The May Hill Massacre. An eight and a half mile multi-terrain race with about 1,600ft of ascent. Thanks to the organiser for another well executed race and well done to all the marshalls - there were many of them. Conditions under foot were slightly worse than last year - or better if you are of the muddier the better persuasion - each to there own. The muddy spots weren't really any more muddy than last year, it was just that some of the places that were firm-ish last year were less so this year - all adds to the fun.
Anyway, I decided to really push the envelope today and go off hard. I got up the first climb feeling strong. I traded places with a few runners but then the race settled. It was tougher going up the second climb but I just plugged away before appearing at the top of May Hill. I was running with a few others at this point and we were all working hard to make some space between us and those behind. Then we hit the first downhill section on reasonably firm ground - I struggled and lost ground on the group and got overtaken by another couple - doh.
By about half way the race had really settled and I just tried to stay focused on the group of runners ahead. I was being reeled in by a lone runner throughout the next two miles along flattish but muddy paths but he never quite got to me. At six miles we hit the final climb as the course headed back up towards May Hill. I decided it was now or never for the runner just ahead, whom, from hence forth, shall be known as purple top, and put in my final push for victory - well, not exactly victory, more one place better than I was at that point - but it felt like is was a push for victory.
Last year I had to stop on the final hill but this year I went all the way - stop it - and powered my way to the top brushing aside the challenge from the chasing pack - for sure, as twas written in the prophecy, a small pack had formed, baying for my blood and I can report, I managed to overtake purple top. He was faster than me on the flat and downhill so I knew I had to break him and make a big gap. I powered and powered, up and up until I could power no more but fortunately for me I had done the damaged and held the gap to the finish.
My time was 1:03:55 which is actually 12s slower than last year but the route this year had a small but definitely significant addition in the first two miles. A small extra loopy bit - for want of a better expression - was included after the first climb. We definitely didn't do that last year, in all I guess it was about 400m but in the mud it's got to be worth at least 90s if not two minutes. So really I improved by at least a minute if not closer to two. Position wise I think - and this is only very very rough - I was 11th but that may turn out to be 12th or 13th or 14th or... I'll stop now - official results required me thinks.
Last year I was 13th but it seemed to be a stronger field this year, if my estimated position proves true I will be very pleased - and even if it doesn't I shall still be very pleased because using the standard distance to time ratio calculations I was quicker this year in light of the longer course - what am I babbling on about? I shall shut up now.
On a final note, well done to Helen F for first place in the women's race after a bit of a battle. She managed to overhaul the leader after the summit but had to work hard all the way, finishing just 12s ahead.
Thought for the day: Dreams are today's answers to tomorrow's questions.