Monthly Archives: April 2017

Mat Pears – Back In Harness; Liuzhou, China 70.3

Having not donned the race belt for 18 months, it was nice to get back into action in Liuzhou, China for their first time hosting this 70.3 distance event.

My excitement was quickly shunned when I arrived the day before to bad weather, traffic all over the road making a spin out on the wheel’s nigh on impossible and pollution clouding the air.
But all impressions were quickly dispelled come race day as the there were clear skies, sun shining, clean, fast, flat roads, beautiful scenery and very good organisation, including 5000 police / officials that lined the whole of the bike course. Yes…. five thousand!

Not for the life of me was my swim as fast as it suggests (21 minutes). It was a very very chilly (15 degrees) river swim from A-B from a self seeding swim start with a current very much in our favour. But 3rd in my AG and 13th overall at this stage.
T1 was probably the toughest part of the day, out of the cold water and straight into 74 brutal steps towards a long transition, and when the feet are close to frozen, this wasn’t easy.

A relatively smooth transition, after the stair climb, and onto the two loop bike course. The roads were wide, flat, and with the split recorded (2.19) ….very fast. The legs didn’t feel amazing but I was super happy at this stage with the overall time.

I came off the bike in 4th in my age group to start a run that wasn’t as flat as I thought with many false flats either up or down. I could tell from km 1 that the legs just weren’t there and for some reason the back was wanting to tighten up as well and by 7km I found myself walking slowly through the aid station to try and relieve the stiffness. I cracked on again battling thoughts of a potential DNF… I couldn’t have accepted that, so I got my legs going and eventually it started to ease and I found a little bit of rhythm, to finish the run in 1.33 and cross the finish line with a time of 4.20, 6th place in my age group and 43rd overall.

A slight bit of disappointment over my run performance but despite that, super happy with the time and an offer of a 70.3 World Championship slot in Tennessee ,USA in September. Sadly I didn’t accept due to work commitments but may shoot for it again next year in South Africa.

Onto the next one…. Vietnam 70.3 in May.

Recovery Run – Hardmoors White Horse Trail Marathon +

Toed the line at the White Horse Trail Marathon + (28 miles, 4000 feet elevation) at Sutton Bank on Sunday 9th April. I’m doing the double Grand Slam this year – 4 ultras (30, 55, 60 & 110 miles) and the 7 trail marathons. This was the 2nd of the 7.
It was a glorious day, sunshine all the way. Most people found it too hot but I thought the conditions were perfect, the ground had firmed up since I was last out on the moors the Wednesday before. I carried a litre of fluids and took advantage of water and Pepsi at all the aid stations.

The course was brilliant with some nice long runnable sections and fantastic views. There are some distinctive Hardmoors features though – the immediate descent off the moors to Gormire Lake, just so you have to climb all the way back up again. Also Hawnby Village where you climb out up Hawnby Hill to drop back down to the village so you can also climb Murton Bank (25%) – oh how we laughed and joked going up there.

My run was the best Hardmoors that I’ve ever done. I started a couple of years ago as a finisher but too close to the cutoffs for comfort. I finished this race 49th (of 133) and 7th (of 22) in age group.
Hardmoors 110 next – 110 miles (the whole of the Cleveland way, Filey to Helmsley), 6000metres of climbing, 36 hour cutoff.