Ridgeway1Ridgeway 40 – 10 May 2014

Firstly, I am still a relatively new convert to running, I started running in August of last year, after several years as a Long Distance Walker, so I am doing many of the events I have done previously as a walker but now approaching them with an intent to run (most of) them. I find the LDWA events great for many reasons; they are exceedingly good value for money and also have generous cut-off times, so it allows me to experiment with what works for me, without the need to carry tons of food or worry if something doesn’t go to plan I will have enough time to recover and finish the course within the allotted time.

This time I had set myself a target of finishing under 9 hours. The things I was going to work on this event were; testing taping of blister prone hotspots, and to increase the ratio of running to walking, I break up the distance into 10 minute reps, where on this occasion i was looking to run about 40% of the distance, so 4 minutes running followed by 6 minutes walking.

The Ridgeway 40, starts from the Sanctuary, near Avebury in Wiltshire and follows the Ridgeway National Trail for most of the way to Goring in Oxfordshire. The scenery and sights along the 40 miles of the event are second to none, as the Trail takes you past the Hackpen Horse, Barbury Castle, Wayland’s Smithy, Uffington White Horse and of course ending crossing the Thames.

The route is a linear one, so you can catch a coach from Goring to the Start of the event or make your own way to start and get picked up at the end. The event also has a rolling start, so as soon as you arrive you can start.

The first 10 miles I took it fairly easy, as i was concerned I would get to the first checkpoint before it opened, so ran about 30% to check point 1, as it happened my timing was near perfect and I arrived first at checkpoint 1, where i was congratulated and had my photo taken… i didn’t have the heart to tell them that the only reason i was first was i start 30 minutes before the other runners.

The second 10 miles, I knew I could start to pick up the pace and no longer worry about checkpoint opening times so as I was feeling good, I upped the running to 50%, it was at this point Iain Prentice caught up to me, we spent 5 minutes running together before we started to be caught by other runners so I let Iain go and went back to my reps.

The third 10 miles, I was still feeling strong so decided to up the running to 60%, which meant i was having less runnerRidgeway2s passing me, and I started to catch up other runners (great feeling), and kept them behind me (even better feeling). I was paid a complement by one of the marshals, who commented on, how “fresh” i looked at the 27 mile point, I didn’t feel fresh I hasten to add, I must just have one of those faces…

The last 10 miles, I was still feeling strong so decided to see if I could keep the 60% running going, also as I was so close to the finish, I got lazy and didn’t fuel myself as much as I had done to that point, which meant that the last 5 miles hurt more than they should have done, and I had to reduce the running to 50%.

Which brought me to end, Goring-on-Thames, with a great finish of crossing the Thames.

As I staggered into the village hall, I was met by Iain, we had a quick debrief, Iain had completed the course in 7:30, I had completed the course in 8:40. A great day out.

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