Monday 14 March 2016

D33 Ultra

Summit ridge of Ben Lomond 07.03.2016
View to Arrochar from Ben Lomond 07.03.2016

Why would a "Mountain Runner" choose to run 33 miles out and back along a flat disused railway line on the outskirts of Aberdeen when he could be somewhere like this (Pictures taken on a run up Ben Lomond earlier in the week before the D33 race on Saturday)? Good question. Well the weather wasn't as good as this on Saturday so I don't think I was missing such great views. The main reason though is that I had planned to use the D33 race as a build up race to the Highland Fling in 7 weeks' time. I've decided to do the "Fling", a 53 mile race along the West Highland Way from Milngavie to Tyndrum as my first attempt at racing over the 40 mile distance. The Fling is the UK trial race for the World Trail Championships which will be in Portugal this October. Doing races like this is part of my longer term strategy to get better at running longer distances in the mountains (more on that to come hopefully... :))

So the D33 took place on Saturday morning, kicking off at 9am. A very "straightforward" race - run 16.5 miles from Duthie park in Aberdeen along the Deeside way to a point about 1 mile East of Banchory, then turn round and come back. Having not done much road running for a while (i.e. since Rotterdam marathon in April 2013) I wasn't quite sure how this race would feel. I didn't have a race strategy as such, just to set off at a pace that felt sustainable and try and keep that up, and hope that the whole experience would do me some good in terms of endurance.

Last year's D33 was won by Ross Houston, 2h:18min 2014 Commonwealth Games marathoner. He did the 33 miles in 3h:10min. 7 weeks later Ross went on to run the 6th fastest 100km time in British history in the Anglo Celtic Plate race (6h:42min). Pretty impressive stuff. I had no illusions about keeping up with Ross's time in the D33, but I did wonder if I could keep up 6 min/mile pace and break 3hr:20mins. I was pleased to be feel able to comfortably keep this pace to the halfway point, . After turning round just outside Banchory I'd been running for a good 4 mins. before I saw second placed runner Lee Muir, so I figured I had a good 8 min. lead. After Lee the others came thick and fast, and the support I got from them all was fantastic - loads of cheers and high fives. This really spurred me on the try and keep up the pace. I did keep it up quite well until the 23 mile mark, but after that my left hamstring started to tighten up and I slowed down to more like 6:20/mile. The last 10 miles were quite painful. Still I was delighted to win and to finish in one piece, with a time of 3 hours 21 minutes. I'm looking forward to running considerably more slowly in the Fling ;). Full results of the D33 here. Thanks to all the organisers and supporters for putting on a great event.

Crossing the D33 finish line 12.03.2016

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