Chester Ultra 2019 – DNF

Sometimes running isn’t all Sunshine and Unicorns

I wasn’t sure whether to write this or not, I was concerned it would damage more than my ego.But I think as a few friends have said over on Facebook it is good to see that not every run is a good one and as long as we take something away from the experience,then is it really a bad one?

The weekend started well enough,I had a bit of a stomach bug at work Friday but put it down to one of those things. I drove over to Chester,completed registration and kit check and was raring to go.


The Calm Before The Storm

After checking into our hotel my Wife and I had a lovely carvery next door (I stayed away from any green veg in case of GI distress,the irony!) and I was fast asleep by 10.30.

Waking at 4 am race morning ,I felt a little off but as i’m not a morning person anyway I dismissed it and drove the short distance to the start.

After collecting my GPS tracker and a ten min delay,we was off at 6.10 AM into the lovely darkness of Waverton.

Now I love this race,and the course.The first twenty miles are flat and fast and the second half is beautiful trail running along the sandstone trail.

I felt good from the off,my foot felt ok,my calf felt like it was working again (I have had a right calf that thinks it works for Royal mail,it only been working half a day!).

As reading this blog im sure you are aware ,like the army an ultrarunner marches on its stomach and the trick is to start getting a little in from almost the start. I use mainly gels while I run and after about 45 mins I decided to take my first.It hit my stomach and almost immediately exited back in the same direction. This was odd as I always use the same SiS gels and ive used them from racing 10k all the way up to Lakeland 50 last year.

I tried a bit of water that had an electrolyte tablet in and almost the same again,straight back out. Now I was starting to panic,at last years race (it ended better and you can read about it HERE) I burnt through over 7000 calories,and you simply cannot run 50 miles if you can’t get fluids in.

Screenshot 2019-03-02 at 18.44.04

2018 stats

At CP 1 I replaced my fluids with just plain water hoping if I could get something in then I could keep moving. Unfortunately for me that wasn’t the case. I was already starting to sweat quite badly and at 8am and cool i knew I simply couldn’t continue the way i was going.

I then did something I have never done before in countless races,on road trail and fell. I phoned my wife and told her I was done.

She didn’t believe me. I like most men am a pig-headed git,I don’t often know what is good for me and continue in races even when i know i shouldn’t. I once fell in a 10k, walked almost back to the start sulking,to then pin my number back on and limp round the course ,just so I didn’t get that dreaded DNF on my record.

I’m a few years older now and while I may not be that wiser,I thought about how much of a hypocrite I would be as in my position of a coach if any of my athletes was in the same position I would go bloody mad if they tried to continue.

So I swallowed my ego (and a few man tears) and contacted the RD to let him know my intention to withdraw.

My wife tried her best to get me to try just a couple more miles,she is great at getting the best out of me and the only person I ever really listen to.

I told her,somewhat deflated that I just wanted to go home.

Problem was the bloody car was at the start and I was 4 miles away!

We stopped at our hotel to check out (and my umpteenth toilet stop) and then strolled back to race HQ.

I handed my tracker back,thanked the team for the concern and that was that. My Chester adventure was over.

So now i’m sat here on Sat evening when I should be celebrating with a beer and some rubbish fast food,sporting my new t-shirt and medal. But instead im sat wondering what exactly went wrong.

I would like to thank everyone for the lovely comments on social media,the text messages and the ever present support of the wife who has to deal with my tantrums like a petulant child.

Not every run is a good one and that’s ok.

3 thoughts on “Chester Ultra 2019 – DNF

  • You do know at royal mail we work 8/10 hour days 🙈 good read I had trouble on Saturday with podium 5km DNF due to flu but it’s sometimes a good thing I think makes people aware that’s not all easy just come back stronger.


    • Ha ha ha, Radcliffe AC chair works at Royal mail mate it was just a tongue in cheek dig at him. I spotted your podium attempt, I hope you are back to top form soon!!


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