Ranscombe Spring Challenge

For Adam’s birthday back in January we planned to run the Jeskyns Challenge nr. Gravesend. This was called off/postponed as the park was too wet and running the course would have damaged the park. Fair enough.

I took this as an opportunity to move my place to the Ranscombe Spring Challenge on 9th April, with the plan that I would be able to run much further 3 months further into my training.

Saxons, Vikings and Normans run many (basically every weekend and some mid-week) well-organised, well-supported, interesting runs in locations (mainly parks) all over Kent. I think the majority of these are timed events; you get a certain time (6/8/12 hours) to run as many laps of the route as you want/can. For many of the runners this is a chance to take your time running a marathon/ultra, and all races of this distance count towards joining the 100 Marathon Club.

This one was an 8-hour timed event, completing laps of 4.4 miles (3 for a half, 6 for a full marathon and 7 for an ultra).


I set my ABC goals as:
A – 4 laps: 17.2 miles (well over my 16 miles planned for the weeks’ LSD)
B – 3 laps: a trail half marathon
C – 1 lap (as it would get me the massive medal!)

The course was hard: it was hilly (the second mile was basically all uphill and meant a lot of walking), the second lap had some pretty consistent rain and the third lap was just mud, mud, mud.

But I completed the three laps: a trail half marathon. Not bad eh!?

I had a massive crisis of confidence after lap 2 and was ready to give it up (after asking if anyone else had bowed out and finding that many had) but I was geed on by the lovely lady on the aid station and I got back out there.

I must have missed Adam by minutes as he finished his half in around 2:13 which would have been about when I went out on my third lap. (He has been recovering from knee/ITBS so think this was a big thing for him: thoughts of never running again had been playing on his mind I think.)

I finished my muddy lap and could not have been more glad to stop, ring the bell to show I had finished, drink, eat and put on something warm.

Adam had been stood around for 45+ minutes without nothing much to do or anything warmer to wear so I found him in my too-short-on-him jacket and think he was very glad to see me plod towards him as it meant he could go home!

I didn’t see my time when it was written down: my watch said under 3 hours (paused for loo and food/drink breaks) but the official time said 3:07:

Claire Smith 13.10 03:07:25

I’ll take that. And the amazing goody bags you get at SVN events:


It wasn’t the 16 miles I was supposed to run last week but I think 13 miles of hard trail should compensate for the 3 miles missing. (Please don’t tell me different – I don’t want to hear it!)

This week is a ‘strengthening’ 12 miles, followed by 18 the weekend after. Only just over 6 weeks to go now…

Training Plan Status:
Weeks completed: 11/18
Runs completed: 34 (pre-Half: 25/32)
Miles run: 191.0
Longest run: 15 miles (03/04)

Oh, and I ran in Norfolk on Tuesday (on my 31st birthday): a short, flat (but hard on the legs) 5k with Adam in gorgeous scenery just before a massive birthday curry!





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