As anticipated, I didn’t get in to Western States for 2014.
It was my first time entering the lottery for this most iconic race and just being part of the process was exciting. At around 6.5% chance for a one ticket holder, it was always a long shot.
Most people, especially reading this, know how much this race means to me and how much I want to run it. I have been asked a lot if I am disappointed and whilst I would have loved to have got in, this is a long term process.
It is like still not having a Ferrari. Would I like one? Of course. But I haven’t had one and had it taken away. All I have is a better chance of getting my running Ferrari next December for the 2015 lottery.
Not only will I have two tickets in the lottery for next year, with the amount of qualifying races having been halved and with 50 milers no longer counting the odds are supposed to be closer to 25% and each year I fail to gain entry I will have an additional ticket in the hat.
The main challenge now is qualifying again, at a distance that I failed at this year. So it is with this in mind that most of my race calendar for next year has been finalised.
February- Unofficial Cotswold Way 50k
April- South Downs Way 50 mile
May- North Downs Way 50 mile
August- North Downs Way 100 mile
September- Cotswold Way 100 mile
November- Winter 100 mile
I have gained free entries at the latter two 100 mile races having volunteered at both this year. These will not be my main focus for the year but if I am feeling fit and well enough I will start both of these.
The absolute A race for the year will be the North Downs Way 100 mile race. This is the only race I have ever entered and failed to finish and it has cast somewhat of a shadow over an otherwise excellent 2013. This is my only shot at Western States qualification and whilst this will be my focus, I am also excited about returning to crack this distance.
My two 50 mile races I will be focussing on improving my times into single digit finishes. I came close at the North Downs Way 50 in May of this year with a 10 hour 12 minute finish and I know with a good few months training in front of me, I have certainly not achieved my best yet.
I would love to get back to Western States in some capacity next summer, but I will have to see how money is. 2014 may end up being a UK year where I save and focus on travelling in 2015. If Western States doesn’t happen in the lottery again next year, the focus will be on Pine to Palm in Oregon, Transvulcania on La Palma or Trans Gran Canaria.
But above all, I love Ultrarunning for the people I have got to know and am still getting to know. I have made some of my closest friendships in this small but growing community over the last two years and it is a joy to get to each and every race, whether as a runner or volunteer.