Race Review: Lydd 20

Against my better judgement I signed us up for Lydd’s inaugural 20 Mile race taking place on 8 March (I am a bit behind on race write-ups). The half marathon is well established but the 20 miler was a new addition for 2015, I presume to fall in with Brighton marathon training plans. Jools spotted our friend James posting about it on Twitter, Jo jumped in as well and all convinced me I could easily squeeze a flat 20 between my first ultra and my return to the CTS Sussex Half. Upon reflection they were right from a fitness perspective but let’s be honest up front, I really wish I hadn’t bothered.

The day actually started well, parking was easy, bib collection easy and at the time we arrived the loo queue was minimal. It was lovely to catch up with James & Teresa before the start but it all started to go a bit wonky after that. Picked on in the starting queue for running with a pack (I am glad I did but more on that later), at least I didn’t come in for as much stick as the guy who was blatantly kit testing for the MDS. It was club runners galore and everyone was very serious, they were training for marathons after all! Both the half and the 20 started together and we were soon underway.

Lydd is flat, if you want a flat race across local lanes with nothing to seem but flatness and the odd sheep then this could be the race for you (assuming you are local to Lydd, otherwise the lanes won’t be local). I started well and kept a steady pace as planned, averaging about 6:30/km. I was testing out my new X Bionic Fennec shirt, and it seemed to be performing well. It was quite sunny but I didn’t feel like I was overheating, so the £80 may actually be justified.

The course had an out and back section at about 3 miles in, it was nice to spot some familiar faces & I did get a positive comment about my Lululemon skirt, in fact things were pretty good until the half marathon turnaround point. It was probably around here that boredom started to kick in, even with my headphones I was simply bored. The running was fine, I felt OK but I was struggling with why on earth I was bothering. I passed the Boyf at about the 8 mile point….when I say passed I mean he was at the 12 mile point and I was at the 8 (it being an out and back course). By now I was hot & grumpy in addition to being bored. I reached the 10 mile point in 1:46:40 (average pace 6:40/km) and the half marathon point in 2:24:19 (average pace 6:52/km) so I was running quite well but I just wasn’t enjoying it. It was then that every little thing started to niggle. The marshals at the water station that were frustrated there were at least 20 people behind me (at around the 12 mile point), the fact I was told I was lucky I was so slow because it meant they’d had extra water delivered (speedier runners had had to go without)….it all built up until I was nearing the 14 mile point. Did I care enough to do the stupid, mini out and back or should I just go straight forward to get home quicker & just embrace the DNF. I messaged the Boyf for a bit of a grumble, he’d finished but wasn’t that enamoured with the race either. I came to the cross roads and decided to go straight on. I informed the marshal what I was doing and offered up my number to be struck through so they knew I wasn’t going to cheat but they didn’t care. I slipped into a run/walk, more walk than run and was pleased to meet the Boyf about 3km from the finish as he had walked out to meet me. By this point I was really miserable, I had been picked on by another marshal, “don’t walk love it’ll take you longer to get there” (not said in a cheery encouraging way but a dictatorial, don’t be lazy way), but soon enough we were back at the finish. I reported in as I wanted to make sure they didn’t end up looking for me out on the course when I didn’t show on the finish list. They didn’t seem that bothered though.

I am so glad I hadn’t given myself a kick up the backside and fought on to finish as I found out on Facebook later that day that they had run out of medals. Having taken too many “on the day” entries is meant that the slower runners missed out. Yes they made up for it by posting us out medals and a free race t-shirt a month later (yes, even to me the non-finisher), but that’s not the point. Poor organisation doesn’t excuse you missing out on a medal on the day, especially because the slower runner often fights just as hard, or harder to get to the end than the speedier runners.

I won’t be doing Lydd 20 again. If you like local races for local run clubbers then this may be the race for you but I would advise taking your own water and medal!

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