Cannock Chase 10 Mile off-road race

I originally saw the race advertised on Facebook whilst I was scrolling through as you do and thought that looks like a good little tester. I hadn’t really done any hard run sessions since the row as I have been building back the foundations and endurance first. I got the heads up from my coach as we shifted my bike interval session to Saturday to free up Sunday to do the race. WERE IN!

Sunday moning… Race start- 10am

Alarm for 7 am and porridge for 7:30am with plenty of time to digest and get out the system. Nice drive over to cannock chase for a 8:40 arrival on a lovely sunny winters day. There was a strong breeze about but nothing as crazy as we had experienced over the past few weeks!

The distance from the parking to the race HQ was 0.6 miles so I used this as a opportunity to easy jog over going through my warm up routine. I checked in and gathered by race number (476) and pinned it to my chest. Walk/ ran back to the car where I stripped my warm clothes off into my shorts and race kit. I sipped my Fission Nutrition XCEL drink throughout the morning to keep my glucose levels up before the race and also had 2x cliff gel blocks within this time.

SO… Off to the race start we went again all ready to rock and roll. The course looked hilly, muddy and windy with a strong 500 entrants. All different abilities were welcome for the 5 and 10 mile race.

With a thorough course brief and a countdown WE WERE OFF!

The group quickly spread out after the first few minutes as we set off to a fast pace on the open cannock chase fire roads into the strong wind. The first 2 miles was a gradual downhill so naturally the pace was fast. The lead group were holding a strong 5:30/ mile pace( mostly doing the 5 mile race) and I knew that was too fast for me at this period in my training so I held a solid 5:50 pace knowing what my limits were. I found myself in no mans land running through puddles and jumping over logs. It was VERY muddy but I was having a great time!

We seemed to go steep down then even steeper straight back up again but before I knew it we had done 3 miles and nearly back to the start again before we headed round for a second lap. The support from the marshals was great with plenty of support and encouragement! Its really nice and helps spur you on to keep pushing when things get tough out there.

I went from being slightly cautions with the mud and puddles to thinking ‘ill just go straight through that’ I could see a chap just up the trail who I was gradually catching so I made him my goal. I noticed he was being slightly cautious on the decent and slightly slower on the climbs so I thought I could take him! I took him on the climb back up to the finish on the first lap and gave him a ‘well done mate’ and thumbs up as I went past.

Into the second lap we went with screaming quads from the pounding of the decents. I just thought embrace the pain, stay just below the ‘red zone’ and you can hold 8th position off and finish in a respectable time and 7th. I had averaged 6:35/ mile pace by this point and I wanted to keep under 7 mins/ mile knowing it was a tough course. Digging deep into the wind and what felt like nearly crawling up one hill in particular I just thought keep the cadence high and focus on form and the miles will slowly tick by.

The last mile was practically all up hill but I knew the finish line was at the top so that was a good incentive to keep pushing all the way to the finish!

7th position in the bag and a great intro back into racing and pushing the body after the row. Thanks to all the supporters and Marshalls out on the course. I would definitely recommend the NICE WORK events!