Just a few words tonight as it's time for bed after a early rise for the 6:00am start this morning at the Hoka Highland Fling
It was a chilly start, around 3 degrees Celsius, but it didn't take long to warm up. Ricky Lightfoot and Duncan Harris set the pace for the first 5 miles or so, with me tucked in nicely behind, with two guys tucked in behind me. A second bunch of five or so were only 20 metres back. Then Ricky decides to lift the pace, and only Duncan and one other guy went with it. We were already running at around 6:30s on trails, so it was plenty quick enough for me. My "Run as fast as you can, while you can", doesn't seem to be so fast nowadays!
I drifted back to join the larger group behind, and all was going pretty well to plan. Then just before the first checkpoint at 12 miles, I couldn't stay with the bunch, and drift off, so on my own in 10th place. Then going up Conic Hill at around 17 miles one guy over took me, and that was pretty well the end of my racing for the day. I ran entirely on my own for the remaining 36 miles, which I really enjoyed. Managed to overtake three runners who were all struggling, so it was a quick hello and goodbye. So I ended up in 8th place in 7:59:03. Seven and a half minutes slower that two years ago. So a 'respectable' effort, but I was really hoping for, and expecting around 15 - 20 minutes quicker.
Having lost the bunch so early on at 12 miles, there was a huge gap of nearly fifteen minutes to 7th place. The winning time was pretty incredible 7:03 by Lee Kemp, with Ricky Lightfoot six minutes behind. First women was Tracy Dean in a time of 9:12.
Overall an excellent race. The scenery was amazing, blue sky and sunshine for most of the day, with a cool air temperature, which probably aided the super quick times.
Most of the details are covered above, but I will expand a wee bit more later in the week, regarding the positives and the things I need to work on!