Spen 20 and East hull 20:
On 13th March I ran Spen 20 for the second time, it hurt. A lot.
A week later on 20th March I ran East Hull 20, for the first time. It also hurt, but not quite as much.
I feel like I’ve left it far too late to write about this! It’s become a distant memory! This race is potentially one of the hardest local races! Gruelling hills for 20 miles on open roads, approximately 1300ft of climb. The race is very challenging but achievable, the plan was to make it round and I did! 7 minutes or so slower than last year but I’m very happy with that considering the circumstances.
The marshals did a great job again this year but this can be quite a lonely race with minimal local supporters. (Although one lovely old lady did stop to cheer me and offer a short cut through her garden… needless to say I didn’t take it…!) There are long periods where you don’t come across anyone, not even another runner, as the field is so spread out.
At around 18 and a half miles I saw the lovely sight of Vicky running up behind me and we ran the last mile and a half together. The last up hill before reaching the sports centre nearly broke me, I don’t think I would have made it to the end without walking if it wasn’t for Vicky!
There was a great club spirit at this race, from runners sticking together and encouraging each other on to everyone who came out to support and take photos. Go team STAC!
East Hull 20,
I actually really enjoyed the course, well as much as you can enjoy a 20 mile course! The gentle rolling bumps kept it interesting, my favourite parts were the long stretches of country road where the miles kept coming along and getting ticked off without too much thought. I least enjoyed the parts through the villages, up and down the curb, watching out for traffic and twisty bends.
I almost cried on the last mile, the end just felt so far away. I decided on the start line to run with Jess and Richard, but somehow managed to lose them within 400m of the start! I expected them to have caught up during the first few miles but after a couple of attempts to look behind me, and almost tripping over I give in. Every time I heard footsteps behind me I was expecting them to pull up alongside, it didn’t happen. At 18 miles I was pretty much begging for them to catch up and help drag me along the last bit, by 19 miles I was almost in tears, swapping country lanes for the pavement one last time, the end felt like it was a lifetime away.
I managed to keep pace for the majority of the race at around 8.25/8.35 only slowing from this at mile 15 onwards, with the pace dropping to 9.13/9.17 for 18 and 19, just squeezing out a sub 9 minute mile on the last bit of downhill to the start.
The STAC support on the finish line was great, it was nice to finish a race with a big smile on my face, something that hasn’t happened much in the last 6 months. 2.51 for 20 miles, just over 8.30 minute miles.
The celebrations didn’t last too long though, minutes after crossing the line I had the most excruciating pain in my left ankle, cramp caused by the lack of blood flow in my left calf. Normal circulation was resumed after 10 minutes sat on the wet floor with my feet up on a chair! I’m hoping it is a ‘just stopped running pain’ as oppose to a ’20 mile point pain!’
The race memento was a vest – I’ve never had a race vest before!
The last few times I’ve raced – Brass Monkey and Spen 20 I’ve had really bad heart burn, the only time I eat pasta (gluten free rice pasta) is the night before a race, putting two and two together this time I opted for wholegrain rice instead. No heart burn at East Hull! No gluten free pasta for me the night before London!
Despite the mini incident at the finish line, East Hull 20 has given me a lot more confidence for London. Not long left now!
Both races are now up on the race reviews section on my blog.
And also on BibRave.com: