Thursday, 4 September 2014

Belper Rugby Rover

The Rugby Rover is a classic local race. It's offroad and it's hilly which is why it has often been on my shortlist. Despite me regularly training on this route, I've only raced it once before back in 2010 where I'd run it in a reasonable time of 2:17. Having a previous time on a race can be a good thing and a bad thing - good in that you've got a benchmark and bad in that you've got a benchmark !
Rugby Rover Route Map, clockwise
Prep wasn't ideal this year - in fact far from it. My drinking game induced hamstring injury of Jan 14 is getting worse and my left heel has been just niggling for a month or so now but not enough to stop me entering. Plus, I was on holiday for a week or so after this so it would be good to go off with a hardish race in my legs.

Race day was perfect conditions and Chris and Andy were down too along with many other regulars from the club - inc Shaun and Jack.
Rugby Rover Route Profile
Now although this race is "hilly and offroad" it's not until you've got to the highest point of the race that you suddenly realise "it's not that hilly after all and is really runnable". Can you see where this write ups going ???

Yes, the pace seems to get faster every year and in reality it is really a trail race, not a fell race so it was no surprise to see the fast guys leaving me for dead on any flat sections. I really didn't feel able to push off with my heel either so I just thought it best to settle into the "fast but enjoyable" pace which later turned into "trying to be fast but is probably quite slow" pace. The latter half of the race saw my niggles get worse and so on the run in down Wyver Lane people were bombing past me who I'd overtook several miles before!

Overall, it was an enjoyable blast with generally great weather (although more headwind than seemed reasonable!) and fine views but I really died after the high point of the race at Alport Heights. My time was 5 mins slower than 4 years ago (2h22 vs 2h17) so can't be that bad.

Nice to see Saul, Ian and Tom out taking photo's and mum came to cheer me on at the finish line too.

Full Results here
Strava link here

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