The last time I stood on the start line in Farnham was actually way back in 2014 when I completed my first 100 mile race, but this was actually my fifth run from Farnham to Knockholt Pound and I am looking forward to returning almost three years later.
This race will always have a special place in my heart as it was my first ultra back in 2012.
I ran the 2012, 2013 and 2014 editions of the 50 miler as well as twice during the 100 mile version, so the route is very familiar and very special to me- my first ultra finish and my first 100 mile finish being on this course.
And yes, the title to this piece isn’t a typo, I really am aiming for a personal worst here next weekend. And you are probably wondering why…
Well, six weeks after the NDW50 I am running the Lavaredo Ultra Trail, a 120km loop through the Dolomites, starting and finishing in Cortina d’ampezzo and this is my ‘A Race’ of 2017. The NDW50 is not an easy race and it deserves respect, however for me this year it is my final long test run before the mountains and a great opportunity spend a long time on my feet using all the kit I will be taking to Cortina.
So whilst I have a healthy respect for this course, its also an opportunity to use all of the time Centurion allot to this race (13 hours) to be out there on my feet and feeling comfortable so there are no surprises come the last weekend of June.
So, firstly I wouldn’t want to push myself on the Downs and potentially cause any mishaps or injuries so close to this race. Secondly, I need a long time to re-familiarise myself with trekking poles which I haven’t used much since UTMB last summer. Don’t panic if you are new to the NDW50- you don’t need them- but it’s a great opportunity for me to re-connect.
Finally, I have always run this race with a goal in mind- whether that is Western States qualification or a PB, and I have never just been out there to enjoy it. I have some great memories of this race, but next Saturday for me will be about taking in the scenery and just enjoying the day.
So whether this is your first race or you are a long time sufferer of ultras, I’m looking forward to catching up in a few days time.