A couple of weeks back, I ran in the David Bowie Music Legends race, organised by the legendary Saxons, Vikings & Normans. For the unaware, SVN arrange races usually around Kent which are incredibly friendly, involve laps, plenty of chocolate and an awesome medal. I’ve done quite a few events with SVN now so when they announced a David Bowie themed race, I obviously had to take part.
Excitement grew rapidly over this event, to be held at The Cyclopark in Gravesend. Quite a buzz developed on Twitter, with the term “Bowieathon” being coined by Runners Knees – and that’s how the event was known from them on. We talked costumes, we talked music, we talked play lists, we discussed the size of David Bowie’s bulge. Lots of my friends were also registered to do this event, so I was really looking forward to it.
Sadly, I fell short on the costume front due to circumstances, but the wonderful Liz came to my rescue with a custom printed Ziggy flash technical shirt. There were some great efforts though, Runners Knees had painted his face brilliantly, Jen completely won at fabulous David Bowie inspired leggings, one lady was running in a cobweb inspired skirt, with spiders and Mars bars wrappings attached – inspired. My personal favourite though had to be the appearance of Jared the Goblin King from Labyrinth.
So enough talk about the costumes, how was the run?
SVN events are generally multi-lap and you can ring out at any point, you just need to complete one lap for a medal. We had originally expected a 3 and bit mile loop and I was planning to run a half marathon. However, with a couple of days to go, we were told we were running a 5.25 mile loop, which put paid to my plans. I decided to use the run to practice a walk/run approach for ultras and had an idea in my head that I would probably do 3 laps.
It was a grim day in Gravesend. Grey. Damp. Miserable. Cold. I was cheered up by the colourful sights of costumes and seeing friends though. The route started in Cyclopark, but was actually run outside, consisting of about a mile out and back, before running past the start for another mile and a bit and back again. There were a few ups, more than I expected, which kept it a little varied, but to be honest, it wasn’t the most exciting route in the world, although it was nice in places.
I ran for 30 minutes at an easy pace to warm up, talking to Alma along the way, before swapping to the technique I wanted to trial for an ultra.
Are you ready?
0.1 mile run. 0.1 mile walk.
It was less dull than it sounds and I found it really effective as it kept me focused. Plus I suspect that there will be the mental boost on the day – it’s only 0.1 miles to run before a walk break. I can survive that.
I followed this approach for the rest of the first lap and the entire second lap. I never really felt fatigued, although the cold was starting to irritate my ear quite heavily around mile 9, so I decided to call it a day. I’d run some ups. I found a walk/run technique that seemed to work. I’d chatted to people. I’d eaten chocolate. 10.5 miles was sufficient for the day. So I rang out, having taken just over 2 hours to cover the distance. I’m pleased with that as for an approach that included so much walking, I don’t think this was bad going at all.
I was looking forward to getting my hands on the all important medal and in terms of size, it didn’t disappoint. SVN do epic medals, but I have to say, impressive as this was, I felt sad at the sheer lack of, well, David Bowie. Yes, the songs were printed on the ribbon, but I would have loved to have seen at least a Ziggy flash? Maybe copyright issues?
SVN are awesome, encouraging, friendly and everything that you want in race organisers, but I have to confess that this wasn’t my favourite event. But to finish on a positive, I’ve made it onto their “Most Miles Of All Time” list with 105.75 miles racked up in 6 events. Woohoo!
Oh, and obligatory “my goody bag is awesome” shot.
What’s the best race goody bag you’ve ever had? And have you ever tried to walk/run?