The remit for a long distance planner is 90-100 mins by the best, i.e. a Georgiou or a Hubmann. All the feedback (I talked with a number of the elite and coaches) was that it should be a 'proper' long distance, so aimed for the top half of the range. Last time the JK was run here, it was won in sub-5 m/km (79:50 for 16.2km). At the point he retired, GG had run one-third of the course and almost half the climb in under 5m/km, as had the top 5.That all suggests that in normal conditions, it would have gone near or under 100, and given that GG is a few minutes off the very best.....
The fact is that, arguably, outside WOC there has hardly been a full length long distance race in this country. Even Race the Castles at Balmoral only managed it by 42 seconds, and there hasn't been a JK yet where a top elite is likely to have run the course in over 90 mins. Last year's was definitely under-distance (it would have had to have been 17k/800m climb to have hit the middle of the range). Interestingly, I see you took 107 last year, and 119 this year. If the course had been set for the middle of the range last year, you would have run around 117 at the same pace.
I've been told by several elite that British long distance courses tend to be under-planned; maybe that's the real problem? Glad you got some enjoyment out of it though!
Fair point about the other things though - that needs to be looked at..
I think having let the dust settle on it for a few days I'm happy to admit that I'm wrong. Those mpk times do stack up, and I think without that bad 30 minute window of hail everyone would be raving about the course! I've not really raced many (if any) full blown longs, having done (I think) just 6 elite long races - all a lot shorter than this. So having not done any half marathons on the road this was the longest race I have done (bar the OMM C in 2012, but that's a very different prospect), and I think that was my reasoning behind thinking it was too long was psychological more than anything. I also didn't take quite enough food so was suffering badly on the last loop, major error on my part there!
So I think that you're right, maybe this shows that we need more of these type of races. It was definitely a proper long distance, no arguing there, and I'm glad that such a course was planned to truly challenge everyone, I know I was. With no watch out there it was a great mental battle to keep going and run solo throughout; I don't know if I've actually enjoyed a long as much before. Also, the helpers out on the hills at the water points did a great job - I think they suffered just as badly, if not worse!
Thanks Will. Well done on both finishing and the result - a good run in those conditions. On food: interesting how many gel bar packs I picked up by controls and crossing points whilst collecting in, especially round the top loop.
Thanks a lot! I'm surprised those packets didn't blow away - I tucked mine in my jacket pocket. I took 2 gels and a handful of jelly babies, having some of them between 12-13 and the gels on 20-21 and 25 respectively. It seems a lot of people took the opportunity to take a gel whilst getting their cag on, possibly a big psychological factor into getting themselves to continue up on that loop? I reckon another gel would have done me fine, but if I wasn't dying in that last loop then maybe I hadn't tried hard enough! Interesting looking at the splits that Johansson hit that top section in the bad weather and still got the fastest splits - clearly they breed them hard in Sweden.
And that's another thing! Instant disqualification for anyone seen dropping a gel packet or similar? Or everyone to put their bib number on gel packets so that they can be dsq'd if any are found out on the hill? It would only take the odd spot check. There is just no excuse for this!
Waterpoint I'd say fair enough, they can be cleared up pretty easily along with the cups/there's normally bin bags. A control not so much, if you can get them out of a pocket on the move you can get them back in, definitely no excuses there! You wouldn't drop it on a walk, so why on a run? That said I'll hold my hands up, I've definitely been guilty of leaving a gel at a control in the past: bonking badly and I just dropped it at the control, assuming that it would be collected with the control. Still though I agree, no excuses, its not going to slow you down carrying an empty gel packet/putting it away.
I must say Awk - I think it was a bit underplayed - I felt a bit robbed of the extra 300m that would have made it a round half marathon!