Personal Best speed at this course level, I think – 57:44 for 9km, or 6.4 min/km. In fact, I can’t remember when I last (if ever) ran below 7 min/km in a non-sprint race, let alone below 6.5min/km. I’m very pleased about this result. Admittedly, Hatfield Forest is extremely flat, dry and fast. But I’ve definitely come on a long way from my last run here, last September. That was my season’s opening race and I made some big mistakes, and ran slow (>9mpk.)
Today, I definitely made a few mistakes (mainly bearing errors) but the area is so fast that even a big deviation can be corrected in a matter of seconds. I knew I was on to a good time when I glanced at my watch near the end and saw I’d only been out for 40 minutes. Still, the winner finished in under 50 minutes, and a lot of the very good runners will have been away from this event and up at the National event in the Lakes, or rather walking in the Lakes as the event has been cancelled up there due to snow. The weather down here was perfect – bone dry, sunny intervals and cool, but not cold.
Looking at the map, the first couple of controls were really near the area where I made a horrendous mistake back in September, so I slowed right down here – and still messed up the bearing on both, needing to relocate on the second one. 6 was bad, I got confused about a patch of forest, and again had a bad bearing. Poor distance judgement at 7. My route choice to 21 was lazy and slow (but safe – Hatfield Forest contains plenty of green grot.) Another bearing error at 24. None of the above mistakes cost me more than 30 seconds apart from maybe No. 2. All in all, pretty clean.