23rd March 2013
Birling Gap, Sussex
27.2 miles, 4218ft ascent/descent

Endurance Life CTS Sussex startA year ago I ran my second ever trail marathon at this event. The weather was amazing and despite a bit of an injury, I had a really good day. I had been looking forward to running here again, although this time I had entered the 34 mile ultra. Falling so many times in Gran Canaria had shaken my confidence a bit so I decided to go really steady and just enjoy the day.
We got to the race HQ for 7.30am and it couldn’t of looked any different to the previous year; it was cold (-2c with the wind chill) wet and windy. Most people were armed with gloves, wooly hats and rain jackets and still looked freezing, not exactly the stuff dream runs are made of!Endurance Life CTS Sussex Marathon At 8.40am we were off. I ran the first few miles with Kris and a friend of ours Pete, before they sped up and pulled away. Despite the grim weather, thanks to my double gloves and bobble beanie combo, I was pretty toasty. I put on my music and settled into a easy pace. At the first checkpoint I grabbed some obligatory jelly babies from the very cheerful crew and moved on. It got pretty muddy as we ran back to the coast through Friston Forest but I actually managed to stay upright. At checkpoint 2- 13 miles- I felt fine and tucked into a gel, having had a 9Bar on one of the previous hills. Then I realised I didn’t have any more food. I hadn’t eaten breakfast either. This was not good.
A few miles later we looped back past the race HQ and picked up the coastal path towards Eastbourne. The headwind was super strong and at this point I suddenly felt incredibly tired and dizzy; I was having a proper, textbook bonk. Grimly I put on my beanie, pulled my buff up ninja style, got my head down and started walking. A Gran Canaria repeat, how had I not learnt my lesson?!
Endurance Life CTS Sussex CliffsI walked pretty much all of the way to the next checkpoint and decided that I would pull out here. I definitely couldn’t finish the ultra and doubted I could make it around the marathon course in this state. Unfortunately, the crew had all but run out of food. There was one pack of bourbon biscuits left with five biscuits. I actually stood in front of the little plastic table staring at those biscuits for a full minute. The lad manning the checkpoint probably thought I was bonkers. I felt bad doing it but in the end I decided to take them all (Endurance Life, please make sure the checkpoints have more food!!) and keep going. It worked, after about 10 minutes I started slowly running again. I eventually finished in 5.09, nearly 30 minutes slower than the previous year. From now on my pack will be adorned with a big sign – TAKE FOOD. My next race is the 52 mile Maxi Race in the Alps. I plan on taking a full picnic 🙂

6 Replies to “Endurance Life CTS Sussex 2013”

  1. Kelly, Always love reading your reports! Sounds like such a cold day! I ran CTS Sussex a couple years ago, but only the Half marathon. I love EnduranceLIfe, but the issue of food seems to be a common them, not having enough, or any for that matter – specifically for the ultras. During the UTSW 100, I specifically check and rechecked the list that said they would have fruit, potatoes, crips… etc at each checkpoint. Comming to the first CP at 12 miles or so, I was completely shocked to see only gummy bears or some candy. This through everything out of whack, and I know we shouldn’t rely on the CP for food, but I’d trained my body too eat lots of food early. I carried food with me, but not enough for 100 miles. At 30 miles the CP at Land’s End was nearly out of food, I got the last cup of soup, last Peanut Butter sandwhiches…. and by 56 Miles at St. Ives, there just wans’t any food anywhere on the course… I couldn’t gain the energy back that I’d built up a deficit too. I remember tweeting and posting during the race my anger that there was no food anywhere! How can you have a 100 mile race and no food?! I managed to buy some fruit and a hamburger in St. Ives, but by 66 miles the damage had been done, I hadn’t eat enough food early enough and simply was so deficient in everything I needed that I could continue on. I burned 9,000 calories in 24 hours on the SWCP, but maybe only consumed 2,000 calories in 24 hours, mostly my own that I brought. I think it was a learning point for them… but sad to see this is still an issue! Well done though on your 5:09 finish, and good luck in your next race in the Alps! I’m jealous:)

    1. Hi Israel, thanks for your comment! Yes it was cold, its so wet in the UK as well, I always seems colder than in the mountains.
      In regards to Endurance Life, they do many things right – good race briefs, clear marking, cheerful crew, well organised sign in etc but I always wish they would have more food and maybe some energy drinks at the checkpoints. To be fair, the CTS events are advertised as semi supported so it was completely my fault yesterday that I didn’t have enough food. For the UTSW, if food was promised, that is a different story. The thing I’ve (hopefully) now learned is – always take plenty of food, supported or not.
      Ps yes very excited about my next race although I really need to pull my socks up and get some training in. Good luck with all your adventures this year, some epic races planned! Def want to see a report of the Tour de Geants, it looks epic 🙂

  2. Well done on finishing – sounds like the weather made it a very different event from last year. But did you finish the distance you actually set out for, or did you finish after completing the marathon course? Anyway – well done!

  3. I’ve never seen more than water and perhaps the odd jelly baby at and Endurancelife event so always take plenty. In fact, its one of the reasons I’ve stopped doing their races as I just dont think they are value for money at £50 a race. I’ve found so many other events that cost hardly anything and you could put on a stone in weight at each aid station! Good job getting round though, it looked a lot different to last years race where I got burnt!

    1. I should of known better and taken more food. It does annoy me that EL do seem to have food, but I normally get there when its just running out. They ought to provide for everyone, fast and slow, or no one at all! I was glad to get around though…the weather was definitely a lot colder than last year.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: