Centurion Track 100 Mile Race
A new event! After a tattooed harrier thought he would introduce me to this race, I quickly read up about it and sent off the application form. The superb organisers down at Centurion Running had concocted the idea of creating a 100 mile race with an emphasis purely focused on attempting to break ultra distance records that had been set in the 70’s.
Strict qualifying criteria had to be met and I was super stoked to be given an entry based upon my 6 and 12 hour distances that I had previously ran. Sooooo, here’s how this 100 mile track race happened at the Julie Rose Stadium in Ashford, Kent. Lap by lap……only joking, even I wouldn’t read through that bumf.
20 athletes had signed up, 8 made it to the start line and as we all lined up, the atmosphere was eerily subdued, no nerves. Suddenly the gun fires and with the East Hull Harriers vest worn with pride, one foot was shoveled in front of the other and, well, we all know how to run, so no point in describing that bit!!
First few hours flew by. An early start of 6am was a first for me, and it was only 35 minutes in that the bowels were moving, and I was praying for this not to be the story for the next umpteen hours. Luckily I had settled pretty well into a pace of under 8 minutes per mile and carried that through, for roughly 50 miles. This event was expertly catered for and every athlete had their own crew, designated table and three, yes three ways of counting every lap a runner bags. I know I’m from Bransholme, but I had never been under so much surveillance!
Due to the record breaking nature of the event, crews had engulfed the track from the fourth lane, allowing the runners to run as close to the first lane as possible whilst the crew passed nutrients, well, I say nutrients, I did consume 6 pan au chocolates, numerous Jaffa Cakes and a concoction of Vimto and cherry coke. I always get some sort of abuse from my crew, aka future Mrs Bissell. Always on hand to make sure I don’t skip meal times, like a child!!!! With a disapproving shake of her head when I refuse to be force fed, I know that she knows best.
With the weather alternating between all the usual elements that one would expect down south, pacing needed to be on point in order to not over heat or become too cold.
Miles 60 through to 80 provided the most challenging as, obviously, the legs became heavy but, by this point every athlete was in the same boat and grinding out the miles. However, food and drink was was going down well, I wasnt walking and there was no chaffing, anywhere!! Silver linings and all that……
Pace was on the decrease during these 20 miles, however, after some quick rehab, basically punching the quads for 2 minutes, I set about finishing strong for the remaining 20 miles.
Considerably faster than 9 minute (s)miling now, I was feeling relatively fresh and knew that a personal best over the 100 mile distance was close. 16:44 was the mark to beat, at the minimum, the cut off for the race was 17 hours! Into the last 5 miles and the mind began to think and assess how the body was feeling. Could I carry on for another 50, 60 miles? The answer was yes, the body actually feeling good and I was positive in what could be possible in the future over a 24 hour race.
15:15:11, race over, 5th place overall and amongst a field of international athletes who represent their country, I was, needless to say, chuffed to bits to be able to mix it with them.
The support from you all was a big part of my result and Sam ‘future wifey” was giving me all the messages, when she wasn’t abandoning me to run a different Parkrun, as I ran around in circles trying not to get dizzy! Love ya all.