Monday, 7 November 2011

Brentwood Running Festival

I need to do more hill training!
I need to do more hill training!
I need to do more hill training!

Yesterday I returned to UK marathon running with the Brentwood Running Festival - 12 laps of a woodland course through Weald Country Park in Essex.  This one was organised by the excelled Go Beyond Ultra team with a deceptively tough, hourglass shaped course (it looks like a figure of eight but doesn't cross in the middle).  The centre was at the bottom of a mini valley and each lap had two steady climbs and descents.

This is a great course to relax and enjoy the scenery, starting off around the edge of a wide grassy field, followed by a short, sharp drop down towards the lake, then running alongside the lake before crossing the centre of the "8" for the long, long drag uphill, still on grass.  Here the course turns into the woods for a great flat and then long, flowing downhill twisting through the trees.  Great for picking up some speed and recovering from the ascent.

The first half flew past, with me clocking steady 19.5 - 20 minute laps until the eighth lap, where on the two hills I was walking for longer and longer each lap.  I wasn't the only one, most runners were by this point, but it really highlighted that I need to do more hill training.  Lap times tailed off for the last few laps and I was down to about 23 minutes for the final two laps, but hugely pleased with finishing in 4:13:13.  Not bad with the hills and with not having run longer than a half marathon (Auckland) in the last year, and rarely running longer than an hour apart from that.

See the official Go Beyond race report and results for more.

This one was something of a milestone for me, being my 25th marathon.  Only 75 to go and the next one, two and three should all be this weekend in the XNRG Druid Challenge.  What have I let myself in for...