Yes I know its hardly new. They’ve been back for a few months, Beth Pascall and Jim Walmsley had some epic runs at Western States and despite the calendar opening up (more so for elites travelling abroad), FKTs are dropping left right and centre with amateur and pro alike with some of the best training days on record.
Not having to taper, peak, lay it down and then recover has its advantages…
Maverick Run Project is also now in full swing and my Bedfordshire Run Hub has had some great runs and I’ve made new friends in the area. In many respects, its been the change I needed and showing people around your local trails is highly recommended.
Setting off early from Milton Keynes to the rendezvous near the Wendover event HQ, I set of with Jay, to set 8 miles of course for the following days races. With 4 races – Ultra, long, medium & short – Maverick Adidas Terrex Frontier Series Chilterns had plenty of trail to marked for runners to follow, navigating their way around the varying terrain. Waist high stingers and seeding tall grass left shins peppered with red blotches, anti histamines ingested to reduce the severity of their reaction.
Planting stakes at course splits with signs attached, arrows at key turns and ribbon wrapped around branches and vegetation to provide positive reassurance runners on are on course, movement was slow and steady, all the while, checking our position against the marked route via SatMap.
After refreshments it was setting our Race HQ for Saturday’s race and then back for tea and medals. You can always reward yourself after a long day in the sun, away from the desk.
Saturday started leaving the house at 05.55 and pulling up on a traffic accident at 0600. I stuck with the downed rider for an hour, until police and paramedics took over, arriving at the Chilterns Academy as a sea of volunteers arrived. Straight out and onto the course, I was to check part of the ultra route, adding signage where required, checking any signage put up over the previous days wasn’t removed or tampered with.
Criusing along the grand union canal, this shallow section full of chicks and nests, welcoming in the day with their chorus of chirping and frantic activity. Through the golf club and onto the first hill of the day, I was surprised how good the climbing was. No little easy climb, but a good angle of ascent that went on for a good few minutes. Compared to Milton Keynes, it felt more like being in a mountain range. A glorious site and feeling.
Varied under foot and with fields of poppies breaking up crop after crop of green, the variety of vistas delivered by the constant undulating route kept eyes content.
Arriving at the final out post, Maverick’s buffet aid station, the fuel and relief many runner seeks as the miles and attrition take effect, I would spend the next 6 hours cutting up fruit, pouring water and electrolytes, dispensing gels and topping up the sweet selection of delights with Martin.
Met by course strippers and sweepers, it was the quick drive home followed by the sudden onset of sleep.
Its been a long time since I’d been to a race, in fact, it was last December at Maverick Oxfordshire where I was course checking, stripping and being a marshal.
Right now, I’m personally not in condition to race. Always running alone has meant I’ve taken some downtime, hence the limited posts on here in 2021 relating to running. However, interacting with people racing and leading runs with Maverick Run Project, fuels the passion to get out and put in the hard miles.
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. Get involved with your local races. Whether volunteering on race day, helping behind the scenes, posting out race numbers – what ever your involvement and area of interest, it gives a lot back and helps you appreciate how much goes into making a race a reality.
For anyone heading to Maverick Race Buckinghamshire (Saturday 17th & Sunday 18th July) I’ll see you there.
For more information on Maverick Race – Click HERE
For information about Maverick Run Project – Click HERE