I've been lurking on this thread for a while, picking up valuable tips for my first Ultra - the Ultimate Trails 110K in the Lakes a couple of weekends ago. So firstly thanks for all the good advice that is on here.
Secondly I really thought that my foray into Ultra running was going to be a one-off - but I enjoyed it so much I'm already looking for the next one. Having stepped up from marathons I already feel like I'm breaking all the "rules" about mileage and recovery, so I'm struggling to work out what is sensible and what isn't.
I've got my eye on the Grand Tour of Skiddaw at the end of August:
Is this too soon for another long race or is 2 months suffient recovery time? I've recovered pretty quickly from the Ultimate Trails, so feel OK to carry on, but don't know if there might be some hidden damage that I should be careful of.
Does anyone have any more details of the route than were sent out with the race info? My friends want to be somewhere on the route to cheer me on and it would be nice to know the exact route so I know where to direct them.
The quick answer is that as long as the time cut off is clearly advertised (which it was) then it is reasonable and fair to have.
I can understand the reasoning behind it, in that you want to limit the time you have runners out on the course for and looking at the finish times 70 minutes is obviously about right. If you are going to have some kind of cut-off the only way to do it is to be strict about it. If you enter a race with a cut off like this I think you have to respect it and I wouldn’t have dreamt of arguing. The marshal at the tower actually asked me if I was doing the half or the full, which confused me a bit as I knew I was over time. I told him I was assuming he was going to turn me around, which he confirmed, but it made me wonder if he would have let me carry on if I said I wanted to?
From a personal point of view, I knew when I signed up that the cut off would be tight for me, but was hopeful that I would be able to achieve it. I trained on the race route, and when it became obvious that my times weren’t improving and I was unlikely to make the cut off I did look around for alternative races. I would have swapped over to the Beachy Head but that was full and place swaps were closed by the time I thought about it. That was why I hatched my plan to run the second half on my own if I missed the cut. I think this made it easier to accept turning around.
I agree with one of the other posts that having this cut off makes people push hard at the start, which is maybe not ideal, I guess you really want to limit it to runners that can comfortably achieve the distance without tiring themselves out early on but I’m not sure how you can achieve this. As for the suggestion in another post that you limit it to people with a sub 5 hour marathon time, my PB for a road marathon is 4:47, but I guess you’d need a lot of other comparison times to know where to draw the line.
Looking at the download from my Garmin I think I got to the cut off at 75:04, so I might even have missed it last year as well (although if I’d known I was that close I would have pushed a bit harder up that last hill). I probably wouldn’t chose to run a race with this level of cut off again, it is not ideal to push that hard in the first section of a marathon, in future I will probably choose events where I know I can plod along at my comfortable pace. It is a shame that this excludes me from this lovely race, but that is life.
Thanks again for a brilliant race, and I agree with all the previous posts about the brilliantly enthusiastic marshals.