On 19th June 2021 I took part in Race To The King, a 53 mile (Double Marathon) race. This is the 6th Ultra Marathon I have taken part in and the 3rd with Threshold Events. This means I now have the hat trick (having completed their 3 original events). I took part in Race To The Stones 2017, see my review HERE. I also took part in Race To The Tower in 2019, see my review HERE. Today marks my 85th qualifying event towards the 100 Marathon Club. Meaning I’ve ran 85 events which include a marathon or more as part of the event. I am getting so close to the 100 now.
I organised my kit before leaving, making sure I had everything. For an ultra it is even more important to be prepared. I am mindful lots of people reading this will be planning their first Ultra, so I wrote a blog about my packing for an Ultra, which you can see HERE.
With an event like this, it starts the night before. With most events people talk about the importance of carb loading and hydration. I find with Ultras it doesn’t make the hugest difference. I’m not trying to shave off seconds, I’m there to enjoy it and finish. So the night before was about family time, so we arrived at our Haven Caravan, and then made our way to a pub. I may have had too many beers, but that’s good care loading right? Also my waiter was shocked at how fast I ate my burger. He said he has never seen anyone ask to double it up before, and usually the staff struggle to eat half of one.
It was a very early start, 06:30 for me, but to be honest I prefer to get off early. It felt great to be at a large event, and I’m impressed by all the covid safety measures put in place by Threshold Events. We lined up like in airport security, and I joined towards the back of my wave, which meant I started after about 10 minutes. A great way to space people out at the start. Only issue is I should have lined up earlier, as I found myself restricted for the first 3 miles. It really wasn’t the end of the world though, and after about 3 miles we had our own space to run at our own pace.
It was such a beautiful route. There were lots of hills, but not as bad as Tower. We also had some nice conditions. I’m glad the rain stayed away, and the cloud coverage and mist made it more mild, perfect for running.
There were 7 pit stops altogether including Basecamp. I think it was the first that had a selection of sandwiches, I enjoyed a cheese and tomato one. At Basecamp I had tomato soup and a large bread roll. At all the other stations there were bars, sweets, crisps, fruit, tea, coffee, coke and water with electrolytes. I made a point of stopping and filling up my water every pit stop to make sure I was drinking enough, one flask with water and the other with electrolytes. I had a coke at every stop for a boost and also ate my fair share of sweets and crisps on the go. All the staff and volunteers were so helpful and friendly. With support like this, you could easily turn up with an empty bag and hydration vest and be able to get everything you need.
The reason I love these events is that it’s all about the running. You don’t have to worry about all your nutritional needs, you don’t have to worry about navigation because it’s so well marked, if you want to you can break the event into two days and camp. Everything is covered, you just need to turn up and run.
That’s what I did, I turned up and ran. I had a loose target of 10 hours in mind. I based this on absolutely nothing. I have only done the Double Marathon twice now, my other 4 ultra have been 100k. The first time was at Tower in 2019 and I struggled. I wasn’t in great shape but I knew I could do 100k so thought it would be OK. I underestimated the distance, I underestimated the impact of the hills. I struggled so much but still finished in 11:57. A time that I knew I should have done quicker than. So today I set off with 10 hours in mind. At half way I was on for just over 9 hours, but then the hills started to impact, especially Butser Hill at mile 31, that was the biggest. After I slowed it was hard to pick up the pace again, but I carried on going.
I actually ran an extra mile in the pit stops. I also probably wasted over 45 minutes in the pit stops altogether, but frankly it was nice to take on nutrition and talk to people. I spoke to so many people and really appreciate all the support. I also walked slowly up a lot of hills. So honestly, I am so happy with 10:23:19.
I got to see my family at around 30 miles, and then at the finish.
I was able to pick up the pace for the final mile when I hit the town (I’m faster on flat road). It was such a beautiful finish.
So that is Race To The King complete. My 3rd of the Threshold series. I had wanted to do Race To The Castle this year, but just couldn’t justify the long travel, and my family just were not up for it. I am however doing Race To The Stones. I haven’t worked out logistics yet, but I will be there.
I have raised over £5,000 for Cancer Research by running 11 marathons in 11 days. With a Double Marathon added to my Journey it would be great to raise a little more.