Threshold Trail Series 2018
Updated: Jan 14, 2022
Having thoroughly enjoyed the previous 2 years of running the Race to the King organised by Threshold Trail Series I thought I would set myself a slightly bigger challenge of running all three of their trail Ultras in one year.
Race to the Tower - Stroud to Broadway Tower
Race to the King - Arundel to Winchester Cathedral
Race to the Stones - Lewknor to Avebury
That would involve two 50 miles races and one 100km (60+ miles) over a 6 week period, thinking that there would be enough time re recover between each and that all three would would be good preparation for the CCC at the end go August.
(Since I last ran one of their event they have added a fourth race and changed the route for the race to the king.)
Race to the Tower #RTTT
Race day started off relatively overcast and cool when I set off with the first wave of runners. Having learnt from my previous experience of going out too fast I made a conscious effort to take the first half of the race relatively steady and not get sucked into racing others around me as some of them would be finishing at the half way mark.
A few miles in and I was feeling strong and really enjoying the route until I kicked a tree route very hard with my big left toe. Other than that slight little trip up the race was going rather well, enjoying easy conversation with other runners as we passed each other, until I suffered little cramp at the halfway cramp as i decided to do a silly jump for the camera - the heat of the day starting to take effect. At half way I took my time to refill and refuel allowing others to rush passed me.
I had not set a race target as I was treating it as a training run for the CCC, that was until a fellow runner said that we were looking good to be finishing in under 10 hours. This race now looked as if it could be interesting. Toying with the idea of whether or not to go for sub 10, I decided just to push a little bit harder if my body would allow without breaking myself as I knew i had 2 more races to come in a short period. With about 16 miles to go I was passed by the runner who initially suggested sub 10 hour saying that we needed to speed up with we wanted to beat 10 hours, only to find him at the last check point utterly exhausted and beaten telling us that we were never going to make it in time. At this point I did not mind and just carried on with my race only for him to pass me again (clearly having found his third or fourth wind) and say that we could make sub 10 if we hurried up. With one climb to go I decided to just let him go.
With around 400m to go and just before getting to the tower my father saw me who said he thought that I was in 20th position. This was unexpected and maybe I should have pushed harder as I crossed the finish line to receive my medal and can of 0.0% Heineken to find that i had finished overall in 19th position in a time of 10:00:22. Maybe if I had not stopped for a quick wee or decided to push a little bit more I could have gone sub 10, but I knew I had other races coming up and the heat of the day had drained me more than I realised.
Race to the King #RTTK
Having previously really enjoyed the other 2 Race to the Kings I had completed I was looking forward to seeing how much I had improved seeing as I had been able to knock 2 hours off my time between the first and second races. Thinking I was fully recovered from the Race to the Tower and slightly annoyed that I did not make sub 10hours I decided that I wanted to push harder this time and see how well I could do.
In reality I do not really remember much about this race other than it was once again really hot and my body felt as if it was suffering the effects of the previous run and never really settled into the race. That being said I still managed to finish in 49th position in a time of 10:27:06, slightly disappointing as the distance was the same as the Race to the Tower but also flatter, a personal best none the less.
Race to the Stones #RTTS
Race to the Stones is one of the most popular Ultras in the UK, as will all the events run by Threshold it is very well organised and with fantastic check points.
I just did not enjoy it. Not because of the event, the route, the checkpoints or anything other than my body was too beat up and it was too hot. I had not been able to run between the events i just did not feel like it, my knee hurt and I was just drained. The summer of 2018 was warm and it got warmer each race.
The second half felt as if it was really dragging and my thoughts had already turned towards the CCC the following month and how I needed to make sure I was able to recover in time. Finishing in a slightly disappointing time of 13:25:31 and in 126th position, fresh I should have finished in sub 12 hours. That being said this was a good learning experience for doing multi day races in the Future.
I'm not sure what I was expecting but the Stones in Avebury are not Stone Henge, you run a circle around them have your picture taken then run back up a road you've already run down to finish at a farm. A slight damper compared a finish line being a Cathedral or near a tower with tented marquee giving those events a better 'feel'.
Out of the three events I would not rush back to run the RTTS. The RTTK was where it all began for me, but they have now changed the route and it does not seem that appealing anymore. RTTT was a fantastic event and to me the most enjoyable of the three and one that I am planning on running again one day. Since I ran all three in 2018, Threshold have created a fourth event Race to the Castle, that I am yet to run.
Key kits and bits
Trainers: Salomon S/LAB ULTRA
Watch: Garmin Fenix 3
Pack: Ultimate Direction PB Adventure Vest 3.0
T-shirt: Inov8 / Kalenji / Decathlon
Shorts: Salomon S/Lab Sense
Socks: CEP run sock 2.0
Cap: Inov8 Race Ultra Running Peak Running Cap / Outdoor research
Nutrition (carried by me)
SIS - Gels
SIS - Beta Fuel
SIS - Electrolyte tablets