Leeds Spring Challenge

2 hour challenge

Sunday was my first of what I hope is many longer distance races. I’ve only ever run over 2 hours on 3 occasions and only 1 has ever gone well and that was the St.Valentines Day 30K back in Feb 2017. The other two have been my marathons. Neither went to plan and the marathon is like an itch that won’t stop itching. I’m proud of all my times at everything up to 30k. Yet my marathon time is piss poor when compared to them. I know what I lack and that’s what I’m working on now. The aim as I’ve mentioned before is to build up a good endurance base.

Having done and won the Elvington Flyer I loved the whole See York Run York running ethos. I had wanted to do their Bloodaxe Challenge in Feb but wasn’t ready to return to racing so this event was a replacement for it. It was a simple concept, run as many laps as you wanted in 2 hours. Going into it, I had a simple goal and that was to run as many laps as possible. I had no idea who I would be up against, so my simple target was sub 6:30 per mile pace over the 2 hours. (This is 2:50 marathon pace). I knew the course having raced the Leeds Event Splits 5K a number of times. I knew there would be a climb every lap followed by a downhill. I knew no matter what that hill would take its toll in the 2nd hours. So I split my race in two. A strong fast first half and a smart second half. Originally my aim was sub 6:20 average first half then see how the race went from there.

We arrived in plenty of time and family came prepared with fold out chairs. We had a plan to take on fuel every 4 laps and then a drink as and when I called for it. I wore a base layer and I nearly took it off before the start but glad I kept it on as kept my body temperature at a comfortable level. The organisers decided to do the reserve route so we raced the opposite way. The hill was shorter but sharper and the downhill was a more gradual sweeping right hander. I think over a 5k the opposite way is defo faster but I was thankful of the different way, although in the second half the downhill hurt on the quads.

The race started at 11 and I set off hard just to see who came with me. One runner from Knaresborough Striders was on my shoulder. On the bottom loop I let him come along side me as the pace would have been suicidal had I tried to sustain it! I asked him was he doing the full race and he said he was just aiming for 6 laps. So I let him go and settled into a more controlled pace. After the first lap I relaxed into it and kept communicating with Sarah on the way past. The first mile was 5:54. Silly start but no damage done. As I was soon lapping runners, I wasn’t running the tangents so my splits varied depending on where the hill was. Main thing I was pacing well for first half with only a couple of seconds on it.

By 9 miles I had lapped the entire field and then became a goal to see who I could catch again. I was also enjoying chatting and encouraging others as I passed. Likewise the support I got from others was amazing. Certainly in the back end of the race, everyone was pushing me to do more laps. It was incredible. I hit 10 laps (I had run further then 10 miles due to weaving) in 63 mins. Aim was then to get a 25km PB which I did in 1:41:12.

Everything was going smooth till lap 14 and had stomach ache. So as I crossed the line to start my 15th lap I had to divert to the loo. However, that meant leaving the track and running into the building, through 3 doors to the toilet. Then running back. I ran back up. Got my bearings checked with the time keeper with laps and lead and set off again. I built back into the 15th lap and then got back into the groove. On the gun time it cost me 4 minutes but on watch it had paused. I just kept the final 4 laps smart running laps in around 6:50 on watch, I knew I had two big weekends coming up and also I had smashed my minimum target of 15 laps and would cover 18 laps. Had I not stopped I would have probably still only done one more. However, I was super chuffed with my performance.

So many positives to take from the race. I also know where works required. Defo need to slow it down in first half and run a more even race. I felt good up to 15 miles and then I really had to work the final 20 minutes. However it’s the furthest I’ve run since my last marathon over 2 years ago. This is where my endurance training and the SVN events will help as I can run for as long as I can for 6 hours. With my next SVN event Sunday I will be sticking to a slower pace and only doing 3 laps so I’m fresh to have a good race at Chester HM later this month.

In the end I managed to lap the entire field at least 3 times, for me though I could not have done those last few laps without the support from my fellow runners who pushed and encouraged me all the way. Same for Sarah, she was awesome on Sunday for me. Making sure I was OK, passing me fuel etc when needed. Allowed me to just race hard.

A massive thanks to See York Run York team and highly recommend giving their events a go.

Race Stats

  • Position: 1st
  • Time: 2:02:01
  • Strava Record
  • Kit Used: Xempo Vest, Adidas Base Layer, Arsuxeo 2in1 shorts, Sockimine Black Griplock Lightweight socks, ND:R Sunglasses

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One Comment

  1. Another race, another race win 🙂 Proud is an understatement of how I feel when you cross that finish line. Obviously nothing will compare to your first race win as that was such a special moment, but for me each race win just proves how far you have come.
    I remember thinking on your very first race win will this be it now, no more race wins? but boy how wrong I was, and for once I am so glad I was wrong. You are an incredible runner and each race win, just shows that all those early mornings and racing stupid distances pay off, myself and Molly are incredibly proud of you and love supporting you.

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