Tuesday 25 May 2010

Hilly Hundred - Award-winning Adendum

OK, so we entered the race this year for the personal challenges, the fun, and because it's a good time of year to do some challenging hill work as part of a wider training regime.  Based on the previous 2 years' times, and our predicted finish time, we were a solid bet for 7th place in the mixed-team race.  We didn't care.  We weren't out for any awards.  No pressure, just run.  As it turned out: no pressure, just win

Most of the winning team: Me, Sara Turner (10mi pb by 9 minutes), Tim Heslop, John Peacock, non-running captain Robert Hale, Julian Gillece (first time to run this far), Marie Lord, Johann Importante (previous longest race was 10k); missing runners are Phil Parsons, Caroline Kent, David Hughes

A victory of any type is incredible and worth savouring.  For our team, this result was unbelievable.  Our club has won prizes, individual and team.  But these have been overall race prizes - the best of the best in the race or in each age category.  Today's team was in the "B" mixed-team challenge, and shouldn't have been competitive there on paper.  Only one of the team would have made our "A" team, had it entered.  Otherwise, we ranged from top 10%-30% in our local races to a couple of guys who had never even run 10 miles before.

So, what happened?

When you're racing, it's important to remember that you can only run your race. The other guy will beat you if he's better.  For the Hilly, the temperature jumped into the 30s for the first time since July last year.  Our challenge was against the course and the weather, more than the other teams.  So, we held our form as the sun beat down and accepted that in the heat you have to walk or slow down on occasion.  One of our runners even kept cool on her leg by putting ice cubes in her sports bra - tough lady!  Some runners had tried their legs out in easy training runs two weeks prior, and had run them 10 or more minutes faster than in the race.  The early runners kept close to target times, but it was a struggle.  The goal for the last few runners was simple - finish the leg.  In the end, this goal was the difference between winning and failing to finish.  At 70 miles, we were 45 minutes behind the leaders.  They were racing against the potential of the teams that traditionally finish in the top three.  As the heat mounted, their runner collapsed and was unable to complete the leg (thankfully, with no long-term damage!).  The time pressure accounted for the perennial favourites.

Aside from a very nice trophy, I'm left with the reminder that if you want to compete at anything, you have to be there at the end.


1 comment:

  1. Excellent strategy, excellent philosophy (goes hand-in-hand with you have zero chance to win if you don't compete). Most pour water over their heads to keep from overheating, but whatever works.