Thursday, 18 June 2015

Trionium Midsummer Munro 2015 race report

I'm not sure what happened, but I was in a bit of a daze the whole way around. I think maybe because I had recently run the North Downs Way 50, along some of the very same paths, I was expecting to run an ultra and therefore plod along and switch off. Don't ask me why, I really don't know. I just remember being very surprised that the event had ended and I was collecting a medal.

I love medals. And Trionium always have a good one. I also love the t-shirts they give out too. Good quality and I really like the added touch of including everyone's names on the back. This year we also got a small bum-bag, which did make me laugh. I told myself "A bum-bag? This isn't the 80's people, who would ever use one of those?" as I begun placing all of my bits and pieces into it and marvelling at why I hadn't thought of it before. A real keeper for my next run to help manage the essentials before and after a race. Fashion be damned!

Proper bling
But I digress, I really should be telling you about the run. This year the start was a little different. We started at the top of Box Hill, in the Old Fort car park. I had no idea there was such a significant car park up there, no did I know about the cafe. Or the hundred plus cyclists raging up and down the hills. I'll certainly have to come back with my own road bike.

I've done it again! Back to run. So we started by the Old Fort and then instead of heading out and taking a left to the steps, we headed right and then down the hill by the Zig Zag road all the way to the bottom to where the start and finish usually was. In a way, this new route was almost as cruel as the steps. Filled with energy, and with the assistance of gravity, the horde of eager runners sped down the first hill like a bat out of hell. We even ran all the way back up too and of course inadvertently blew ourselves up before we'd even begun.

I made a mental note that this would be a long hard run and so decided to pace myself. I'd learn later on that I probably need another mental note to turn the speed back on too.

Anyway, the steps, as ever, were cruel and delightful in equal measure. I took the wise course of only running most of the steps and allowed the traffic to slow me to a walk to gather my breath and then to 'speed' away once there was a gap. I was particularly delighted to see that the chap in first place was only just returning to the stairs as I was at the bottom. Not too far ahead I thought.

The Midsummer Munro 2015 route - view Garmin trace
The cooler weather was certainly welcome. Starting at 08:05 meant the sun was yet to really come out and that meant I could run harder without blowing up. I still needed water at every stop for the first half, not for hydration, but to cool myself down. But a gentle shower later on kept me cool and allowed to chug away up and down the hills.

One benefit of an out and back route is that you can work out in what position you are. At the half-way point I was in 40th place and I was happy to stay there. I recorded every time someone took over me, and I them. Whilst I was happy with 40th, I didn't want to be 41st (who likes odd numbers?) and so kept pushing. And with only a few KMs to go, and feeling really great, I should have shot off and made a mark, but I didn't, I plodded along and bided my time.

The second time on the steps was easier. I walked more of it, breathing hard in the humid air and allowing even gentle traffic to slow my progress. I still made a good go of it at the bottom of the steps, 'rushing' past a few unsuspecting runners. I was expecting others to make a break for it, but nothing came. I made up the 10 places pretty much on those steps and then cruised into 30th place at the finish just around the corner.
The two steepest points at either end were the 222 Box Hill steps

Oh, and whilst I was running into the finish, I saw that someone had dropped an energy gel. I hate that. We're trail runners, we're meant to be better than that. It's obvious it wasn't done on purpose, but we should take better precaution to not drop our stuff and litter. So, as I ran by, I reached down to grab the gel and at that moment, at that very moment, both legs decided to spasm and cramp. Like a puppet I hopped between both legs over the last 50m to the finish. Terrific.

Peace. Photo credit: 'Gaz'
Having had issues with my car on the way to the event, I had to leave pretty quickly, but it was nice to see that everyone who had finished were still milling around and clapping as other runners came in. I would have liked to have stayed and met a few of the runners. Especially those who I had passed and was giving mental credit to for running a particular part so well, or pacing me, or making me laugh or whatever. Alas, til next time.

And there will be a next time. Being honest, the event wasn't too hard this year. I could have tried harder and next year I certainly will need to because it's that time again for the Picnic Marathon!

Huge thanks to Rob, the team and the volunteers that put in the effort to make really great and unique event. Really thought this group had been the best volunteers yet!

Learn more about the Trionium Midsummer Munro event
Garmin trace for the Midsummer Munro