Sunday, 30 June 2013

Western States 2013 - Live

So, being the incredibly cool guy that I am, I am currently spending my Saturday night watching the Western States Endurance Run unfold live overnight with a cold cider. Because I'm just the coolest, I have been playing around with the times to see what the field looks like to get an idea of who might take the win. Yeah.

As it stands, 6 runners have gone through 70 miles (Peachstone), in the following order:

Timothy Olson 10:43
Rob Krar 10:56
Mike Morton 10:58
Dylan Bowman 11:09
Ian Sharman 11:10
Nick Clark 11:22

Timmy Olson has held the lead for most of the race, but Rob Krar has been hot on his heels, Mike Morton has been edging his way up the field, and the rest of the chasing pack are not far behind. The heat is immense in California at the moment, so the question is; who's going to blow first? Can Timmy hold on until the end, or will Mike's pacing win the day?

This is a figure showing the speed between each checkpoint up to Peachstone for each of the 6 runners in the lead pack. Hal Koerner was in there as well, but something seems to have happened to him since Foresthill. I hope everything's okay. Anyway, take a look and see what you think.
My interpretations are as follows:

  1. Timmy has been running incredibly strong so far and has built up a great lead. Of course now we need to see if he can hold this amazing pace.
  2. The pace of these 6 runners has been fairly consistent, but in the last 20 miles we have really seen the differences start to creep in
  3. Mike's pacing may well be the clincher here - he started off as the slower runner, but now his pace seems to be the fastest. He's slowly creeped up the field, and now is able to hold his pace whilst others are dropping theirs.
  4. Similarly, Rob is running at a fantastic pace and could hold this to the end now. 
  5. Top 5 for Brit Ian Sharman? Go Ian!

As we enter the final 30 miles, the real race begins. Now we see if people have set off too fast, or if the hot weather is going to affect things. My money is on Mike Morton coming through in the final hours as Timothy's pace slips. But I could be completely wrong, and we might see another epic finish from Olson! In particular, will he pick up the pace when Morton and Krar attack? Let's see!

It's looking like we will be seeing a podium of Timmy, Rob and Mike, but as to the order; I couldn't say. Whatever happens, I look forward to seeing the results. Maybe we'll see a sprint finish at the Placer High School track?!

Good luck guys!

Hal has now been updated as being in 7th through Peachstone. Not sure what happened, but his pace has dropped dramatically on the last section. Also, Olson, Krar and Morton are through the Rucky Chucky river crossing. Olson is still 10 minutes up.

Monday, 17 June 2013

South Downs Way 100 Miler 2013 Race Report

Aw bollocks (spoiler alert...).

Well okay, that didn't quite go to plan. The Centurion Running South Downs Way had always been my focus race for the year, as I had a target time to beat from last year that I felt was ripe for smashing (with a bit of focussed training). And if you had asked me 6 weeks ago how I felt, I would have been incredibly positive. My pace was increasing, my legs felt strong, the training was going well (despite the arrival of my little angel Lottie), and with several particularly long distance races under my belt I was confident in my endurance. In addition, my kit choice and nutrition were proving to be robust, and in particular a recurring stomach problem which slowed me down last year seemed to be under control. 
Beautiful weather for a run! Are you sure this a Centurion Running event?!
Then Transvulcania happened. I had a bit of an issue with cramping in my calves, something that I think may have been lying dormant for a while and only really showed up by running up a volcano. I really don't get any practice at that - there are very few volcanoes in Cambridge.

Friday, 7 June 2013

Putting it all on the line

In just over a week, I will be lining up at the start of the Centurion Running South Downs Way 100 mile race, following the National Trail from Winchester through the South Downs down to Eastbourne. This race holds somewhat of a special place for me, as it was the first proper ultra race that I did way back in the distant summer of 2011. It went quite well and I managed to come 5th in 22:10. Not too shabby for my first 100 miler.

The following year, the race was absorbed into the race calendar of Centurion Running by James Elson, who made a few changes including switching the direction to run West to East (so we could get blown along by the Westerly wind for a nice easy run), avoiding the cliffs and the Seven Sisters at the Eastbourne end (hundreds of fatigued runners piling off a cliff like lemmings probably wouldn't be a great advert for future events), and adding in more aid stations along the way. I ran the updated race last year and smashed my PB, finishing 2nd in 17:23. This year, I will be lining up again to try and smash that time again, and maybe even improve on that position as well. 

Now I'm no statistician (oh wait), but based on the last two years it's looking good for a world record...

Stats don't lie. Statisticians on the other hand... Fox News would be proud.