A couple of days after been back at home, my brand new Centurion hat on the shelf, wearing right now my new Centurion Finisher T-Shirt...yep, time to refresh my poor english and try to write a report, or for a sort of, about the last weekend on The Downs.
|Mud of glory|
Actually I should start with a couple of...let´s say, rants, that kind of runner´s rants I mean...yeah, negative stuff. Not about the race of course and surely not about Centurions. I would say, about the attitude of some runners out there.
In the weeks and days before the race in fact, I decided to shout all social media stuff out, annoyed about reading stuff like "go armed against cows", "it will rain the whole day", and the immortal "don´t worry, SDW is really doable and runnable".
I mean...what the hell?! I can even understand the last kind of post, you know? Maybe you´re one of those runners that are able to rock fifty miles just like a piece of cake, and are still so fresh and strong at the finish line. So you actually CAN define SDW as something runnable, it´s fine. Then if you´re not one of those athletes, you´ll get your arse properly kicked, fine as well.
But the other ones...man, those were reeeaaally annoying. I won´t say anything about the fact that if you read the whole infopack that the amazing James Elson wrote on Centurion Website, you´ll find that this is actually trail running, I mean...running in the Nature, and weather, mud, wind and yes...cows, all belongs to that.
You are merely a guest, an invader, and you have to respect the environment around of you, together with your fellow runners of course.
The problem or, let´s say, the thing I didn´t like, is that there`s always people ready to bring some negative stuff in The Game.
As runner, as competitor, as SDW lover, you actually have to have the pleasure, the love, to run a race like that. You have to be full of energy and good attitude, and be ready to enjoy all the challenges and moments that SDW gives you. And last but not least, you have to be an example and an inspiration for the others, encouraging people and sharing emotions and stories.
Ok maybe that was just bullshit but man, I just would to share this thoughts with you guys out there.
Now back to...positive things, back to the race.
Be patient, this isn´t absolutely a normal kind of race report, simply because I´m not able to write it in proper english. And secondly, because it would be surely boring for you (not so much competitive stuff in it).
So, let me simply tell you what I´ve seen and received from The South Downs Way on last weekend.
First of all, the whole Centurion thing. Yes, the Centurionity.
As usual, top notch! Really no questions. I mean, this is maybe the best organizer on the UK scene at the moment.
But still more important, you can really feel how hard the Centurion guys work to let you feel just like...a king, maybe? Every volunteer, every single volunteer, is there really for you. And you think again that...man, you and others runners are a mere bunch of idiots, wearing shorts and doing idiot things, ranting about blisters and cows, while this amazing group of people is still smiling after ten hours at an aid station...No volunteers, no races. Just keep that in mind.
My two MVPs of the day? The girl that checked my mandatory gear and that I´ve met again (and properly hugged) at Jevington aid station, and the girl with that amazing cow-hat at Southease aid station. You two girls were really great and so kind. Thank you so much!
Then...well, no Nici, no Centurion. My dear friend Nici Griffin (I´ve actually learned that the correct english pronunciation of your name is NiKi, sorry I had always said "C" in an italian way...:)), best hugger of all time. Such a pleasure to see her smiling and fresh at the start line, and exactly the same at the finish line. Such a nice person, can´t wait to see you soon Nici!
And then...time for legends. Two real legends actually. I´m still having little goosebumps, if I think I was able to have a hug and handshake from Luise @abradypus and Mimi Anderson (giving medals at the finish line in Eastbourne).
I mean, those girls are way more than an inspiration. They are trailblazers. Monster amount of strength and inspiration. Never, never forget who put yourself on a trail, and try to follow as much as possible their footprints out there!
And finally, of course: Mr RD, James Elson. Great pleasure to see you again sir!
So...the race...yeah, it was nice, of course. Very happy to have met again my friends Joe Delaney (we ran many miles together, always an honour buddy!) and Tim Cox (yep, I´ve actually seen you just in Worthing and directly after the shower in Eastbourne...yeah, in those days you simply run in your own League) and to finally meet the legendary Tim Lambert, best european ginger runner on the scene. I´ll see all of you guys again in June, will be awesome!
I´m pretty satisfied with my race. I wasn´t in top form of course, ´cause I´ve begun to train a couple of weeks later, compared to last year (A-race coming in Summer). I just wanted to put a good effort on the trail, and see where I am, and what I still have to do to improve my physical and mental condition. And the response was that...yeah, still have to kick my arse properly and extensively.
So now I´m going to enjoy a bit of recover, and then start to put good miles again in the legs. In may, will be time for a proper SDW100 training camp.
So thanks for your patience reading this crazy post. Have a great training, and remember: stay positive, stay strong, stay Centurion.
See you in Winchester. #RoadToSDW