Morocco – Trip Preparation

In a year that started off with a trip around Utah visiting it’s national parks, I thought that in my tenth year of seeing the world that I’d be following this up with a more adventurous trip to Chile and Easter Island. Unfortunately the friend I was going to be travelling with could no longer afford it due to a change in circumstances. This was something I already knew at the time of going to Utah so it meant I’d got some time to think about where I could go instead – if anywhere at all.

In the UK I’ve gone on a couple of training weekends for running which have been organised by Howard who runs an adventure travel company called Right Altitude. My experience of these training weekends had been good, and I knew that he ran hiking trips in the Atlas Mountains, but as of yet the timings of the trips hadn’t worked with my calendar.

When I saw the news that he’d be organising a trip in November I quickly did some research to make sure it’d be suitable, and paid the deposit. Within days of this though I became unsure what was going to happen as the Department of Homeland Security in the US announced a travel ban on electronic devices in aircraft cabins that are over a certain size. Although I wasn’t going to the US, it was rumoured that the UK would be following suit. On the American’s list of affected airports was Morocco.

When the UK finally confirmed that there’d be our own version of the travel ban I got lucky as Morocco was not included. It meant I’d be able to travel with my camera equipment as hand luggage. There are many reasons why this was significant, but for starters there is the concern that valuables stored in the hold are not covered by travel insurance. If anything was to happen to my cameras in the hold then they wouldn’t be covered – and this would include theft should they be stolen from the baggage carousel for example.

My next step was to decide what I was going to be doing. The Right Altitude section of this adventure would be for seven days, but I was keen on going off on my own afterwards to explore some more. To figure this one out I searched the internet for sights to see in Morocco and found the highest concentration of interesting places to be in the nearby city of Rabat. This wasn’t far from Casablanca, a place I’d been advised to not bother visiting. I did however think that because it was the setting for the famous movie starring Ingrid Bergman and Humphrey Bogart, and also in a Marx Brothers movie, that it would be worth a passing visit. Even if there was nothing else to see I might get to take some photographs of the Hassan II mosque.

As I wasn’t sure I looked at what ground transportation was available and asked around about what their trains were like. Alice Morrison, an Arabist and explorer who presented the “Morocco to Timbuktu: An Arabian Adventure” documentary for BBC 2, commented that they were good so that was enough to confirm it was possible. I went ahead and booked a hotel in Marrakesh for the end of the Right Altitude adventure, and then booked a hotel for Rabat the following night.

Whilst looking at trains I was also looking at flights. I found that the best option would also be one of the most comfortable ones. I decided I’d fly business class with British Airways from London Gatwick directly to the airport in Marrakesh – this would be less than four hours in the air. Getting to and from the airport in London would be trickier for me though. It being a weekday I couldn’t get any family to help out, which meant I’d either have to drive there and park up for the week, take a taxi, or use the trains.

If I was to take the train to Gatwick then it’d be £91.70 in a single direction, and the same again on top for a return. The downside to this though is that my flight would be getting in too late to catch the train home so I’d need to find an alternative – especially if I wanted to be back in the office on Monday morning. A taxi was even more expensive – it’d be £110 in each direction, but would at least be an option for the return journey as well. This then left the option of driving and parking up – something I’ve never been keen on. Of the different parking options available I found that their premium valet service, although not the cheapest, would be £87 and would guarantee covered parking whilst I was away. It was looking like although this adventure would be tiring there would be some comfort too.

When I went back to looking at whether or not to visit Casablanca a colleague recommended a visit to the nearby Ouarzazate as not only was it used in the filming of movies such as Gladiator, it was also used in the HBO TV series, Game of Thrones. My only problem was how to fit it in – it seemed the only way to visit required a full day, which I didn’t have. Instead I found plenty I could try and find in Marrakesh.

For this trip it was advised that some sort of bag is used instead of a suitcase as it’d be carried by mules, and across river crossings. I didn’t have anything I could use, but came across a Cotopaxi campaign on Indiegogo for a new adventure travel backpack. It only had a 35 litre capacity which meant it’d be tight – but with the use of vacuum bags and dry bags things would fit and remain dry. This also needed to include things such as a sleeping bag (this would be needed during the cold nights), and a quick drying travel towel.

I didn’t want to take my camera backpack either as running with it would be difficult so instead needed to figure out a way to fit my camera equipment into a lighter backpack, and keep it safe. I packed it once with lenses and camera bodies wrapped in bubblewrap, but I still wasn’t happy with it. In the end I decided the only way was to change the plan – run with my camera backpack. I don’t think I’ve ever obsessed over what to pack and how to pack it so much.

My eventual packing list was:

  • Cotopaxi Allpa 35l adventure travel pack,
    • Sleeping bag,
    • Sleeping bag liner,
    • Inflatable pillow with cover,
    • Solar-powered light,
    • Travel towel,
    • Running shoes,
    • 6x running socks,
    • 2x running shorts,
    • 5x running tees,
    • Baselayer,
    • Running hoodie,
    • Flipbelt
    • Running cap with removable neck protection,
    • 10x boxers,
    • 5x walking socks,
    • 4x tees,
    • Baseball cap,
    • Waterproof coat,
    • Swimming trunks,
    • Wash bag.
  • Lowepro Pro Runner 350 AW camera backpack,
    • Canon EOS 5D mk2,
    • Canon EOS 5D mk3,
    • Canon 28-135mm lens,
    • Sigma 150-500mm lens,
    • 5x camera batteries,
    • 5x compact flash cards,
    • iPad Pro with keyboard,
    • Pen, pencil, and paper,
    • 7x AA batteries,
    • Card reader with built-in Wi-Fi and powerbank,
    • 2x power banks,
    • Charging cables,
    • Snacks.

It was a lot to take, but not all of it would need to come back with me. The pair of running shoes for example were reaching there end of life so would likely be disposed of before travelling home.

Advertisements

Thoresby 10 2017

Having a race the weekend after two weekends of marathons may not be the greatest of ideas. To make matters worse I decided to increase the distance for this race from the 10K option, to the 10 mile option. Excellent. At least after this I’d have a few weeks without races.

When booking the Thoresby 10 I pictured an off-road trail that’d be muddy, and slow. I thought it’d be nice to give it a go, but thought that ten miles of it might be a but much. When I realised I hadn’t run a ten mile race this year – that’s when I decided to increase the distance I’d be running.

On the day of the race we were at the tail end of what had been dubbed “Storm Brian”. Our weather is nothing like what they get in the US so it seems silly we’ve taken to naming them. I think perhaps the UK was just feeling left out. Anyway, this meant it looked like we were going to have a very wet and windy day.

By the time I got to Thoresby, the rain had stopped, but the wind was still howling. I made my way in shorts and tee to the registration tent and collected my number and timer. I couldn’t figure out how to do it, but fortunately someone there was showing people how to strap it to their legs. Mine kept coming loose, but I figured as long as it didn’t come off then all would be okay.

The wind wasn’t letting up, and was making me feel colder so I eventually decided I needed another layer. I thought I’d get my skins top, but I bumped into Nic and Emma on the way to my car and they offered to keep hold of my extra layer whilst running, so I decided my #ukrunchat hoodie would be even better!

When the time came for the race briefing I noticed that the canicross runners were starting with the 10 mile runners. I hadn’t realised they’d be starting in the same wave, but they were all moved to the front. This seems pretty standard for races where there are dogs running. It’s just one more thing to be mindful of on on the course.

I set off far faster than I intended and covered the first quarter of a mile at 5:05min/mile pace. Too fast. I’d let myself get caught up in the pace of the race, and not the pace I wanted to be at, so I eased off a little. I settled into a 6:40 to 6:50 min/mile pace, which is what I wanted. I was still overtaking a few people, including someone who was wheezing very loudly. I asked if they were okay and they nodded, so perhaps that’s just normal for them.

The terrain varied a lot between muddy trails through trees, and bits of gravel. The only bit where I found I had to really slow down was when I encountered these really large pebbles that had been used to fill in a hole in the path. We’d been warned about them in the briefing so I knew they were coming, but I thought it might have been some overly cautious notices (such as warnings about the lake before doing Braunstone Parkrun). It really wasn’t overly cautious – I’m glad they’d told us. As well as slowing down considerably I tried to run on the outside of them in hope it’d reduce the risk of rolling my ankle.

On an area with a wide open field I felt the strong cross-winds of Storm Brian the most. It felt like I was being blown to the side, and found it difficult. I was glad once we were back amongst the trees.

I started to pass a number of the canicross runners, and these were in places difficult to pass – especially those that had multiple dogs. Some were good and were calling to their dogs to move over, but some had very little control over them. I always get slowed down in events that double as a canicross – it never fails. It’s just the way it is though, and seeing the different dogs can be fun!

When you’re out on the course it’s easy to forget things about the course, but then that’s why there are marshals there. They volunteer to make sure the event is safe, and that people are going the right way. When I got to four miles I started to think about when it was we were supposed to be turning left onto an inner loop before repeating a section. I’d got it in my mind that it was sometime around mile 7. All I could remember about that from the briefing is that we’d be directed the right way by a marshal, and if we went wrong then we’d be doing 13 miles. Well… that wouldn’t be too bad, as with the pace I was averaging it looked likely I’d have done a half marathon in 89 minutes.

On this section that is repeated there’s a water station (I didn’t bother with this – in these mild conditions I don’t need fuel or water) and a couple of hills. One of the hills was a little tough, and on the first pass I did think to myself I’d struggle with that the next time around. I’d dropped in behind a group of three runners at this point, with one of them just pulling away from their group to take the lead. Their pace suited my needs, so I stuck with them for a while.

Eventually there was a sign that said sharp left and once around this corner I said a sign that just said “10 miles”. It seems I’d passed the fork and was now on the inner loop.

As I exited the inner loop I found we were joining other runners. I couldn’t tell if this was the back of the ten mile group, part of the 10K group, or a combination of the two. Not long after this I overtook two of the three people I’d been following for the past few miles.

From that point on I was eagerly looking out for the sign where the fork was, as I’d not seen one on the first time around. Eventually I saw a sign that pointed the 10K runners to the right, but couldn’t see one for the ten mile runners – I think the marshal directing runners might have been standing in front of it. Oops. The marshal was now shouting “10 mile runners to the left, 10K runners to the right”.

The remaining runner I’d been following for sometime, I followed as he went in the direction of the 10K. Behind me I heard someone shout to the marshal “is it to the right for second lap?!”. When I heard her reply with a “yes” I knew I’d gone the right way. Excellent.

After the race I was told about a few 10 mile runners who had been sent around again, despite the pre-race warning, and had ended up running 13 miles instead. That’s then problem with lapped courses: when you’re tired you do what the marshals say, so if they send you one way, then you do it.

As the grass changed to concrete I saw Nic and Emma standing on the side of the road so waved as I passed. My legs were aching incredibly by this point and I knew I’d slowed down a lot as the two runners I’d overtaken were now not too far behind me again.

After that it felt like I was running into the wind all the way to the finish. I didn’t want to walk, even though it’d have been nice to, as I knew I was now so close. I glanced over my shoulder and saw the two runners closing in on me so I pushed harder, but was unable to get up to a sprint – the wind was pushing back.

When I reached the final straight I didn’t bother to sprint as I thought if I did I might just vomit so instead took it easy for those last metres. Just as I crossed the finish line the other two runners crossed at pretty much the same time. We shook each others hands, and then I went to remove the timers from my ankle.

I joined the queue to get the finishers medal, and after that got a bag, a bottle of water, and a packet of crisps (I didn’t feel like a banana). I walked over to the results tent and got my time – I’d finished in 68:18 in position 12 (6th for my age group) of 315 (first 4%). Sure, it’s not my fastest 10 mile time as I’d recently set a new PB, but for the conditions and the course I was extremely pleased with the result! I’m now left feeling confident again about being able to set a half marathon PB this year. It was tough, but I enjoyed it very much.

 

I then walked over to where Nic and Emma were so I could join them in waiting for Amy to pass. This was her first ten mile race and did fantastic.

When I got home it was pointed out to me that I’d been given a medal for the 10K and not the 10 mile race. Apparently later on in the day there had been two queues, one for 10K and one for 10 miles, but when I finished there was just one lady handing out medals. She’d given me the wrong one. I have no idea how as when there’s multiple events going on at the same time they usually check your bib. It seems this one didn’t. I can only assume I got a 10K one as the person in front of me had been running that one, and she hadn’t noticed the next runner wasn’t a 10K also (she was busy talking to someone about curtsying).

It’s not really a big deal, but after a great day it felt soured initially. Before it was pointed out to me I was happy with the day, blissfully ignorant of any issue. Fortunately, the organisers for the event are really good at listening, and are correcting the problem. It’s a lesson learned for me as well though, as when I run Ashbourne 10 I’ll check the medal at the end to make sure it’s the right one and won’t assume.

Next year I’ll  be returning to Thoresby to do the course in reverse as laps for Longhorn half marathon.

Birmingham International Marathon 2017

One week after the Yorkshire marathon it was time already to run another: the inaugural Birmingham International Marathon. It’s not the first time the city of Birmingham have had a marathon. From 1980 to 1985 the city played host to the People’s Marathon. The return of a marathon to England’s second city meant it was a race I had to do, even if it only gave me a week of recovery time after the last marathon.

In the week between marathons I barely ran. I did a slow 3.5 mile run with some walking breaks, and a marathon-paced four mile run later in the week. It seems I didn’t hydrate as well as I should have though as the afternoon of the day before the race I got a migraine that meant I needed to sleep early. Sleeping early meant I didn’t sleep well at night, so wasn’t as fresh as I’d have liked when I got up at 04:30 the next morning.

Originally I’d thought the race was going to start at 09:30, but they eventually split the waves into two start times with the sub-3:45 runners heading off at 08:30. The start and finish were different parts of the city and miles apart too so I’d booked a shuttle to take me from the finish at 07:00. I’d need to be parked up at least 15 minutes before that, depending on where I could find for parking.

I knew people doing the half marathon in the afternoon, but I couldn’t think of anyone I knew doing the full 26.2 miles in the morning. I did however meet up with @albowk and @1SteveMac, and bumped into Paul Addicott who was on pacing duties. He was there a little early as his wave didn’t start until 09:30, but it was nice to meet. I got to the race village myself just before 07:00 as it seems they’d overestimated how long it’d take to get to the race start from the bus stop. I felt I could have had another hour in bed, and left later.

I set off having no real goal in mind, other than the hope of another sub-3:30 marathon.

For the start of the race it was along the running track of Alexander Stadium. Personally I think it’d have been nice to have had a stadium finish, but was still nice to get a bit of track time. Out of the stadium, the course quickly joins the A34 – a bit of dual carriageway to run along to get to the city. This part of the course is a little undulating, but none of the hills (mainly the underpasses and flyovers) are really that bad. At least not at this stage of the race.

There was a fine mist of rain for the first few miles and had to wipe my glasses a number of times to make sure I could see where I was going.

Around mile 4 the course went through the Aston University campus. Being held back by police there were some protesters, though they were far enough away I couldn’t see what was going on. Miles 5-7 were then probably the most boring of them as the course zig-zagged through what is probably the most rundown part of Birmingham.

The first few miles had been tough on my legs, a reminder of last weeks race, but things started to ease off after this. I’d long since overtaken the 3:15 pacer and as my legs eased I thought that maybe I might actually do better than I’d expected.

Just after mile 7 the start of the two lap loop begins. Every step I took on this I’d be repeating, more tired, later. For some of this loop people were setting things up on the side of the course – perhaps not expecting anyone to run passed them until later.

Cannon Hill Park was a nice section of the course, though I found my legs were starting to tire again already, so tried really hard to reign in the pace. After  the park it returns to the road and it looked like later we’d be seeing runners on the other side of the road. This was a long straight section that lasted for almost 3 miles. Views that far in front can be a little depressing, but I found looking down at the road helped here.

So far the loop didn’t seem too bad. Perhaps I could run the entire marathon for a change. No. That wasn’t going to happen. On the way into Bourneville, a place famous for chocolate, they’d sneaked a hill into the course that was a lot of effort to run up. I kept going though. I wanted to finish at least the first lap without walking, but after reaching the top I thought it unlikely I’d manage it a second time.

I was thankful though that I was now passed halfway, and some brief respite with a down hill section passed the Cadburys (formerly Bourneville) factory. At the bottom of that hill it was a return to a road I’d already along in the opposite direction. This time I could see oncoming runners and spotted @albowk!

After that I was concentrating on keeping moving. I really, really wanted to walk, but I also really wanted to finish the first lap without walking. That was enough to keep me going until the “decision point” where I could finally begin the second lap.

On this second lap I soon slowed to a walk once I hit 16 miles, and from that point I accepted that I’d be walking frequently. Sure enough, although there were sections I’d run for longer periods, I did walk extremely frequently.

When I rounded the corner at Bourneville again I didn’t even attempt to run up part of it, I just started walking immediately. I just had no inclination to run up it. The 3:30 pacer passed me a little later, and it didn’t really bother me. I just wanted to finish and didn’t really care what my time was. When I ran Brighton the week after Manchester and Canalathon last year, I’d been far slower. So it wasn’t a complete failure.

What was a failure was that I my goal for a sub-3:15 this year was an impossibility. I’d only made it half way from where I was to where I wanted to be. It’d have to be a goal for 2018 instead.

Knowing this didn’t really motivate me to keep running, but I did find that deciding I wouldn’t walk again until I’d counted slowly to 100 helped. I did actually run for that entire stretch, and started walking as soon as I hit 100. Oops. I’d only got 4 miles left to go, but I didn’t really feel like dangling that carrot again to keep me running.

Finally I reached the decision point again, and this time was very pleased to be going straight on, back towards the city. It was hard going, but I ran as often as I could force myself to but with an uphill finish it was hard work. As I got close to mile 26 I found that my path was blocked though by people crossing the road en masse so had to weave through them. I heard one of the marshals shouting at the pedestrians, “let the runners pass!”. Well, I slowed to a walk to get passed.

I sprinted from the “200 metres” to go sign and finally finished the first Birmingham International Marathon in 3:35:38 in position 565 out of 5202 finishers.

Not a great time or position, but it’s okay. I never expected to do well in this race, but I still think I should have tried harder in Yorkshire last week. In the finishers bag was:

  • Finishers medal,
  • Finishers tee,
  • bottle of water,
  • Crunchy Peanut butter Cliff bar,
  • Rowntree’s Randoms,
  • Sanex,
  • Omega-3,
  • Foil blanket,
  • and a packet of milled flax, sunflower, pumpkin, sesame seeds, and goji berries.

Next weekend I’ll be doing a ten mile race in Thorseby, so hopefully I can recover enough for that before then. This race took more out of my legs than last week, but by the evening they’ve eased enough to keep me hopeful.

Yorkshire Marathon 2017

I’m not really sure what led me to enter this marathon. I like to make sure I have an autumn marathon to do, even though I don’t like speed training in the heat of summer. This time I was training through the summer for big ultra marathons so I had the added incentive to find a marathon to do to see if training for ultras made any difference this time.

Training was going well to start with. I gradually built up to 18 miles, but then I took a two week break to do some 10K races so I could work on my time for those. That’s when training went wrong – the following week I was supposed to run 22 miles in training, but due to needing the loo I didn’t make it passed 16 miles. My taper then lasted two weeks due to having a half marathon race, which didn’t turn out too well either. It was unlikely I was going to be setting a PB, especially with the hills I was expecting in Yorkshire; but I’d give it a good go at getting a sub 3:30.

On the day before the race I drove up to York for a bit of tourism, and to see some friends I’ve not seen for almost a year. I walked around the Minster for a while, quickly saw Nic and Emma, and then I checked in to the hotel. That evening the three of is went for food, so I had the usual pre-marathon meal of spaghetti bolognese. It was a good day, and we even got to visit the Harry Potter shop – The Shop That Must Not Be Named. Was really pleased to have seen them. Emma would be running her first marathon, and I think this was Nic’s fourth – a seasoned pro!

That night things didn’t go according to plan. I couldn’t sleep.

The people in the room next to mine stumbled down the corridor at 2am, with one of them making sounds like he was about to vomit – and the other was shouting “Don’t be a d**k!” at him repeatedly. I think I got a few minutes here and there, but I was awake long before my alarm went off. Oh well, I’ve run after a bad night’s sleep before. It might still be okay.

I got to the Elvington Airfield around 07:30, just before massive queues formed to get in. I took off my #ukrunchat hoodie and headed over to the bus which would take around thirty minutes to get me to the race village. It was a little cold standing around in the race village, and if I’m honest I should probably have used that time to find the loos and locate the start. I didn’t though, instead I waited for the next forty minutes for the #ukrunchat tweet-up.

Although there had been quite a few in the group that was doing this race, only a few of us arrive before 9am. On my way to find the start I did bump into two more though – Darren and Jen, who were getting ready for the race. They’d had a hard time finding the baggage drop as they’d arrived at the other side of the campus and found the signs to be lacking.

It wasn’t really that far to the race start, but it was slow as the people I were following to get there were encountering a bridge that was acting as a bottle neck. Even when signs appeared they weren’t that clear – it said the zone 1 start was straight ahead, but that was zone 5 – I should have gone to the left instead. I did however reach the start pen with about ten minutes to spare.

The race was started by Dickie Bird OBE, a retired cricket umpire. First off were the wheelchair athletes, and then the elite and masses followed on behind.

I was aware that the first bit would be repeated in reverse at the end of the marathon, so made a mental note of the incline on the way down. It may be easy sailing now, but I knew it’d get harder.

My plan had to go for a steady and consistent pace, but due to the downhill it meant my first three miles were all sub-7:00 min/mile pace. Maybe that’d work in my favour though – I’d “banked” 90 seconds of time which would make up for what I knew I’d lose on the eventual uphill.

Just before the second mile the route goes passed the Minster, and then out of Monksgate. This bit had been familiar from the day before’s wanderings. At least I knew it was flat. The crowds were great, and I think in part they may be why for the first 15 miles I continued at a pace that was ahead of my target.

Fairly early on the city is left behind and for the majority of the race after that it is through the countryside and small villages. I didn’t really notice the support as I was concentrating heavily on the running, but it seemed like even the quietest of places had a few people cheering (even if only for Macmillan runners in some places). That’s okay though, I didn’t feel this was a race that needed it as it was pleasant enough.

At mile 5 the ten mile runners would no longer be on the same course as the marathoners, but their start was an hour behind us. We’d got over twenty minutes until they’d be coming through.

At mile 6 I high-fived two vicars, which is not something you can say every day. Further along the course the Archbishop of York was also high-fiving runners.

For a while my stomach didn’t feel great, and was making noises like a steel drum. This subsided, but did come back around mile 17. The miles in-between went by fairly well, and I’d been doing a reasonable job of keeping focused. I’d found that imagining where I’d be on my usual long training run routes was helping a great deal, especially when easy parts of the course matched up with where difficult parts of my training routes would have been.

Of course it’s not exact though – I just was just picturing myself running around Leicester. This was York, and for the most part is considerably hillier. Whenever I felt it was getting tough I slowed the pace down, and then slowly returned to my target pace once a hill had levelled off.

There were a couple of “out and back” sections, and this practice of controlling pace had worked well for the first one, and I thought perhaps I could make my tenth time racing a marathon be the one time I don’t walk. However, on the second “out and back” around miles 17-19 the return journey up hill was enough to finish me. No matter how much I slowed it was still hard work, and eventually I succumbed to the need to walk.

Up until then I’d had one jelly baby every few miles, but had been forgetting to eat some as the miles ticked by. I was however staying hydrated having had a gulp of water at miles 9 and 15. I do wonder if I’d fuelled more whether I’d have managed to hold out along that mile long hill, but I didn’t.

As the end of the hill came into sight, I could also see mile 20, and got running again and found that over the next 6 miles I was managing more running than I expected, although at a slower pace. There were times during these six miles I thought I might just run the remainder of the race without walking, but further walking still crept in there. It’s possibly the best I’ve felt on the last 6 miles of a marathon ever though.

One of the runners had someone cycling alongside him for the last few miles. I overtook him several times, but was overtaken every time I started walking – including in the last mile up the unforgiving hill to the University. I knew it was coming, but it doesn’t make it any easier.

When I got near to the top I forced myself to start running again, and then picked up the pace for the last half mile – I reached 6:40 min/mile with 0.4 miles to go, and then increased my stride so that along the finish straight I could come close to my top speed. I crossed the line running at 4:05 min/mile and then immediately had to stop due to runners that had stopped entirely just passed the finish line.

It was a very tough race towards the end, mostly because of the hills I think. It was a fun race though, and I’m glad I did it. I finished with a time of 3:20:18 (position 304 of 4139 finishers- first 7%) which might not be a PB, but it was better than I’d hoped! For a lot of the race it was looking like I’d got a good chance of 3:11, but I saw that slip further and further away from my grasp. After I’d slipped passed 3:15 I think I lost a lot of interest in keeping going.

At the finish you can grab a bottle of water, and will then be passed a bag containing a few goodies, before they hand you your finishers medal. At the end of this I had a quick lay down on the ground before taking a look at what was in the bag:

  • Finishers tee,
  • ASDA Caramel chew,
  • ASDA Nutty bar,
  • High5 Energy Gel,
  • ASDA orange energy drink,
  • ASDA Sports Nutrition Protein bar (Cookies and cream flavour),
  • ASDA Cashew, Raisin & Cherry shot,
  • ASDA Strawberry cables.

It’s understandable most of these were ASDA branded goodies – they were the principal sponsor for this race.

After the race I got to catch-up with Gen Huss who had been running the 10 miler. She didn’t get the result she’d hoped for, but I think considering the course elevation she did really well. I also heard that Nic and Emma did really well – which was very pleasing!