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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!

Monday, 21 May 2012

The North Face 105, Blue Mountains, Australia

Saturday's race was, well, errrrrr, pretty eventful to say the least. Disappointing, unfortunate, darn unlucky - all those sorts of words come to mind. I ran fairly conservatively for the first leg through to CP1. I figured that was the sensible approach given I had only raced three weeks beforehand, I had travelled half way round the world to get to the race with limited time to deal with the jet lag, and it's kinda my style anyway. On the fast fire road out of CP1 I was really feeling good and starting to settle in and find a good pace. I was running with a young guy, Ben from Brisbane, and we pulled each other along nicely. At the ladders and single track descent off the end of Narrow Neck we were starting to pick guys off and move through the field towards the leaders - the first of many casualities from the fast pace early on.

But that's where disaster struck. A chain of 5 or 6 runners - including me - all running within sight of each other, completely missed a turn off down to CP 2, Dunphy's Camp. The course markings had all been taken down - no arrows, crosses, pink tape or anything else which had been used so thoroughly elsewhere. It turns out the vandals had been out and cleared a whole section of markings, and we were the first runners without course knowledge to suffer. We continued on an undulating vehicle track for quite some while before realising there was something seriously amiss. Looking at the splits, I believe it was a mistake worth over 30mins (5kms+), possibly a bit more given that I was running hard out of CP1. So I went from being within striking distance of the leaders to about 25th position at CP2, and completely out of the sharp end of the race. Gutted.

I decided to press on and finish the race to the best of my ability, and see if I could record some decent split times to at least demonstrate the sort of time I should have recorded! I was pleased with my splits from CP2 to 3, 3 to 4, 4 to 5, which were all ranked 2-4 overall. But obviously running in a time trial format without anyone to actually race, it is still hard to really compare. I hoped to claw myself back into the top 5, but I only managed to make 7th, albeit overtaking plenty of top guys who hadn't taken a detour.

The TNF100 race itself is an absolute cracker, and worthy of much more detail than this, so I will post a more detailed write up in due course, once back in the UK later this week. My Fellsman write up is also overdue - it just needs a little tidying up which I will get round to very soon.

Thanks to everyone back home for all the support.