Chris Brookman

Chris Brookman
c Ian Corless

Thursday, 25 August 2016

Lakeland 100 2016

After last year’s DNF at this race I’d been looking forward to putting those demons to bed and getting to the finish line this time around.  For me this is the premier 100 mile race in the UK, the atmosphere and camaraderie hooks you in whether you are taking part or a spectator and the organisation is second to none.  That along with some of the best trails Britain has to offer makes for an incredible experience.

The training had gone pretty well, including putting a solid four days in covering the 105 miles four weeks before race- this time staying on my feet and not falling and cracking any ribs!  The progression in my training times across the route had improved from the previous year and, together with the relative ease that I was covering ground, I knew I was in good shape.  What I didn’t know was where this would put me in the field.

Conditions were set fine for the weekend, the weather looked kind and it was relatively dry under foot for the Lakes. We were on for a quick race. 

The first couple of legs are my least favourite, it’s early on in the race and you’re not yet settled into your rhythm. Runners are shooting off at crazy paces that can’t be sustained and it’s easy to get dragged into this.  My strategy was to set off at a pace that felt comfortable and move as well as I had done when I was training there a few weeks beforehand. 

After the dibbing in at the start and listening to Alexander Wall sing Nessun Dorma which has become a Lakeland ritual in recent years we were off.  The crowds lining the streets were pretty awesome this year as we headed out from John Ruskin School.  The first mile and a half is up and quickly gets your heart rate up, you have to endure this before you get to the top and settle into more of a rhythm.  It was a tad on the warm side but I soon found my stride.

The first couple of checkpoints came and went uneventfully, I was enjoying moving well, taking in the views and looking forward to a day out on the trails.  On the short uphill out of Boot James Elson caught up with me and we exchanged tales about running on the trials and having young children to contend with!  James and I had run together on this part of the course only four weeks previously when we bumped in to each other whilst training.  Two southern boys making a four hour plus trip up to Lakes completely separately and we manage to meet up with each other. What are the chances of that?  As it happens we pretty much ran together into Buttermere, which is exactly what we’d done previously.

Photo by Sports Sunday Photography
Getting to Wasdale in one piece was one objective I had, last year I dropped here and that wasn’t going to happen this time around.  Embarrassing parent moment as we approached the checkpoint and I could hear my Mum screaming at me.  She did have some wise words to offer though ‘run your own race’, too true in a race of this length, it’s easy to get towed, along only to blow up later on.
The climb out of Wasdale and over Black Sail pass is where the race really begins, the first big technical climb, it’s starting to get dark and the pace really settles down to something more akin to 100 mile pace.  On the ascent we could see Mark Denby in the distance, he’d gone off pretty quick from the start but I’d chosen not to stick with him, he looked back a couple of times and that was the last I saw of him for a few hours.  We scrambled down off Black Sail Pass, taking a direct but slow slippery line and got down in one piece, although this clearly wasn’t the best line.  On the descent into Buttermere I pulled away from James, he wasn’t feeling up to it and I was into Buttermere in 4:51 (26 miles).

The next section between Buttermere and Braithwaite was my weakest of the course.  There are a few tricky navigational parts, I’ve taken a different path every time I’ve been up there even in daylight.  ‘Cross three becks, sharp left up the scree, over the top, keep right on the way down and take the second left path down in Braithwaite’.  I’ve taken every route off of there during the past couple of years, but this time I found the right path and hit the grassy track into Braithwaite.

I had two time checks for the race, 6 to 6:15 into Braithwaite and 10:45 to 11:00 into Dalemain.  I knew I was capable of hitting these and if I did I would be in the mix at the sharp end. Based on the 6:12 into Braithwaite, I was feeling strong and well in control of my emotions and pace.

On climb out of Keswick I caught Mark and went past him just after the climb out of the town.  This section is pretty runnable and being a flatlander from down south this played to my strengths, I’m no climber - anything more than a five per cent gradient is classed as a hill where I live! 

As the miles ticked by over the next few hours I was enjoying the experience of running at night, the sense of adventure and also remembering that in 2014 I was running along the old coach road and it was just getting light.  This year it was about 2am so I was enjoying the feeling of being so far ahead of my previous times.

During these hours I was working hard to control the emotions, I’m not used to leading in races and I hadn’t really been expecting to be here.  Every now again I found myself looking back for head torches but kept telling myself to focus, stay in the moment and concentrate on the process goals, eat, drink, Sicaps at different time checks during every hour.  It turns out the drinking part I hadn’t concentrated on very well, with what was still a relatively warm night.

The trek through Aira Force and around Gowbarrow went without a hitch and I was soon on the road section into Dalemain, at this point I was easily knocking out 8:30s which, after 60 odd miles I was pretty pleased with, that will be the flatlander in me coming out.  I arrived at Dalemain in 10:45, much quicker than I’d anticipated but I felt as though I had been running well within myself and although ‘working’ through the night I hadn’t been pushing hard at all.  It was good to see a couple of friendly faces as I arrived, two of my good friends Conor and Dionne had made the trip up from the flatlands to cheer and shout abuse at me when I was feeling sorry for myself.  ‘Have you drunk enough?’ Conor asks ‘Yes, yes I’ve been drinking’, ‘Have you been eating?’ ‘Yes I’ve been eating’ (I hadn’t, gels only until this point).  A quick top up of fluid, replenish the gels and off I went.  ‘Have another drink’ as I was leaving he shouts, ‘I’m fine’ and off I went. 

The first sign of my brain starting to make rubbish decisions was coming out of Dalemain, you head across some fields and over a couple stiles before you drop down on to the road.  I couldn’t find the road and soon realised I must have gone through a wrong gate which sent me off in the wrong direction.  Nobody can get lost here, except today!  Disaster was averted as I realised and had to make some tricky manoeuvres over a couple of barbed wire fences.

Photo by Sports Sunday Photograph
On to Pooley Bridge and I’m greeted by my very enthusiastic Sister and Brother-in-law.  Now all Ultra runners know that EVERY second counts, I can’t stop and chat, a quick hello as I’m passing is all I can offer.  Why on earth they put themselves out to come and watch me when I can’t even stop for 30 seconds and talk to them I’ll never know!
The road section out of Pooley is the first place I walked where I should have run, something didn’t quite feel right but I just went with it.  This leg felt longer than it should have which was also a sign things weren’t quite right.  I caught the volunteers at Howtown unawares as they had only just started to set up, they were very kind, topped my half empty bottles up and I was on my way.

Now, the next climb up Fusedale is meant to feel hard, it’s the longest and highest on the route, it is not technical by any means but it drags.  I’d recced this a few times, I know how to move efficiently over it but this time something was wrong.  My legs had nothing in them, my hip flexors were in agony every time I lifted my leg, I was slowing more than I should.  I persevered but I kept coming to a complete standstill.  Tracey Dean who was out for the day on the 50 course caught me, she stayed with me to offer some encouragement, but I had to let her go.  It took me a good 45 minutes to reach the top and by the time I did I was in a pretty bad place, I took on more gels and drank, but nothing seemed to work.  The descent off Low Kop was painful, my quads were screaming at me as I bounded down the grassy track, the run along Haweswater was going to be a long one, I tripped, fell over a few times and a few expletives were shared with anything I could blame for my slow progress.  By the time a reached the checkpoint in 14:20 I was ‘gone’.  I was convinced by the caring marshals to eat something and for the time in 14 hours I sat down, and ate some soup and bread.  I didn’t realise it at the time but this was also the first real food I’d had to eat. Until then I’d been solely running on gels.

Despite taking the time to eat I didn’t hang around long, it was time to get this next bugger of a climb out of the way.  From Mardale Head there are two more sections that have significant climbs and after that it’s relatively flat and runnable - if you’ve not ruined yourself beforehand!  As I left the checkpoint I saw Michael Jones skipping along the other side of the Lake. It was at this point, deep down, I knew I’d get caught.  I gave it everything I could on the climb out of Mardale, but it was slow and as soon as I was over the top my legs were in such a bad way I couldn’t descend as I should. Michael had gained 30 odd minutes on me the previous three hours and I had nothing to give in response, the next 30 odd miles were going to be a real slog.  Michael passed me with ease between Mardale and Kentmere and by this point I was just focussing on getting to the end.  On the descents my legs were getting progressively worse and I was finding it unusually hard to run the runnable sections.

The next few sections continued in a similar vein, the crawl into Ambleside briefly lifted my spirits as I saw ‘Team Brookman’.  As is often the case at this point in a race, I’m not very socialable, a grunt of ‘I’m broken’ is all they got, as I passed, my seven-year-old asked my wife in a concerned voice ‘what’s Daddy broken?’  Looking positive when I see my children is clearly an area I need to work on!

A good 10 miles of the last 15 are runnable and this is where I’m normally strong, even if at this stage it feels like I’m knocking out seven minute miles when they are in fact 9:30s, I can usually run.  Not today, I’m ashamed I had to jog/walk through the Langdales in pain like I’ve never experienced before.

I got to the compulsory checkpoint at Wrynose Pass in 19:45, heading down the road from there I looked across and could see Marco Consani coming across Blea Moss. I gave it all I had on my crawl into Tilberthwaite but I wasn’t moving well and it was only a matter of time before he caught me.

As I was climbing out of Tilberthwaite, at some points literally crawling over the rocks, I was surprised Marco hadn’t caught up with me but it was only a matter of time. At the top on the grassy track with a mile to go he finally passed me.  He was much stronger than I was, a few encouraging words from each other and he was off.  The descent into Coniston wasn’t pretty but I made it back in 21:26, almost four hours quicker than 2014, 13 minutes behind Marco.  I would have taken that at the start.

Photo by Debbie Martin-Consani
This Ultra running is a learning game and no matter how prepared you are something is always
around the corner to test you.  Third place in 21:26, the fifth fastest time on the course and is a good sign of the progress I’m making, I never learn the easy way and this was no exception.  I didn’t eat solid food early enough in the race, my hydration wasn’t adequate for the warm conditions overnight and consequently played a massive part in my below par performance in the second half of the race.  It turns out I was probably quite lucky to get away without causing myself some serious damage. An hour after the finish I was in a bit of mess, being forced to drink Dioralyte to get something back into me.  Two hours later my pee was jet black (sorry!) and it took two days to get it back to anything like normal.

Pre and post fluid intake after the race.....
It’s easy to forget how impaired your thinking is after 12 hours of racing. What seems like a rational decision at the time on reflection clearly isn’t.  I should have eaten more but couldn’t bring myself to do so.  It was obvious I hadn’t drunk enough but I couldn’t work that out for myself at the time.  Having a strategy that takes care of this without having to work it out in a race is a key element to success but as I’ve said I always learn the hard way……..

Finally thank you toTORQ Fittness for their support and Exposure Lights for their Brilliant 'Verso' Headtorch, a seriously good bit of kit.

Below is a cool video of the event made by Epic Events Management

Wednesday, 16 March 2016

No Goal Only A Dream

Transgrancanaria is a race a I’d fancied having a look at since watching some coverage last year, the scenery looked amazing, the weather was warm and it looked like a good day.  So back in January I completed the medical forms and signed up for the race, put it to the back of my mind and concentrated on my next block of ‘marathon’ training.  It wasn’t until the middle of February when I started to check out the course profile and previous times that I realised this was slightly more challenging than I’d realised, if I’m honest I hadn’t given the distance or elevation any thought!

125km and 8,000m of climbing, bang in the middle of marathon training when I’m trying to get these little legs of mine to move a bit quicker is probably not the best preparation.  Throw in the fact that living in the middle of England I’m a bit of a ‘flatlander’ doing all my training on flat tarmac at this time of year, most would say that’s not the best way to build up for the event.

Despite my lack of attention to the detail it did present lots of opportunities, a family holiday in the sun, a great day out in the mountains, some much needed ‘race’ experience and the chance to line up against the ‘big boys and girls’ at an Ultra-Trail World Tour Series event.  It would of course also help from a training perspective with some of the longer events planned for later in the year but possibly knacker my Spring marathon legs, time will tell!

The course traverses its way through the mountains from one end of the island to the other starting out in the small town of Agaete and finishing in the popular resort of Maspalomas.  The race kicked off at 11pm on the Friday night, a grand start with live music to get the adrenaline pumping and the elite runners having their own cordoned off start area.  Not your usual turn up in a muddy field and off you go start that I’m used to in the UK.

The first 10k gave me a taste of what was to come, 1400m straight up, mostly on rock.  I took a moment half way up to look back down the mountain at the other 800 or so head torches lining the trail for as far as you could see, I never get tired of that sight during these night time events.  Avoiding runners’ flying poles (you should have a licence to use those things) I made good progress and reached the first check point in 1:19 (52nd) roughly where I thought I’d be.  Game on, this is going to be awesome.  

A quick stop to refill the water bottles and I was off into the 8km descent before the next 1200m climb.  Well this is where I got taught a lesson, what felt like hundreds of runners passed me. On every descent the Elite ‘mountain goats’ literally skipped passed me as I resembled something like Bambi trying to keep up with them on the technical terrain. 

A couple of tumbles, including one a little too close for comfort alongside a pretty steep drop, I decided to back off and run to my ability rather than risk being carried off the mountain in a helicopter!  I ran alongside Nuria Picas for half an hour or so. What an amazing athlete, completely focused on the task in hand and moving effortlessly.  Needless to say this was short lived and she left me for dust along a technical section, I later learned she retired through injury, maybe I was pushing the pace too hard for her!

The rest of the night was pretty miserable, as more runners passed me on anything technical I became grumpy, made an awful decision not to refill my water bottles at the next aid station (so I could make up ground on those who had passed me) the next one was an hour away, doh!  In my state of meltdown I missed a couple of gels too which this early on into a 20 odd hour race is not particularly helpful.  I made a conscious decision to take my time at the next aid station, get some food and Coke inside me, reset and head off again. 

By the time I reached Artenara in 4:54 (84th) I was cold and ready to throw in the towel, I got even colder sitting around as the wind came in and temperatures plummeted.  I left the aid station a shivering wreck and had to stop again to fumble around with my pack to get my jacket on to try and keep the wind out. Such an amateur, anyone with any sense would have done that in the aid station.  The next couple of hours were spent just putting one foot in front of the other willing it to get light with the hope that would re-energise me.

Sunrise came as I was leaving Teror where I arrived in 8:04 (77th), my spirits lifted as I took my head torch off for the first time and looked forward to the day ahead.  By now the trail was becoming a little more ‘runnable’ and the views were stunning.  The early morning sun on the mountain ridges with just me and my thoughts was so peaceful, one of those moments I only truly appreciate after running through the night and experiencing the sunrise between the mountains.  I was beginning pass some of those who steamed passed me earlier in night and the next few hours were most enjoyable, I’d reasoned with myself that this wasn’t an ‘A’ race, sit back and enjoy the experience and stay in the moment, checkpoint to checkpoint.

Pico Nieves is the highest point of the route at 1930m. I reached there in 12:52 (54th) and in good spirits having enjoyed the warmth of the morning sun and the feeling of moving much more freely than I had during the previous 8-10 hours.  I’d stocked back up with gels at the drop bag station and from here on it the course elevation would suggest it was mostly downhill to the finish. 

Downhill it mostly was apart from two nasty short but steep uphill sections that were a welcome break from the constant pounding downhill.   I was once again reminded that my descending on technical terrain was definitely not a strong point.  On anything flat or uphill I was passing people with ease but as soon as there were any steep downhill technical parts out came Bambi!  The legs by this point we’re pretty trashed and began to pay for the lack of race specific training during the last 30km.

I reached Ayagaures, the last significant aid station in 16:04 (59th).  There was 12km to go along a rocky dried-up river bed – it wasn’t what the legs wanted and there were a few expletives being thrown around by this point.  At this stage I’d worked out I was well under my 20 hour bench mark and as consequence my mind allowed my body to slow quite significantly, shuffling the last 15km in two and half hours!

The last 300m takes you on a switch back past the finish line before you run down the carpet to 100s of cheering supporters waiting for their runners to come in, a truly amazing sight and well worth the effort get your backside through the race and to the finish line for.  I turned the corner to see my wife Gerry and the children screaming at me as I hobbled last few hundred metres.
A finish in 18hrs 29mins, 61st place, fourth placed Brit, behind Andy Symonds, Kim Collison and Duncan Oakes.  A fair performance considering my lack race specific training.  This was my longest race since the Autumn 100 last October, the distance and time on the feet were no problem at all which is a good sign for later in the season and the recovery since then has been encouraging too.

What I did learn was if I’m to perform to my full potential at these type of events I need to put in some race specific training, this will condition and quicken the legs but also give confidence to fly downhill rather my Bambi style approach!  I need to drink more, dehydration had an impact on my performance in the latter stages and had I been in true race mode this would have been a problem.

Having the biggest and longest mental break down in the dark has taught me heaps, it is possible to get through it and providing you stick at it you’ll be surprised at just how far in the game you still are when you come out the other side (I was convinced I was 100s of places back when in reality I was still in the top 100).  Finally ensure you do enough non-physical preparation before, how will you feel? Where do I want to be and when?  Plan for those tough periods, how much do you want it etc?  If you don’t it’s a whole lot harder, but then again I already knew that…………

I had no goal, but the dream was just to be out there enjoying a day out in the mountains.

Gear used:

Inov8 Race Ultra 270’s

Exposure Verso Head Torch - Seriously bright and with the lightweight battery pack had enough life to run for 8 hours without compromising the brightness.

Salomon S-lAB ADV SKIN3 5 SET race vest - First time I’ve used this, extremely light weight and super easy to removal gels from the stretch pockets and stow away the wrappers.

32 torq gels -  Fantastic tasting and cause me no gastric problems, apart from 10 cubes of cheese, a slice of baguette and Coke this was all the energy food I used.

S!CAPS - Sodium replacement ensures I can just survive on water and gels without having to worry about electrolyte replacement.

Montane Minimus Smock - Ever reliable, super lightweight and did the job I needed it to in keeping the wind out.  Without a jacket I wouldn’t have finished the race, I allowed myself to get too cold before I put it on.

Wednesday, 20 January 2016

It doesn’t always go to plan
After finishing the season so strongly last year I didn’t think I find myself sat here searching for motivation.  It’s fair to say these last 3 months have been a chore, a grind, pathetic the list could go on!
After the A100 I took some time off anything serious to let my body recover fully before I set about the next block.  Rest, easy running followed the mileage build up.  Well, a temporary change in job location during November put extra stress and hours on to my days meaning most of my plans went out of the window, which added to my grumpy runner state!  Still, I battled through taking mileage where I could some of it good some of it bad, but most of it in the dark and wet but I was at least 30% behind where I wanted to be.  In the spare time I did have over Christmas all I wanted to do was be around the mini Brookman’s and spend hours ‘helping’ build the boys lego!
I took some of my own advice and decided to look forward, not worrying about what I’d missed out on, just concentrating on what I could do here and now.  With the C2C less than three weeks away this was all I could do, I had a 30-mile day out planned on the course in early January.  This would usually get my mind back into frame and looking forward to the race.  It was an absolute bogfest, cold and hard going, which usually I would thrive on, but this just added to my misery and lack of enthusiasm for the upcoming event.  I returned from the recce knowing my heart wasn’t in this one but I did what I could (more like wanted) to get my mind set.
Race day came and I stayed in the mix for the first 15 miles or so but the combination of a minor ‘niggle’ and ‘I just don’t want this’ meant I sat back, gorged on torq gels, sang along to the iPod and jogged the last 25 miles at 8:20’s until that finish line finally appeared along that sodding canal!  I finished in 5th place, 5:24 which was eight minutes slower than last year.  Not a performance to be repeated if I want to compete at a level I set last year.
So I’ve learnt if you don’t really want ‘it’ there is no point in trying to compete at the top end of the field when its strong, it makes you more depressed!
Time now to reflect and put things in perspective for the next week or so.  The progress I’ve made during the last 18 months has been good, a couple of wins and podium performances last year have taught me ‘how’ to race when it counts and aside from the broken ribs it’s been relatively trouble free and enjoyable. I need to build some consistency into my training, increase the mileage slightly and focus on some speed ahead of the marathon in April.  Back to basics with the strength and conditioning work, my trainer is going to seriously kick my arse when she gets her hands on me next week.
Next up it's Transgrancanaria which I'm really looking forward to - 125k, 8,000 meters of climbing, in the warm!  Hopefully I'll find the mojo out there somewhere.


Wednesday, 30 December 2015

Teaming up with TORQ

I've used TORQ gels for the past year during races and have found them to be some of the best both in taste and performance wise, I ran the Autumn 100 earlier this year solely on them and water with no stomach issues so they agree with me too!

Shortly after the Autumn 100 I was delighted to be approached by TORQ and asked if I'd like to join their running team for 2016.  Needless to say having been so impressed with their products I didn't hesitate to say 'yes'.  Next season is set to be an exciting one racing in TORQ colours and testing out some cool new gear from some of their associated sponsors.

Here is a link to an article they have written about me!

Saturday, 24 October 2015

Autumn 100

Following the disappointment of my first ever DNF at Lakeland this year the Autumn 100 quickly became a target race in journey to find some of that fitness I had earlier in the year.  The A100 is organised by Centurion events who are some of the best at what they do.

My preparation leading into this race had been solid, a couple of key races targeted successfully, some heavier training weeks, more strength and conditioning than I had ever done although not hard considering I was doing zero this time last year and the nonphysical training was coming together nicely.

The A100 consists of 4, 25 mile spurs each returning to the village of Goring where the central checkpoint is held, runners have 28 hours to complete the distance and if you finish in under 24 hours your get the famous Centurion race buckle.

Until now the only 100 mile races I had completed where the Lakeland 100’s where the terrain requires more of a run hike approach, the A100 however is relatively flat so runnable the whole distance.  I was curious whether I could maintain the effort levels enough to run the whole thing, having recced legs 2 and 3, studied some previous race data I was sure I could.

The plan was to get into half way in 6:30 allowing 8:20 for second half, the slow down from 25 miles from the top of the pack in previous years looked pretty large and I was confident I wouldn’t need to slow this much.  I had pacers planned from 50 miles, crew to throw me drinks along the way and my nutrition plan nailed to ensure I didn’t waste time at aid stations, usually I like to browse and pick from the huge variety of goodies on offer, not this time, in and out.

Leg 1
The 24 hours before a race are always the worst for me I get nervous and come race day I just want to crack on and stop thinking about what could go wrong.  We were joined on the start line by Centurion Race Director James Elson increasing the strength of the line further.  My homework suggested I had 4-5 runners to be aware of so the addition of James added another exciting element to the mix. 

This leg is the flattest of the race and I was very conscious not to go out too hard and suffer later on, I settled into around 7:30 min mile pace and got to the 12.5 mile turn around in 1:26.  On the way back to Goring I past hundreds of runners coming in the opposite direction as they made their way out on the same leg, this gave me a boast seeing many smiling happy faces.  One quick crew stop and a non eventful few miles back into Goring in 3:02, 8 minutes ahead of schedule.

Leg 2
This leg is the toughest from a technical perspective, a long stretch through the woods and a few hills thrown in just as you start to fatigue.  I feared the this leg the most, my recce of this a couple of weeks earlier sucked and I was aware I’d probably start feeling crap at some stage along here.  Sure enough on the climb out of Goring I started to feel crap and was overtaken by a couple of runners, I told myself to hang in there, there was a long way to go and I’d allowed myself some flex to have a bad leg.  I reached the turnaround in 4:57 and headed straight back out 2 minutes behind schedule.  The demons remained for the rest of the leg but I was comforted by the fact that those ahead of me seemed to not be widening the gap and soon I would be picking my pacer.  I arrived back into Goring at the 50 mile point in 6:39, 9 minutes down on schedule.

Leg 3
I took a couple of extra minutes more than planned at Goring and walked out of the aid station with my pacer for 3 minutes before we got going again.  Something to learn from as my heart rate data shows that every time I did this my effort levels never returned to where they were pre aid station – No Walking!  The next 2.5 miles were a gentle climb onto the top of the Ridgeway, I struggled here and my pace felt slow but I continued to run and resisted the urge to walk.  By the time we were on the top of Ridgeway I felt great and we stepped on the pace, my pacing team did a great job on this section pulling me along and we put 15 minutes into third place during the next 20 miles.  Looking back this was real turning point in my race, my confidence started to grow and I gained the much needed buffer for the number of errors I was about to make on the Leg 4.  We came off the Ridgeway and back into Goring in good shape in 10:28, 4 minutes down on schedule.

Leg 4
During my research of previous times for this leg I was intrigued why everyone seemed to slow down so much, I was confident that I could go well over this section and not slow as much as others had done previously.  What I had forgotten was how during the final stages of a 100 miler your mind wanders and you make crazy decisions you normally wouldn’t.  This section of the course is the darkest and together with a tired mind it is easy to make a few navigation errors, looking at my data it appears I lost 6-8 minutes gaining bonus miles and another 5-6 taking too long and walking out of aid stations.  Despite the navigation errors and faffing around to change my head torch as it stopped working I made good progress to the turnaround point at 87.5 miles, hobbled up and down the stairs into the aid station in 12:52, 21 minutes down on schedule.  Later examination of the head torch suggests it wasn’t flat, merely I’d not turned it back on after coming out of an aid station!  

The section after the turnaround is flat and I found my legs putting in 3 miles at 8:30 pace, a good sign for the future.  I don’t remember much after this point other than repeatedly asking my crew for a split of where third place was as I was convinced he was closing me down, I wasn’t the best of company let’s put it that way!  The final few hundred yards into Goring approached quicker than I’d anticipated I could hear cheers of encouragement from supporters and I made a point of enjoying those last few yards back into the Goring Hall for the final time. I was greeted by my family, crew and pacers, an amazing feeling and so proud they had been part of my journey to get myself to both the start and finish line in such good shape.

15:06:53 for one hundred miles, 3rd fastest on that course, 4th fastest at any Centurion event  and one of the quickest 100 times on UK soil this year, an achievement I could only have dreamed of a few years ago.  Not bad for someone who has only been running more than three times a week for the last 2 years!  I can thoroughly recommend a Centurion event, they know what they are doing, the organisation is second to none, everyone is super friendly and supportive, sorry if I didn’t return the favor as a grumpy runner passed through the later aid stations!

Thank you to the fantastic 9 who gave up their weekend and deprived themselves of sleep to crew and pace a sweaty lad around the countryside.
A slightly cold crew Andy, Gerry & Dionne

Pacers, Andy, Conor &  Tim
Next up is a bit of time off from any structured running, an opportunity to plan the winter months and spend more time with ‘Team Brookman’.