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Ashby 20 2009

So I got myself a place in the 2009 Ashby 20.  I’d left it late so had to call the organisers on the Saturday night before the race (21:30).  I had an anxious wait after leaving a message on voicemail but they called me back and I was in.  I called Bunde and let him know – he was well pleased that he didn’t have to run it himself – although having to run round with me would wreck his time – he’s ran it in 2:39 in the past.
Up at 07:00 on the Sunday morning, I picked up Bunde @ 08:15 and we made the registration by 09:00.  I collected my number (997- the race is limited to 1,000) and we changed and headed for the start.  The sun was shining but there was a bit of a cold brezee keeping it cool.  The race was off at 10:00 and I Twittered to record the fact.  At 2 miles I Twittered that I’d taken 19 minutes to complete the distance and waited until I’d completed 5 miles in 45 minutes before sending another.  Between 2 and 5 miles, I overtook the Gorilla (a guy running in a gorilla suit which must be a hellish hot nightmare), "Great" I thought, at least I’ve passed him……..
5 to 10 miles passed and the official course time showed 1:26 – this felt a bit too quick for me and at the half way point I was feeling a bit anxious about the rest of the race….I was too knackered to manage to Twitter at this point so gave up.
Miles 10 – 19 are a second lap of miles 2 – 10 so I knew what was coming in the second half of the race.
At mile 13 I was really feeling it and by the drink stop at mile 14 I stopped to have a drink, eat chocolate and gel.  Getting going again was a nightmare and my feet were sore, left calf and thigh felt as though they were going to cramp.  I sort of got to mile 15 before stopping again and this time I walked without being at a drinks station.  I formed a strategy of running/jogging from mile to mile with a stop for a strengh gathering walk when I made it.  This soon broke down and I found myself walking at the half mile as well as the mile with Bunde yelling at me to "get moving", "it’s a walk in the park from here" – shades of the London Marathon 2005 I think. 
After about mile 17 I was seriously considering jacking in an walking back as by now, my groin (left and right) was done in, every step felt like a bone juddering droip from a height and it all knacked.
Miles 18 – 19 were a nightmare, my stride was tiny and my body was knackered (ironically my knee which was operated on last Sept was holding out fine, but the rest  was in tatters.  Passing mile 19 there is a heck of a hill (just what you need at 19 miles) and to add to the nightmare a strong wind was bearing down the hill into our faces.
At about 19.5 miles, the Gorilla caught me up and we ran shoulder to shoulder for a period during which I said to him "I hope you don’t have a sprint finish in you", "Nah" he replied, "You’ll be home before me".  At the top of the hill, the course drops towards the finish and I saw the 400 metre sign – I’d left the Gorilla behind by this point.  My legs now were really beginning to cramp and I could barely stride the length of my feet but I was ahead of the Gorilla.  I knew he was close cos as I entered the finish funnel, runners who had already finished the race were waving the banana from the goody bag as I passed by them.  At about 100 metres the Gorilla went for it and he out sprinted me by about 5 seconds.  I crossed the line and felt I was going to throw up.  The race time showed 3:06 but Bunde has his stopwatch on it and reckoned it was 3:05:21 – my chip time will be available later but I am taking 3:05:21 :-).
I saw the Gorilla after the finish and said "I thought you didn’t have a sprint finish left?" and he replied "I hadn’t thought about it until you mentioned it".  If only I’d been too knackered to open my mouth I would have him :-(.
Anyway, that’s the Ashby 20 done – it represents unfinished business for me as I was supposed to run this in 2005 but due to family circumstances I wasn’t able to take part.   I’m pretty sure that I would have recorded a much faster time but "hey ho", that’s the way it goes.  I ran the London Marathon in 2005 and my 20 mile time was 3 hrs so I wasn’t that much faster but I did manage another 6 miles then – not something I could have done at the Ashby 20.
Would I have finished without Bunde yelling at me for the last 5 or 6 miles?  Possibly but I would have walked far more than I did – big thanks to him for dragging me to the end (he did the same for me at the London Marathon 2005).
Will I run it again?  I don’t know at the moment.  It’s a well organised race with plenty of marshalls, drinks, gels and sweets all around the course.  There are some hills, although none of them are "killers".  It’s a 2 lap affair which I think is not as good as a route that is always different but all in all it’s not bad.
Will I run the London Marathon now?  Again, I don’t know at the moment.  I reckon I have 2 – 3 days of pain before this race is out of me and I’ll see what I can manage training wise over the next few weeks.  London is a flatter race than the Ashby of course……..
23/3/2009 – UPDATE
The results have been published on the Ashby 20 website.  I came 604 of 828 :-(.  The gorilla (Timothy Sturlla) was 600.  Huge respect to Tim for completing the course in a gorilla suit again.  I’ve often wondered when the fancy dress guys do their training.  When I was training for the marathon I was down the canal on a Sunday morning by 07:30 – nothing TOO unusual in that but if I was galloping down the canal dressed as a gorilla/rhino or similar that would be a completely different matter 🙂

One Response to “Ashby 20 2009”

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