Monday, 14 October 2013

Greensands trail marathon - first timer

The Greensands marathon was my first trail marathon and what an event to start with.

4,000 odd feet of climbing, more puddles than you could hope to avoid and some horrible steps at around 25 miles to remind you that you're only human.

Start at the start

So what was the start like? Quite relaxed really. A little home spun too, but I like that. I picked up my race number with little fuss and settled in to people-watch around the room. Everyone was looking hardy and decked out with non-mainstream trail trainers, race belts and running club tops. I did wonder whether I was out of my depth for a second, but striking up a few conversations I realised they were all human. Ish.

It was also a great opportunity for a selfie with fellow noobie, Justin Bateman.

The six degrees of running

In a random field strung out in a line, I was stood next to Justin Bateman, who got me into this event, who was stood next to James Adams, who had gotten him into these events, who was stood next to Michael Carraz who had probably been helped into such events by him and then finally, who was stood next to Laurenda Tirepied, with whom I had met, but not met 'met', from the Trail Running and Ultra Marathons group on Google+. Which was cool, odd and unexpected.

The route

I'm not going to lie, I hadn't really done much research on this event. I'd run the Midsummer Munro this year, which was great, and in some way I just presumed that this event would be similar. But it wasn't. I hadn't expected such poor weather conditions, the really narrow sections or the areas darkened by trees. The endless puddles were impressive and the mud, having been churned up 100 times or more, was sloppy and slippery everywhere. But I appreciated the additional hardships. Running a course is great and all, but running a course in harder conditions is a hardier challenge (obviously) and there's something in my pea-brain that says that's better.

Anyway, it was uphill a lot. There were some down hill parts and I don't recall that many flat parts. Here's the elevation chart from my Garmin.

Yup, no flat bits in sight.

The hardest bit

  • There were a few miles, probably around the 17 - 20 mile mark where things just took forever
The best bits

  • The fact (that after a while) I couldn't care less about running through puddles and sloppy mud
  • The twisty and tight single-track running in places
  • The flat, fast and open final 1/4 mile

The Marshalls

Miserable weather. Brave St John's Ambulance crew
Admirable nutters. I know it's a crazy thing to pay to run around hill, but it's a truly great thing to stand in the same spot for 5/6 hours with a smile on your face and a positive persona cheering every runner on for free.

All credit to them and I hope they enjoyed themselves in some way. Though for the life of me I'm unsure what that could be. Free jelly babies after the race maybe?

Big thanks too to St John's. Hopefully no one was hurt, but it's nice to know they're around.

Medals, tea and bacon

My Grandad would be proud. He'd probably also have laughed at the abysmal showers. I would have had a better shower standing outside in the rain!

Overall I really enjoyed myself and I look forward to doing this and other Trionium events again.
This is a terrible photo

Garmin data for the nerds.