One of the racing tips that I’ve picked up over the New Year is that you should tell everyone what races you’ve entered, that way there will be more chance that you’ll succeed.
Another slightly random tip is when you’re on a long run, count down the miles to go rather than the miles you’ve done.
“Only 5km to go, that’s parkrun, I can do that.”
This is a run down of my four main races (events) for 2020. I’m sure that I will enter a few more, but these are the ones that I’m focusing on and training for.
I mention the psychological tip because I’ve entered a couple of ‘big’ races. First up in the middle of April is the Oldham Way Ultra (OWU). 40 miles of trails, canals, woodlands, tracks and plenty of hills. As with many people contemplating ultra running my fear is getting lost. One of my two previous ‘longer than marathon’ races was a multi-lap race back and forth across the Humber Bridge, aptly name Hell on the Humber. Last year I completed the 50km Canalathon, which involved running from Manchester to Sowerby Bridge along the Rochdale Canal (Read about it here). Virtually impossible to get lost. The OWU promises to have a fully marked route, plenty of feed stations and live GPS tracking. There is a 13 hour cut-off with an 11 hour cut-off at the feed station at 33 miles. My aim is just to finish, preferably under 10 hours, as there are a lot of hills.
My second main race was a birthday present from my amazing wife, who has also entered. It’s the Castle to Coast Triathlon, a point to point middle distance race. It starts with a 1.2 mile swim in Dorney Lake, Windsor. The bike leg is 67 miles from Windsor Castle to the foot of Ditchling Beacon. The run is 13 miles over Ditchling Beacon and down to the coast, finishing in Brighton. Me and my wife love quirky events and we are both incredibly excited for this race. The last time that I undertook a middle distance triathlon was back in 1998 at Ironbridge in Shropshire and I’ve never done an official M-Dot Half Ironman (and I won’t be doing one in 2020).
The Lake District has loads of organised swimming events every year, over all distances. I had thought about the 10 mile Windermere One Way, but with all of the running that I’ll be doing this year I doubted that I would manage to find the time to train for it. I have instead entered Coniston one way. A shorter event at ‘only’ 5.25 miles. Helen was also looking at this event, but she will be supporting me here as I will be supporting her on her ‘big’ swim at Bala earlier in the year. I am a tad jealous as the Bala swim involves a steam train ride to the start.
Last and not least, and probably the craziest race that I’ve ever entered is the Panther takes the hindmost (elimination ultra marathon), organised by Punk Panther Ultra marathon Events. This is in a similar vein to the increasingly popular Last Man (Person) Standing races. I say ‘person’ as the 2019 winner of the original race was Maggie Guteral completing 250 miles. There are two Last Man Standing Races in the UK; one in February in Northern Island and the other all the way in the south in Essex. The Essex race clashes with Helen’s Bala swim, so it was an easy decision (especially as Helen will ride on a steam train). One day I would like to have a go at a Last Man Standing race just to see if I could make it to 24 hours (100 miles).
The Panther takes the hindmost race is held on a 10.5km loop and starting at 9.30am four laps have to be completed. At 3.30pm the elimination begins, with the person in last place being eliminated every half lap, until there is only one. In reality more than one person drops out each half lap. Last year the 2nd and 3rd place runners both dropped out at 8 and a half laps. The winner continued and completed 10 full laps (just over 100km). I have no idea how I will fair. As the OWU is 40 miles (64km), I would like to go just a little bit further. My target is therefore 6 and a half laps, anything beyond that will be a bonus.
I am slightly scared about the two ultra events, although I do plan on increasing my running, both distance and frequency, as well as plenty more off-road running. In anticipation today I purchased a new pair of trail shoes. New running shoes are always exciting.
What races have you entered for 2020?