The British Elite Middle-Distance Championships – as the elites were running the same class as everyone else, I decided to enter elite – and was promptly seeded last. This meant I started first, so had the whole forest to myself. I pushed myself hard, as I was determined not be overtaken by the presumably faster runners behind me.
The only other runner I saw was my two-minute man from 2 to 3 as I was going from 4 to 5. This spurred me to go even faster, although looking back, this person would have already dropped some time compared with me. Apart from that, the forest was silent, and I was first back, so was (briefly) 1st in M21E – out of 1. 😉
To #1 was a nice downhill run – I really like downhill starts! To #2, the best route was clearly through a field. I spent a good 15 seconds checking to see if it was out of bounds, before going for it. To #3, my route choice was indirect and unorthodox, but I don’t think I lost time. #4 should have been easy but I spent a good while on another knoll just 10m away, somehow failing to spot the red and white kite in a sea of green (there was a lot of undergrowth on this map!) #5 was my biggest mistake – saw the other runner and lost concentration in a highly detailed area, so overshot and had to clamber back up a steep bank.
#9 was an interesting spectator control – just after a low tunnel under a road, with spectators high above you. [Thanks to owls-count for the photo!] #11 was the only long leg on the course – no problems here for me, but others suffered. To #14 I misread light-green as dark green, so diverted around it and got stuck in undergrowth – then, due to the map being vague, came around the edge of the light green too far. The approach to #16 was tricky as there were unmarked paths in the haze of vegetation. #17 was in another complex area and you had to be right on top of the control, to see it (it was in a ditch.)
I had had a good run up to this point, but started to tire fast, especially as #18 and #19 were both up steep hills – so I tended to go round paths to these controls, rather than going direct uphill through the brashings. And finally, #20 and the finish was a sprint.
All in all, a good race for me, although physically tough due to the almost continual brashings on the ground. When I left the event, I was 22nd out of 29 elites – but once the regular runners are added in, I am confident of ending up in the top half, which is a good result for me. Less than 5 minutes wasted with mistakes, and running fast for most of the race – now I just need the stamina to be able to run the whole way around.
Leg 5: Distracted
Leg 14: Poor route choice
Leg 17: Didn’t read control description!
Leg 18: Tired
Leg 19: Poor route choice
Ran 7.2km for this 5.9km course – 22% extra.
Raw speed: 7.1mpk. Route.