XNRG Pony Express 60

See following link for 2012 report.    http://kristhehungryrunner.wordpress.com/2012/05/07/race-report-new-forest-pony-express/


My girlfriend came up with this one for me as we had moved from London Battersea to Poole in Dorset. Very glad she did.
Organised by XNRG, this was the first time it had been held and will go on to be very successful. 2days, 30.5 + 30.9 miles.
Amazed to see so many Serpentine (London) club runners down in the new forest, 5 of whom I had met at Chamonix and Davos before and it is great to know them, I’ll stay in touch on Facebook.
My running partner for this year Kees is just starting outrunning and so set off an hour earlier. My plan was to catch up with him then walk together – as such I set off with speed assuming I’d see him at mile 7-8… Read on…!

The course pretty much covers the entire new forest. Open bracken rolling landscapes with fern and bush to dense forests with lush greens. I have seen enough trees now for a lifetime. I saw (ran over) 1 snake and lots of Ponys (always in the road!)
Partly an orienteering run as there are places where people have removed a lot of the Buff tape and the XNRG arrows (which we were warned of – why would people remove it, bunch of arses!). We did come across 2 places where arrows had been turned round the wrong way (actually a funny clasic joke) and three sections with nothing and so we inevitably strayed a mile off course here and there. We had an OS map but the new forest is a massive maze and getting lost was simply easy.
A small group with Kees in got lost, I got to the first checkpoint at mile 10 and realised what happened, totally gutted and then realised I’d set off to quick to keep my speed going unyet with no Kees I just kept running… The situation was only saved due to the big box of wine gums, I’ll challenge anyone who doesn’t think the black ones aren’t best. … And before anyone else comes up with it, yes I know they are not vegan!!! I’m sure they will be burnt off before my body even realised!
5 of us got lost shortly after passing Richard Bransons new forest retreat/ hotel and three miles later came back to it on the other side! By the end of the second day we got so lost that we ran to the nearest main road and followed it to the finish, which happened to be only 3 miles away to our great relief! On the main road a keen racer cyclist asked about the event (we were a group of 6 wearing race numbers), he cycled ahead a mile at a time and cheered us on to the end… another example of how nice people are in the sports/ running community. We all sprinted and smiled into the last mile.
A big thanks to:
– day 1. The chap with the gps that got me through the Ringwood maze and the last 10k!
– Day 2. The welsh chap and his mate who I don’t think stopped talking and were of great amusement through the last 10 miles!
– The wine gums (especially the black ones)
– The salty pretzels that got rid of my cramp (I had a salt deficiency leading to cramping on day 1 through miles 17-24, which was a new one for me)
We slept in a school sports hall on our own foam and sleeping bags, can’t not sleep well with 80 others in a room with you but a few Guinness, Beck’s and 30+miles is as good as a sleeping tablet!
The first day was harder than the second (I felt very strong on day 2, running the whole day with few breaks, which I can only put down to frequent eating of the right foods – salt pretzels – cliff bars – and gels plus cooler weather).
I pushed myself as hard as I dared on a 2 day event considering I wanted to enjoy it, not just chase the clock. Finished in (provisional) 10hrs40; and I am going to claim that as a 63 mile distance 😉
I ran this race with the charity name on the back and a list of races I’m running to really get the cause out there, I was amazed how many people just eat up these races for breakfast though, here are some of the other races people on the course had done/ were doing this year:
UTMB, MDS, Comrades, USA Coast to coast, Man vs horse, Spartathon, … Really I could go on… Desert series, Bad water 100, pilgrim challenge, UK coast to coast, arctic circle Ukon.

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