I decided to run the Oldham Way Ultra as a part of my training for an unsupported event that I?m doing next month ? to attempt to run Hadrian?s Wall in record time. My Hadrian?s Wall run will take place on April 16th, so I thought that the Oldham Way Ultra would be a great way to check my navigation, fitness levels and nutritional strategies. To be honest, I wasn?t expecting the spectacular views; I thought we?d spend most of the time in urban surroundings! On the day I was welcomed by some great drum and bass tunes outside the Castleshaw Centre, which gave us all an energy boost before the race. Registration and kit checks were quick and easy, and we had access to toilet facilities and plenty of hot tea/coffee, like it should be! Race briefing and off we go, spot on?7:30am!
The first part of the race was pretty hilly and followed some very runnable trails. I must admit, navigation was tricky from the beginning so some of the runners, including me, added a few extra yards by taking wrong turns! After the first 5 miles, three other runners and I were in the lead. We helped each other with the navigation, keeping close together. Just before the second check point, we lost one of our group and then the length of the canal was run at a comfortable pace – 7min/mile.
The canal path was a good place to regenerate before hitting the hills again! I manged to lose one of our group (Phillip) shortly after we left the canal and, a few miles later, Tomas was unable to keep up with my pace when we faced the first long climb.
From the 26th mile I continued my journey alone. The scenery after the canal run really surprised me – beautiful views over the hills, little villages and valleys – you couldn?t ask for more, especially with the beautiful weather we had! I still felt really fresh and the run along the valley and reservoir was pure pleasure! I stopped for few seconds at the last check point to grab a piece of fresh watermelon and a cup of water and plodded along to climb those last hills and finish with unexpected victory! 6:21:03 for a training run made me really happy, especially after all the navigational mistakes!
Congratulations to all runners, especially to Phillip Hayes for 2nd place and Tomas Braziulis for being 3rd in his first ever ultra! I would highly recommend Red Rose Ultra. It is a very well organised event with beautiful scenery and variety of terrain. It is ideal to test your navigation skills and perfect for your first, or 10th, ultra. Many thanks to all of the Marshalls and Team OA. I can?t wait to run it again next year.