UK Centurions race 2014

Date: 10th January 2021
I found this race report which I wrote after the UK Centurions race at Southend-on-sea in August 2014, so thought I would add this to my blog.


I was waiting until the results are finalised before writing my race report from last week but it looks like it will be next week before the final results are published.  The good news is that it sounds like the organisers have agreed with my lap recording and that means that I did complete an extra 5 laps and will probably be moved up one place in the results and my official time will be around 22:39.

Before I analyse my race I need to thank Zac for his support throughout the whole race – even if we did almost get disqualified when the judges suggested that he was pacing me for the 3 ½ minutes that we were watching the games 1,500m final on his cellphone on Saturday night!

Zac went to bed just after I finished my first bad patch at around 80km but couldn’t sleep and was there to support me when I really needed it over the last 60km – so thanks Zac.

The graph shows my average lap times throughout the 407 laps. I took a split time every 5 laps so each bar in the graph is the average time per lap during that 2km segment.  For the first 46km there was only a 5 second difference between my fastest and slowest (2:58 to 3:03 – 7:30/km pace). From 52km my times started to steadily decline through to 80km when I was down to what I thought (at the time) was a slow 3:26 average lap (8:35/km pace) and I was going through my first (and worst) bad patch.

I noticed that most of the other competitors were listening to their ipods – something I have never done in a race before – so Zac gave me mine and within seconds I was 15+ seconds a lap faster!  But that only lasted through to 100km which I passed in 13:06.

My second bad patch didn’t last long but I drifted out to over 4 minutes per lap and starting thinking I might not make the 24 hour time limit so at 110km I got my ipod back from Zac and again my lap times came back down – for a while.

The rest of the race was a mixture of ups and downs but overall I felt reasonably good but just couldn’t go as fast as I wanted (needed) to go.

My ‘A’ goal was sub 21 hours which I think my physical fitness was capable of but on the day I proved to myself that I still need to do a lot mentally to be able to achieve that sort of time – the plan was to average 3 minute laps for the first 10 hours but while I was back to 3:05’s at 12 hours I lost a huge amount of time between 8 and 11 hours and slowed too much after passing 100km to have any chance of that goal.  My ‘B’ goal was sub 23 hours which I achieved.

A couple other things from the race:

  • I had intended to do an easy 5km walk at Southend parkrun last Saturday morning before our midday race start (I couldn’t miss the opportunity to do a new parkrun), but the parkrun was cancelled after 800 meters when the course was closed off after the discovery of an unexploded bomb on the course – which used to be an old artillery testing site.
  • One strange side effect of the race was that my tongue became ulcerated and a little swollen and I couldn’t taste anything until about 24 hours after the race finished.  Probably a side effect of my diet during the race which consisted of fruit, business, sweets, ham, code, soup, and probably other things that I can’t remember.  Lots of calories but also lots of sugar.
  • The toilets were about 70 to 80 meters off the track so I managed to limit myself to just three toilet stops (64km, 102km and 128km) which meant a total of just 7 minutes off the track during the race.  In Auckland last year I had four stops but only had to walk a few meters from the track to the toilet.
  • I had heaps of sleep before the race but really struggled with tiredness and trying to keep my eyes open between 5 and 7am on Sunday morning. Last year I didn’t get much sleep leading up to the 24 hour race and had no problems with tiredness during the race.  Doesn’t really make sense.
  • I became the first New Zealander to walk 100 miles on a track in the UK.
  • Lastly, thanks to everyone who supported me via facebook during the race and also to my wife, Ruth, for putting up with my training – the 3am starts on a Sunday morning, the lack of work around the house due to training commitments, etc, etc.  I’m taking a month off now and then training begins again.
  • I’m going to do another 100 mile race in May next year but that is a trail race beside the River Thames (from Richmond to Oxford) and I will then have another attempt on the track later in 2015.


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