My race was a 14.2 km [9 mile] climb up a 1350 metre [1 mile approx.] mountain!
The day dawned bright and sunny to welcome a small but talented and competitive group of runners. Others might come up with different terms, [mad] has been used before.
There were only 15 hardy souls in the 35+ years masters race who also ran with the younger open men!
In preparation for the race I put on my race number, massaged my legs and had a jog over the first part of the course as my warm up.
From the start the fast open men took off with amongst them my main rival Graeme Pearson who has been a World Title Holder in cycling and duathlons. I knew that pace was too fast for me with a massive climb ahead. I settled in to 16th place and steadily passed other runners moving in to 12 th place by the start of the main climb. At this point I was with Pat Meffan who I have competed with and against in New Zealand and World Mountain Running Championships over the last 10 years. I haven't beaten Pat for 5 years though have been close a number of times.
As I matched strides with Pat I was feeling quietly optimistic as I felt I was finding the pace more comfortable than he was. After about 4 km I started to put the pressure on and pull away from Pat. Pat is a fantastic climber and the toughest parts of the course are in the second half so I knew I would have to sustain my pace consistently to the top of the summit.
As I pulled away I started to see more runners ahead and over the next few kms I had worked my way up to 8th place but more importantly 2nd Masters Man with Graeme still ahead though out of sight.
On reaching the summit and end of the race I felt relieved and mighty pleased with myself. I had ran quicker than 2 years ago, beaten Pat by 4 minutes [who had beaten me last time by 3 minutes] and was only 1:30 behind Graeme [3 minutes behind him 2 years ago].
A hot cup of tea and a sausage in bread awaited us at the finish.
It had clouded over at the top and become a bit cooler.
The 4 Wheel Drive Vehicles transporting us down were most welcome as we took in the stunning views that we hadn't had the appreciation of on the way up.
The prize giving was held after a splendid afternoon tea. Medals were presented by Jonathan Wyatt who is a multi World Champion in Mountain Running. I have had the good fortune to compete with him in 2 World Championships.
|That's me in the middle with Pat on the right|
|Shaking hands with Jono before receiving my medal|
Will give a further report in my next post!