Country to Capital
A 43-mile race from Wendover into the centre of London, with a field of around 350 athletes. The first half of the race was trail, with the second half largely on canal paths. Rain in the days leading up to the race, meant the trail section was very wet and muddy. However, weather conditions on the day were ideal, dry with temperatures around 6 Celsius.
05:39:58, 1st female and 8th overall.
(Hour 7 athlete Caroline Turner with her 1st place trophy after the race. Photo: Tommy Leeming)
Training volume in build-up:
8 week block building to a peak week of 77 miles.
I came into this training block off the back of a month of foot problems and an ankle roll. As such volume was lower than normal, but I supplemented with more time on the bike and a lot of ankle mobility/ strengthening work, along with my normal weight training.
Training intensity distribution:
Largely zone 2 trail running, with a mid week longer run and weekly long run (3-4 hours), with two speed sessions on the road, targeted at the road element.
3-4 hour long runs over similar terrain, sticking diligently to my race day fuelling strategy.
I was warned of a gate that causes a bottle neck early in the race, which led me to start fast to ensure I got through quickly without a hold up. With the first half being muddy trail, I concentrated on moving quickly but not expending too much energy fighting the mud. My plan was to change shoes at the halfway point and then maintain a steady pace of 7.45 min/mile.
Alternating 1 SIS gel and ½ pack of SIS chews every 30 minutes for 63 grams of carbs per hour. In addition, Beta Fuel drinks mix in one of my bottles.
Carried one bottle of water and one bottle of Beta Fuel drinks mix. Sipping throughout the race.
The trail portion of the race was run in Salomon S-Lab Ultra 3 and the canal portion was run in ASICS Meta Speed Sky +
Key items of kit:
Gel soft flasks. I have found these to be essential in winter racing. Due to suffering from Reynauds, I find opening gels impossible, and so having easy access to them in the gel soft bottles is imperative. I also pre-open the chew wrappers for the same reason.
Taking the time to change shoes, from trail to carbon plated road shoes was very worthwhile. With the assistance of the Hour 7 support crew, the change was very quick, and I instantly felt the benefits. Having spoken to other runners at the finish, those who hadn’t taken the time to change shoes regretted it.
The early part of the race was very muddy. While moving quickly and keeping tabs on pace, I chose not to fight against the mud and waste energy, confident that I could hit my stride and take back time on the canal section.
This race played to my strengths in that the terrain was very similar to the terrain I spend most of my time training on, highlighting the need for specificity training. While I was unable to reccy the course, I went into the race confident I could move quickly over the terrain, having done a lot of research on it prior to race day.
(Hour 7 athlete Caroline Turner with Hannah Tyldesley and Founders Michael Stocks and Dom Ashdown. Photo: Tommy Leeming)