I can probably sum up the Trailman in three words: Mud and Hills. This was my second Human Race event, with the Wildman earlier in the year and as I have come to expect the event didn’t dissapoint. The last race of the Asics Off Road Series (which comprises of the Iceman, Mudman, Wildman, Tuffman and Trailman) the event hosts a Duathlon, 6km run and 13km run.
Deciding that the 13km run was the one to go for, myself and two others (Gareth and Matt) were up nice and early to head down to Eridge Park for a 10am race start. I have run at Eridge park before for the Major series and sort of knew what the terrain was going to be like but had underestimated how bad the mud would be.
Upon arriving we had to go collect our race numbers, me being 392, collected our excellent race T-Shirts and then headed back to the car to get ready and then sit and wait for the start.
9:45 arrived and it was time to head up to the start line (following a quick pre-race wee), having seen the race map I was aware that the start would be a steady downhill, which I hoped help me get into the swing of things before the inevitable uphill. A quick pre-race briefing and we were off. We had started pretty much at the front of the field and the quick pace I was having at the beginning was short lived as I hit the first of the muddy ground, it wasn’t deep but very slippy underfoot which slowed me down and I wasn’t able to keep the pace I had hoped the downhill then levelled out, and the mud got deeper.
It was at this point that I realised I had made a mistake, having not anticipated the amount of mud my trainers were not as tight as they could of been and as I was striding happily along suddenly I had a wet sock. Looking back my left trainer was embedded in the mud, causing me to stop, turn around (sock getting wetter and muddier) collect my trainer, put it on again (wet muddy sock now inside trainer) and head off again. This resulted in me losing a number of places in the field but more importantly I was thrown off my pace (and had a wet foot) however, the good news was that by left foot wasn’t going to be lonely and the right soon joined in.
After this short but costly error, the course headed uphill. This hill went on for EVER, everytime I thought it was going to end more appeared. I dropped to a walk as it was more efficient to do this than try and run the hill, and by then my legs had started to give me some pain down the outsides of the calf muscle. With the continuous hill this only seemed to get worse and I was getting concerned that I had done too much in the week and hadn’t tapered properly. When I finally got to the top of the neverending hill my legs were screaming at me.
The levelling out helped somewhat but it wasn’t long before another uphill occured and with the mud, the I couldn’t maximise on the down anyway as half the time I was having to pigeon step my way to stop slipping over.
On these runs they have people running with dogs, the owner being strapped into a harness while the dog runs ahead(at points I was wondering if I could get pulled along as well!!). This isn’t really a problem, but I did have one of the dogs stop, squat down and take a poo right in front of me which wasn’t exactly pleasant, but hey I guess if you have got to go you’ve got to go.
Being split into essentially two loops meant that the course took us over the Start/Finish after the first 7km loop (this was slightly incorrect which i will detail at the end of the post), before heading out to the 6km loop. I grabbed some water at the station and carried on, hoping the second loop wouldd be more forgiving than the first, it wasn’t.
More uphills, more mud meant that the going was tough and despite it being cool out, I was pouring with sweat. About 9km in there was a sharp decent which was difficult to navigate due to the slippy nature of the mud and by then any tread I had on my trainers was caked in mud and totally ineffective. This continued until a muddy bog which covered both my trainers completly, but hey, at least they both stayed on!
So, I had gotten to the bottom of the hill and through the bog, and you guessed it, it was back uphill again. Again a mix of running and walking, I got chatting to a guy you had done all of the runs in the series so far and he said that this was by far the toughest, which helped aleviate some of the frustration I was having not going as fast as I had hoped.
Reaching the top of the last big uphill it was a long downhill to the finish line, picking up the pace to try and claw back some time I crossed in 1hour 13minutes and 41 seconds averaging a 6:12min/km pace (read slow). A much appreaciated Lucozade sport handed to me and that was it, done.
I mentioned earlier that the distance was slightly off, in the end the course worked out at 11.9ish km, just over a full km off the advertised length, with the first loop being just under 6km and the second being 6km. Not really an issue as it was a hard run, but if it comes up short your always left thinking “if I had known I may have pushed harder”.
All in all, this was an brilliant event and I will be hopefully undertaking all the runs in the series for 2012/13 as they are well organised, with good marshalls and support, but most importantly decent T-Shirts 🙂
Link to Race on Runkeeper: Runkeeper Anthony Clark
Link to Human Race: Human Race Event Management – The Asics Off Road Series