Compton 40 miles, 23/4/2011

Well this was my first “proper” ultra (Grantham was only 29 miles). Naiively I had thought 8 hours might be a sensible target time, but the course and sun handed me my arse on a plate and I finished in 9:14. The picture shows me finishing… I was keen to finish and the very last bit of the course is downhill! I can assure you I was a lot slower for the rest of the race.

Now I don’t like trail races because I always fall over, and, guess what, I did this time too, but the course really is very pretty indeed. I commend it to those who don’t have to look where their feet are going! The odd thing, as someone who is vaguely local, was that every so often I would pop out of a footpath and recognise where I was. At one point I was shuffling along in an open field in the midday sun on my own feeling rather down and then the familiar outline of Didcot Power Station hove into view over the hill. I could have hugged it if it hadn’t been five miles away!

Saw Anna of course (at the start, durrr) and we compared Torq gel flavours… she had some “rhubarb and custard” flavour! Yes it is vegan… as are prawn cocktail crisps, which were very welcome at the checkpoints… along with fruit and salted peanuts.
If you guys remember, Anna did her 100th marathon at Compton last year; she’s done a few more since. So when a chap from the 100 marathon club said he’d seen the VRUK vest before I said, “Oh must be Anna”. No, he said, Anna he knew, but this was some other girl, at Eindhoven a couple of years ago…

“That was me!”, I said, “I remember! Are you Warren?” (He was).
How nice to meet someone else who can’t remember faces either! That’s been one of the really enjoyable parts of training for Comrades… bumping into old faces from old races and making new friends at new ones. But this has been my last race before the big C (well apart from the Marlow 5). It’s all tapering now…