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  • Writer's pictureBeth Rainbow

A Summer of Ultras

Updated: Oct 8, 2019

Having completed my first ever race last May 2018 in Jerseys half marathon, I caught the running bug very quickly. Moving straight to my first marathon in October 2018, I was inspired to take the distance even further.

I got the opportunity to go to Arundel to run the South Downs way for a weekend with one of Jerseys well known and experienced ultra runners, Leanne Rive in March of 2019. The plan was to run an ultra distance - roughly 8 hours/40miles - as practice for Leanne's upcoming races but for me just to try the distance to see how I would like it. I went having only done the marathon a few months before and running no more than 15 miles a couple of weeks before we went. I had no idea what to expect or if I would last.

Turns out I loved it! My legs were written off for a week after and my appetite grew massively eating anything in sight but the trip left me so inspired to see what my body and mind could do.

The weekend included

Friday: 40 miles, Saturday: 20 miles and Sunday: 10 miles = 70 Miles in the weekend.

I was dead but was already keen to do it again.

Leanne and I on the SDW

Double Top - Jersey - Saturday 4th May 2019 - 40 Miles - Trail

As soon as I got back I signed up for the Trail Monkeys Jersey new Double top race. A 40 miler on the North Coast of Jersey with 7,500ft elevation. I had no idea what to expect having only ever done that distance once before and struggled a lot… However, the day was fantastic!

The weather turned out to be cloudy but not too windy (wind is my worst nightmare) and all marshalls and water stops perfectly timed and filled with smiley faces.

The north coast is one of my favourite places to run, the landscapes are stunning (even on a dull day) and the trails are tough but easy to get lost in the rhythm.

Getting to the halfway point at L'Etacq - 20 miles down and 20 miles to go - I felt good and was sitting as third woman. I ate and plodded my way around the second half but still managed to hold a good pace, with my last few miles remaining strong and even finishing with a jump over the finish line!

My friend Ren joined at mile 10 - just wanting to get out and run and thought he would join me for a bit of company. Having planned to stop at mile 25, Ren carried on as he ‘felt good’ and decided to finish the race - running 30 miles with no training and only having ran a half marathon before - Bravo!

I managed to sneak in 3rd woman and under 8 hours!

Overall an amazing day and great first experience of racing an Ultra. Another great organised event by trail monkeys Jersey.

Distance: 40Miles - Time: 7:39:27

Ren and I in the first half of Double Top

Round the Rock - Jersey - Saturday 3rd August 2019 - 48 Miles - Trail

After a month off running in June due to travelling, I came back and signed up with my new running coach, Sarah Place. With a slow build to training I was anxious I wouldn’t be ready for another Ultra so soon, but Sarah made a plan that got me feeling confident at the start line. The plan was to get around the whole coast of Jersey in one piece. No time goal, no place goal - all pressure off and I just wanted to finish the 48 mile and 5,000ft elevation race.

The first 10 miles were on the road and I tried hard to not go out too fast, I succeeded - feeling good as I arrived into St Catherine's

. We then started the trails on the north coast, the same 20 mile start of the double top. I felt confident, I knew the trails and it is my favourite part of Jersey!

It was during the north coast I met David, a guy living in London from Canada. It was his first time visiting Jersey and his first ultra. We got chatting and motivated each other the rest of the route to push ourselves to go faster, helping each other out of the dark holes that occasionally comes in these ultras!

At the end of the north coast is the dreaded St Ouens bay (better known as the 5 mile road). This was the worst bit for me due to making an error of starting to run on the beach when the tide has just gone down… soggy feet when you have another 18 miles to go wasn't ideal.

We quickly aborted the beach and ran on the path alongside the road and picked ourselves up again.

We then came onto St Brelades beach - which was one of the best moments of the race for me. The sun was shining and the beach filled with people wondering what we were doing. Eventually we made it to the final 4 miles along the south coast of Jersey to the finish, I still felt strong - as we powered through 9 min/miles to the finish line. I clearly remember David asking ‘when will we stop to walk for a bit?’ as I replied ‘why would we walk when we can see the finish line!’ …. Even though it was a tiny spec across the beach in the distance (sorry John!).

I came in Second lady to 5th time winner Leanne in under 8:30hours - was super happy and just shows what can happen when you go into a race with no pressure and going all on feel!

Distance: 45.5Miles - Time: 8:24:57

John and I at the finish of Round the Rock

Next up

Time to ditch the trails for a short while and hit the roads for an autumn of shorter road races and trying for a new Marathon PB.

The next ultra is in November at the Centurion event Wendover 50, for my longest trail ultra yet!

Check out:

My strava:

Trail monkeys:

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