Most people will not have done more than a marathon or a 50k when they do their first 50. I completed this race this year and while it hammered my quads, I was able to run the London Ultra less than two weeks later. I was fine by the following Thursday.
It is more of a step up mentally than physically. With a 50 you have essentially done a marathon by the time you hit the half way mark. This means that you will be challenged physically and mentally before you hit the half way mark. In a 30 miler this challenge would come when the end was already in sight, while in a 50 you know that you have to go as far again. The mental low point of any race comes at the half way mark.
This year the Thames Trot had a drop out rate of approximately 10%. The interesting point is that virtually everybody who dropped out did so at the half way checkpoint, while pretty much everybody who made it past the half way checkpoint completed the race.
I've got my eye on this one too, SoS, as i work in Oxford and want to get into this ultra thing. I will be moving up from marathons, and am doing two in two days in December, so that may be good buildup.
Totally agree with ben about the halfway thing.
The flat profile of this event does indeed make pacing tricky. There is actually one hilly part, but it
I essentially ran the first 25 miles, then switched to a time based strategy of run 25 minutes walk 5 minutes. As the race progressed, I dropped the ratio down to 20/5 and later 15/5. Some people with more experience of this sort of thing than me, advocate using a 25/5 strategy straight from the starting gun, and have suggested that I would have got a better time had I done this.
As a rule of thumb, I would expect a person who takes 4 hours to run a city marathon, to finish this event in about 9 hours using a run walk strategy. Unless you are very fast, it will be dark when you cross the finish line, and you will need a head torch.
Its essentially a matter of reading your body. I drop the ratio down when I have trouble maintaining the current ratio at a steady pace.
The terrain plays a role as well. If I encounter a section that is boggy underfoot, or where there is a strong headwind, then I walk that section and compensate by running where the going is better.
Whats wrong with 2012?
I mean apart from the state of the world economy.
Joking aside, sometimes it is better to take the plunge on an ambitious event, rather than spending a year of your life building up for it. I have thrown the dice a couple of times with big step ups, and have so far got away with it.
Back to back 20s would work pretty well for this event. I was doing 25 for my long run and 15 the next day. The crucial thing is to train on tired legs.
Navigation is straightforward for most of the route i.e don't fall in the river. There are however a couple of sections where the route diverts significantly from the river, and people do get lost. At one point you end up in a church yard, which can be a bit confusing. The event organisers provide you with an easy to use map of the route, but it would do no harm to study the route in advance.
Did I mention that the medal handed out for this event are rather elegant, and you get a technical T?
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