Taking on 2 x 100 mile events over 2 consecutive weekends.
The NDW100 is a 103 mile trail run along the North Downs from Farnham in Surrey to Ashford in Kent. 80% of the course is on trails and takes in 3000m of ascent.
To see if my legs had recovered after the Lakeland 100, and if they were up for this challenge, I took on the Battersea Park 5km on the Monday, an event I discovered as I was travelling back down south on the Sunday. I managed 19m50s, which I was really pleased with, and this set me up well for the NDW100. I also went for a Thai massage beforehand, as I am a firm believer that massage aids the recovery after an event.
In preparation for this event, I had downloaded the .gpx route file to my watch and produced my own map on waterproof paper to assist me on this marked course. You can see a low-res version of the maps I used in the links at the bottom.
So, a week after Lakeland, I found myself on the start line of the Centurion NDW100. I was psyched up and felt in good shape to take this on. No pain killers this time. The challenge I set myself was to complete the course within the 30 hour cut-off, secretly hoping that I could still manage a sub 24h time. For those who achieve a sub 24h time, a special belt buckle is up for grabs.
Monday night 19m50s at the Battersea 5k.
The NDW100 event started at 6am on Saturday morning, and this is the Ultra that is local to my club, the Clapham Chasers. It was a calm, dry start with the sun breaking through the low level clouds. This time i didn’t get carried away by shooting off too quickly, and i found myself in about 28th position out of 230 at the first Checkpoint. It was an early transition to Ultra mode which saw me battling through the wall after about 14 miles. Once in my Ultra mode, I can just keep plodding on. By Box Hill, more fresh legged ultra runners had passed me, which saw me drop back to 40th position, but I felt OK and happy on the familiar territory of the Surrey Hills. One point I was looking forward to was the 38 mile feed station. This was being run by the Clapham Chasers and I knew I would get a good cheer there. They did not disappoint! In the warm sunshine, they saw me running up the hill towards them. I was greeted with the offer of ice-cream – a first for me in an ultra!
Clapham Chasers at Mile 38
I was well ahead of time at this point to finish within the 24h. I was still feeling good and kept going. At 15:00, 9 hour in, the sky became dark and there were rumbles of thunder. Then it started; a heavy downpour. Waterproofs on, the temperature dropped and the chalky surface under foot became slippery and muddy. Still, it is the same for everyone and you just have to crack on. I got to the 50 mile halfway CP in under 9h 30m which was pretty good going. That would put me on a 19h schedule with plenty in the bag to duck under the 24h.
You can’t plan too much for the 2nd half, as there was a second downpour, and this is also when the day becomes night and progress becomes tough. The cloudless sky allows the temperature to drop and the way is illuminated by a head torch. The sun was just setting as I reached 60 miles in 11h 50m and, to my delight, I bumped into another Chaser, Cat, who had been pacing Dale. A quick high 5 and the pic below, and I was soon on my way again.
At the 60 mile point
I managed to get to 70 miles before it got dark and was really starting to feel the strain. Tom, a Chaser who was at the 38 mile feed station earlier, was waiting at this point to meet me as support crew. I was so pleased to see him and to get my supplies restocked. I had not been feeling well and was struggling to keep food and fluid down. But it was head torches on and straight into an ascent. Once or twice, I had to break into a walk, and have harsh words with myself to keep going. The struggle really started from here.
It was a long lonely night ahead. We were allowed pacers to join us from 50 miles onwards, but I had not made such arrangements as i am 50/50 about the benefit of pacing. I had taken this challenge on myself and was unsure of the outcome because of my previous week’s activity, so to drag someone out overnight may have seemed a bit selfish. I also chose not to use the poles in this event. The trails were much smoother than the Lakeland, requiring less concentration on foot placement. This did find me falling over twice though as I may have been a little too complacent.
For the last 30 miles I was not able to hold my fluids down. Tom was great, having completed this event before, so he knew what I was going through, and he met me at another two locations before the 84 mile mark, before heading home as there were no more crewing points before the finish. I was calculating in my head the worst case scenario of resorting to a 20 mins per mile (3mph) walking pace and how long I could get away with this to still finish in under 24 hours. I was saying to myself that every step is a step closer to the finish and the more effort I put in now, the less pressure i will feel later on to get in under the 24 hours. As I arrived at the penultimate CP at 21h52m, with just 4.5 miles to the finish, I knew I had cracked it; 2 hours to do 4.5 miles. I cruised to the finish line on my own in a time of 23h04m12s in 30th position, and was so relieved. This had been a tough physical and mental challenge, but I had got the belt buckle, only 1 of 44 to do so!
Read the Centurion Race Report here.
James and Centurion Events put on great races, well organised and supported. Check out some of their other events Centurion Events.
Me with my finisher’s ‘Sub24 hour’ belt buckle.
The end of a 211 mile race week! Lakeland 100 – 105 miles, 6300m of ascent in 28h 51m; Battersea Park 5k in 19m 50s; NDW100 – 103 miles, 3000m of ascent, 23h 04m. That is equal to 8 Marathons over 8 days. Feeling very chuffed!
#NDW100 #centurionrunning #tri4all #ultrarunning
Running Pack – Salomon Adv Skin 12 Nh M-L
Poles – Leki Micro Trail PRO 2017 size 125 – Did not use
Torch – Silva Trail Runner II
Shorts – Blue Skins
Compression Calf Guards – CEP Yellow
Running Shorts – Blue 2003 London Marathon Shorts!
Clapham Chasers Running vest
Trainers – Brooks Adrenaline GTS 16 – Black Nightlife
Tri-Adventure Buff hat
Salt stick tablets
Fenix 3 watch
INOV-8 ATC ULTRA SHELL HZ RUNNING JACKET
INOV-8 ATC ULTRA RUNNING PANTS
Spare layer – Skins top and bottoms