I’m not sure the text book of ‘peak performance’ will tell you to run 80 miles in the 6 days before a race, but the opportunity to run the classic Cannock Chase Trig Points race on Sunday seemed too good to miss, so after noticing it in the FRA calendar on Saturday morning (after a 10 miler) I decided to give it a whirl.
The format of the race seems to fit perfectly with the time of year - rolling runnable hills on most well formed tracks and trails - making it not too severe and a great interval training race. Well that’s how I approached it anyway.
Conditions were surprisingly good, much milder than it's been of late, albeit fairly windy on the exposed tops. As expected a couple of guys went blasting off from the start, but I happily settled in with a group further back, reassured to have others with route knowledge around me. I honestly don’t have a clue when it comes to navigation and Cannock Chase area, it was the first time I’d step foot in the area, so I was really in the hands of the goods, or should I say the lad from Mercia Fell Runners who in our group and seem to know all the quick lines. The most part of the route followed the main tracks across the chase, but there were also plenty of the usual cut throughs and fast lines which give added excitement to the fell races (and get the adrenaline going when you go wrong).
I stuck with the group of five or so runners for most of the race. I don’t think I was the only one in the group benefiting from the Mercia FR guide. Despite plenty of mileage during the week I felt pretty strong throughout the race, and probably ran a bit within myself during the second half, but the risk of going astray if I had pushed on was high, and one not really worth taking. It inevitably came to crunch time on the descent from the final trig point – when we all knew where we were going - and the group split by means of an all out sprint down to the finish. I think got a bit caught off guard with it all, but managed to wind it up sufficiently to make 5th place in a time of 1h48mins. I was fairly pleased all things considered.
I have to say that in terms of enjoyment it was up there with the best. No pressure, a great bunch of competitors and well organised race. Looking forward to next year’s race already.
- Jez Bragg
- Welcome to my blog which I hope to develop with some interesting material on ultra running both on the trails and road including reports on races and interesting training runs, views on kit and equipment as well as anything else I find of interest. I love running for adventure, opportunity and well being. Enjoy!