First off, thanks to Mike Hale for getting us organised – and continuing to spark the enthusiam for off-road running.
Now, what to say about the 2011 series? The field seemed bigger, and faster, that’s for sure. Though my average pace over the series was improved over 2010, individual event placing was down. After the first couple of races it seemed like a top 10 overall finish was unlikely.
True I started my real training at Riverhead, unlike 2010 where I went in with a solid base. Though my condition improved over the series, individual event placings didn’t. What was different was the number of hotshot runners who turned up to individual events to fill out the top 10 (my gap to winning times were virtually unchanged this year).
The only new face to the full series was the impressive Sam Manson, sole series competitior in the Junior Superlong (who also smited me in every event). Net effect – dropped to 5th overall from 4th in 2010. An honest result appraisal – I don’t have competing event interests over winter and managed to stay uninjured/and relatively free of sickness, that’s it.
Much more interesting this year was the MEC battle. Turned out Lichwark left his run to form even later than mine, looks like he’ll be carrying some form into the summer events though. Mike Hale on the other hand had a cracker start to 2011, going two up at Riverhead and Shakespear (backed up by beating me in the previous Shakespear – making 3 from 3).
Given the late start to training my 2011 strategy was a risky long game: minimise loses in the first two events in favour of a committed build up to take out the last two (Whitford and Hunua – my series favourites). The middle two I thought would be the deciders. And true enough, I guess they were. I knew Mike would be out for retribution at Whitord and ran as if he were breathing down my neck the whole event. Unfortunately he was having a less than optimal day on the climbs and left me to it. Unfortunately the NS Marathon also left him a little worse for wear at Hunua, though Litchwark sub’ed in to keep the MEC motivation high.
Overall MEC outcome, 4 from 6, and a more enjoyable series than 2010 for the competition. Favourite event was definitely Woodhill, with me and MikeH going right to the line. Favourite courses Hunua and Whitford. Best results Hunua and Whitford (as was the case in 2010).
Runs looking forward – the Speights West Coaster marathon, the Tarawera Ultra 100km, then the 2012 Xterra series as a Master (yay). That and a few cycling events – though this summer will be mostly about the running.