North Downs Way 16 Mile Trail Run
As part of my training for the 9Bar9x9 ultra in October I did a 16 mile (25.75 km) training run today along the North Downs Way, starting at Farnham and running to St. Martha’s Hill before running back to Guildford.
The classic guide to The North Downs Way (British Long Distance Trails) by Kev Reynolds describes the first section of the NDW as “not too demanding, with no major ascents or descents“. This might be true for walkers but for a runner it is at least undulating and probably better described as hilly! This run took in the early part of the second section of the NDW. This is quite tough with a long section of very sandy path that is like running on a beach. The climb up to St. Martha’s Hill is a proper hill and I watched some mountain bikers struggling to run up it.
The route has 1465ft of climbing in total and, this chart from the Runkeeper App makes it appear like a stage of the Tour De France!
I completed the run (actually 15.9 miles) in just under 2 hours 55 minutes which gives an average pace of 11.00 minutes per mile. Note that I do not stop the timer when crossing roads, taking photos etc., and I did walk up a number of the steeper sections. At this stage I am not too worried about the speed I am running – it is much more about time on my feet. I need to be build this up as the 9Bar9x9 event will probably take between 10 and 12 hours to complete.
I ate a Karrimor Energy Gel (Citrus Boost flavour) after about 5 miles and another at about the 10 mile mark. These gels contain 94kcal with 24.4g of carbohydrates. I really like the Karrimor gels as they can be taken without water and are very easy to digest. On the negative side, the empty wrapper is very sticky and makes a bit of a mess of my pocket.
This is a great training route with some varied terrain with a number of reasonably tough climbs (at least for a runner) and should be great preparation for both my next trail race (30km North Downs Run on 28th June 2015) and my target race, the 9Bar9x9 (10th October 2015).
This is a picturesque route with a nice variety of terrains and surroundings, if you run along the North Downs Way from Farnham to St. Martha’s Hill you will traverse fields, golf-courses, woods and rivers.