leg (and not many on day 1).
– I set off at 9am with the ‘runners’ mass start, somewhere around 170ish people. At checkpoint 4 I was told I was in the lead – and it turned out I was, but I took it literally and was not aware until I finished that there was an ‘elite runner’ start at 10am. I did think it was odd i was in first, i’d not seen the line up either otherwise it would have been bloody obvious as there were some absolute legends running. So on day one I was 21st overall in 5hr 25. The winner, Robbie Briton, finished in 3hr 54 (or thereabouts). Legend.
– Day two came and they upgraded me to the elite start and there were only about 20 runners in this category, not wanting to suddenly be at the back of the pack I had to ditch all ideas of meandering round having fun and switched to race mode. I ended up finished in 5hr 28 which i’m stocked with.
Ran with a couple of top guys over the weekend, day 2 I had a massive wobble at mile 24 and my fast run was over. I know why of course and here’s a good tip, if you are ever having a good time running and chatting with another runner trying to keep up for 10 miles, ask their half mara time. Nick’s was 1hr 18, which instantly led me to a conclusion I was running with some one way over my skill set! …and sure enough the bonk hit me at mile 22. I did my best to the finish (not sure of position yet, think about 10th overall).
Here are some of the conditions and trails/ views. It’s hard in some ways to get excited about the views when considering some of the mountain races I do abroad, but there is something awesome about the English countryside.