Monday, 28 March 2011


Like to say I've been waking up with the larks lately. Unfortunately that would be a lie... I've been waking up the past couple of mornings to a mad braying donkey in the field just in front of us.
I do like donkeys, but I also like my sleep.

Anyway. We were up very early yesterday (even earlier, or so it seemed, as we'd "lost" and hour the night before).
I knew there was something we had to do. Oh yes. Travel up to Perth and run 50k - 21 times round the North Inch Park.
Quick breakfast, shower, change, into the car, then off to meet Ian who'd talked us into this race in the first place!

Journey up was fairly quick and uneventful (if only my race could be the same).
We arrived at the North Inch as the 100k runners were just starting their third hour. I was amazed at how fresh they all looked.

Registered, got the numbers (and the very natty tee-shirt that all entrants got) then it was off to the sports centre to get changed.

I wasn't sure how they were going to start us on a course where runners were already going round, but they just waited till there was a clear spell and fed us on from the side. It was all pretty low key and we were off.
GPS watches are not allowed at this event as they are pacing devices and offer an unfair advantage. Fair enough - rules is rules and all that - I left mine at home and stuck to the old stop watch.

two thirds of Team Dunbar
 Luckily with it being a relatively short course (2.38km lap) it was easy enough to get a split time on the lap and try to pace yourself from that.
I was aiming for sub 4 hours so knew I'd have to get in the region of 11:20 a lap. As I say I hadn't really trained for this and was using it more for my marathon preparation.
For the first ten laps I ran with Ian and we were pretty much on target. At 10 laps though Ian cranked it up half a gear or so... I tried to lift my pace to match and almost managed for about a lap and a half, but soon realised that I would not manage the rest of the race at that pace. So I pulled the peak of my cap down a bit over the eyes so I couldn't see him pull away and just tried to settle back into the 11:20 zone.
Ticking off the laps and splitting the race into 21 segments probably helped... I know each lap was actually 1.47 miles but I tried to get my head into marathon mode and kid myself on "hey it's only 21'laps' rather than 26".
Seemed to work and I kept a fairly even pace all the way through.
With so many runners out on the course doing the 50k and the 100k it was hard to tell who was lapping who but it was quite nice to always have someone just in front who you could try to reel in. Though to be honest there is no satisfaction or feeling of achievement in "catching up" with someone who's already ran about twenty five miles more than you.
As for the course itself? Well I don't much like courses that are laps, but as they go that was a picturesque one and pretty easy to run (almost flat).
Weather was ideal as well, with hardly any wind.
Chuffed with my time of 3:55:40 which works out at a sedate 7:36 pace.

The other third of Team Dunbar
 Ian finished one place ahead of me in 3:46:25 in 7th (good enough to bag first vet). I was happy enough with 8th and Anne ran 4:53:55.

Watched some of the 100k runners coming in.
Would I do 100k? No.
Will I do 50k again? I don't really know.. I just feel 26.2 miles is plenty. It took me a long time to get to a place where I'm happy with marathons and, now that I'm there, I don't really want to "move on".

Got home last night knackered. Off today and looking forward to a lie in. Sadly the feckin' donkey had other ideas and started braying again at 5:10 this morning (how easy is to get a shotgun license I wonder?).
Did 4.5 miles today and the legs don't feel too bad.

Loads of pictures at: (thanks to Davie)


Davie said...

Shooting a donkey with a shotgun would be cruel in the least. Get a real gun and make it quick for the poor soul.
I was the guy with the wee German Shepherd taking photos. They are at:
if you want to steal some.

John Kynaston said...

Sorry I forgot to come over and say hello on Sunday.

Congrats on a good run.

Stuart said...


Saw you a couple of times when I was going round. Then at the end but you always seemed to be busy.
Enjoyed the video.

I know 50k isn't "real" ultra running but it's as much as I want to try for the time being.

Nice course and a good day out (the weather helped).