I'd chosen this race towards the end of last year. I was casting around for a trail marathon that met the criteria and this one did the job. It was 4 loops of a 10k trail with a bit extra added on and I'd not done a looped race before, and there was a concurrent 10k for Ian to run so he didn't have to wait around for me all day. What's not to love?
The night before I was diligently reading the race briefing (always a good idea in case there's some weird bit of mandatory kit/critical instruction that had previously gone unnoticed) when I discovered that there was also a concurrent 60k ultra marathon (6 loops of the circuit) and you could upgrade on the day. Few races allow this and I've been doing A LOT of running lately. I also have a couple of low(er) mileage weekends coming up. Hmm. Hmm. I text my coach. He replies, "I think yes, go for it. Obvs slower pace through and walk the hills. DRINK lots as it's gonna be warm and make sure you eat every 30mins". I'm excited. We drive to Nottingham the night before and eat the obligatory pasta for dinner then get an early night.
We arrive bright and early at 8am, get myself a nice new ultra race number, had a delicious expresso and a quick loo trip and then it's time to set off at 8.30am:
The second circuit was the hardest as it felt like there was still a long way to go. My shorts were chafing as this was the first time I'd worn them this year (!) so I decided I'd have to change into leggings, which luckily I'd brought with me along with a change of shoes just in case. Ian rang me when I was about 15k in and kindly fetched my spare kit from the car and met me when I finished my second loop. I proceeded to remove my shorts in front of a few hundred spectators as I didn't want to lose too much time by going to the toilet (oh dear). Hopefully I didn't traumatise too many small children. I also switched from trail shoes to road shoes as the trail was quite hard and rocky which turned out to be a great decision. My road shoes felt like slippers!
Curley Photography for these), you'll notice this report has about a billion more pictures than usual for this reason!
Here I am at the finish, representing my lovely new running club Penny Lane Striders:
And here's some nice juicy stats:
Actual time: 6:56 (Garmin was a bit shorter as I hadn't switched off auto-pause).
Definitely a race I'd recommend, with 5k, 10k, half, mara and ultra mara distances, on the day entry and really beautifully organised and marshalled.