I have run the first half of the race (from Wendover to CP3 on the grand union canal) twice now. The first time I made a few silly errors in navigation and probably added 3-4 miles to the run by backtracking to the points where I went wrong. The second time was no problem as it is a fairly easy course to remember. So if you are a confident map reader you may well get away without a rehearsal but I rarely use a map so a recce of the route was, for me, very useful. I agree with others that once you hit the GUC then its very straight forward , and enjoyable. In fact I very much enjoyed all parts of the course. My only 'concern' now is having run the first half and the second half on different days is running both halves together...but being my first Ultra I am really looking forward to the challenge!
Hi Matthew, a recce of the course would be a good idea. Last weekend I ran from the start at the shoulder of Mutton to check point 2 (the Pub at Horn Hill). I then ran back to the railway station at Chorleywood for my train back to Wendover. I must of covered about 25 miles in total which includes a couple of places where I got lost and had to backtrack. I can tell you that although I am an average marathon runner (PB 3hr 02min) I am not used to running boggy tracks,and rough terrain (and map read!) all of which made the 25 miles I had done seem harder. Most of my running is done on roads and firm tracks (with smiling marshalls) where I can keep to a fairly even pace. I knew when I reached the Pub at Horn Hill that I had been working! so the thought of another 27 miles to go to the finish on race day was considered over a couple of pints of Courage Best before the jog to the station (The Dumb Bell serves very nice beer by the way). Like you I have never done this race before and only decided to enter 3 weeks ago. To be honest I think that this is (for me) going to be a challange, but a good one, but I do need to focus on putting in a few extra miles training while at the same time trying to avoid injury. I think I will next try running CP2 to CP4 (then train home) and then CP4 to finish and again train home. I am also contemplating running from the Start to CP4 (31miles) 3 weeks before the race at an easy pace to confirm the route in my head (don't want to get lost on the day!) and give me confidence that I can complete the course. I don't know about the 'old dogs' out there who have done this race before but I feel running in road shoes might be the best option. I was running in Brooks Glycerin 10 and they were fine for even the boggy single tracks and rough terrain across fields. I guess the Canal path will require road shoes and that is a big chunk of the course. If anyone out there has tips for a 'new guy' then I would be grateful to hear them. My goal is to finish in 6:59 or better but I know from what I have experienced so far I need to put in the training!