When 30 becomes 32

As it’s been 2 months I thought it was time to publish my race report for the Waterway 30, I really don’t know where the time goes!!

Before entering this race I had been looking for a race to enter near my birthday, I had been toying with doing the Peddar’s way ultra but after a lot of procrastinating I had decided that at 48 miles that might be a bit too far for me at this point (I’m saving that for my 40th next year). So I had to find another race for the last weekend in January and I stumbled across Hobo Pace’s Waterway 30, the thing that instantly attracted me to this race was the fact that the RD is a vegan runner and all of the aid stations were vegan friendly.

The race was held in South Wheatley, Nottinghamshire so we traveled up the day before and stayed in Retford, this was my birthday so in true rock and roll style to celebrate we got a take away vegan pizza and had a early night in the hopes that I’d be well rested before my second Ultra the next day. As per usual before a big race i didn’t sleep well but with an early start we headed down to the Race HQ at the village hall, and within being there a couple of minutes my tiredness and nerves turned into the usual excitement, there is always such a buzz around race HQ with everyone doing their final checks on their kit, this was my first race with a mandatory kit list and I found it a bit daunting having to include kit such as a survival blanket!

The race had a reasonable sized field with a good mixture of beginners and ultra veterans, it only took a couple of miles from the start to realise that this was going to be MUDDY, I got off to a good start, my training had been hit and miss, again! So I decided to take it easy and slog it out. The race runs along side a couple of canals and rivers and the banks were very slippery, there were a couple of times that I thought I might end up in the river, but this just added to the sense of adventure rather than being a problem. I was about 13 miles in when the rain started to come down, I had my Inov 8 jacket in my race vest so wasn’t too bothered but I only use a small capacity vest and I’d struggled to get all the kit into it which meant getting my jacket out was proving to be a bit of a task and I ended up finding myself faffing, which the ultra runners of you will know faffing is a slippery slope and unless kept in check will end up with you wasting valuable time, lesson learnt I could do with a bigger pack for ultras.

After the next checkpoint I was really glad i’d got my jacket on as the course went up on to some very exposed banks where I was feeling the full force of the heavy rain and some strong winds, it was at this point that I asked myself “why am I doing this?”, there was some nice scenery here I think but there was no way I was taking my hood down so I missed most of it. The route carried on like this for a while before moving away from the river and slowly working it’s way back towards the race HQ, it was here that it got really muddy and I came across several people stuck in the mud, one poor lady just in front of me lost her shoe and had to hang on to her partner and hop around on one foot trying to retrieve said shoe from the mud. By this time I was knackered and I knew I had some pretty nasty blisters on my feet so the pace slowed right down to the dreaded ultra shuffle but I wasn’t going to give in and I managed to finish with a slight smile on my face or was it a wince.

All in all I enjoyed this race, it was well organised, a nice course and it was great knowing that I could eat anything on offer at the aid stations, I would recommend Hobo Pace races especially if you are vegan, it’s nice not having to try and work out what you can eat especially towards the end of the race when you aren’t thinking 100% , oh and we got a couple of miles free as the Waterway 30 was more like the Waterway 32 so my longest distance to date and ultra number 2!

My next race is the Lakeland trails Staveley 17k which I’m really looking forward too, mostly because I’m a geek and it’s held in a town with the same name as me, but also because it’s the home of Inov 8 and as you will know if you follow this blog I’m a big fan of the Inov 8 brand, I’m hoping they’ll have some shoes to test out 🙂

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