Written by Steve Worrallo – http://www.ultrarunningltd.co.uk
The Green Man Ultra 2015 – GIRL POWER
With the race capacity, which had been set this year to 300, and sold out some two months before the race (50% up on the previous year which was also sold out at 200), the Long Ashton Community Centre was bursting to the brim.
In spite of the numbers, everybody still managed to adhere to the bib registration deadline of 07:30, allowing for a punctual and somewhat humorous race brief by Simon Blackburn. Simon highlighted the fact that today was also the 60th birthday of Kes Aleknavicius, a great way to mark the occasion, with wife Carol having created a selection of unique and delicious cupcakes.
It was also impressive to note at the race brief how many “first-time” ultra-runners there were attending the event.
The 2015 race was different to previous GMU races in many ways:
- This year we were strictly holding competitors to a 12 hour cut-off to achieve ‘Woodwose’ status.
- We had introduced ‘Time Lords’ for completing the course in 9hr, 10hr, 11hr and 12hr. Obviously if you find yourself behind the 12 hour Time Lord it is likely you will fail to achieve the 12hr cut-off.
- Chip-timing controls were in place with live feeds in real time so that friends and family could monitor progress and add comments of support.
- The introduction of ‘5’ different medal types – Top 50, Top 100, Top 150, Time Lord and the Standard GMU which is equally as awesome.
- Performance Green Man Tec T for finishers.
- Unique Green Man Trophies.
The 9hr Time Lord was represented by Mark Ducker who sported a large balloon so he was easy to spot. The 10hr Time Lord was Dave Fawkner, the 11hr Time Lord Mike Karthauser. The most vital of Time Lords was Rob Dickson as he was aiming for a smidge under the 12hr limit. Fortunately Rob is a Green Man legend and completes the course several times a year so navigation for Rob is a formality.
Stu Wilkie, the 2014 champion, had volunteered to lead the runners through the initial series of streets before setting everybody free to run at their own pace.
So, with addition of the ‘Wings’ girls from Red Bull offering support and the clock ticking down to 08:00 the GMU 2015 was underway.
Brian Robb, who is current Green Man Midnight Express Champion, went off like a train and at CP1 he had already achieved a 4 minute lead. Following Rob was Clare Prosser, Campbell Murdoch, Scott Harris, Alan Tomlinson and Phil Taylor.
Indeed, everybody was doing well with all the competitors clearing CP1 well inside 2 hours.
The weather was forecast to hold dry with sunny spells and it wasn’t disappointing – conditions were ideal.
CP2 saw much the same with Brian Robb extending his lead to now just over 5 minutes.
In the process of setting the food and drinks out at CP3 we could hear cheers as the lead runner approached – but it wasn’t Rob! Clare Prosser had run an excellent leg and was now closely pursued by Scott Harris, just a minute off the pace.
Clare’s pace was now getting our attention. She was looking strong and her time was remarkable, being way inside the previous ladies record and right up there with previous course records.
All the entrants were doing exceedingly well on time restraints, with only a small minority having to drop out due to injury niggle issues etc,. Unfortunately for Aubrey Gardner, in the process of tackling a stile, she managed to break a finger resulting in a visit to A&E, but still she remained in good spirts with a smile. So too Steve Cox, who was forced to incur a hospital visit due to an electrolytic imbalance – which highlights to all of us the issues which can occur with our sport which we must always be aware of.
With tomorrow being International Women’s Day it was most fitting that we should have a little precursor to what that really stands for – Girl Power. We had expected a quicker course time this year, as the new location was some two miles shorter, but we never expected such an extraordinary finishing time of 6hr 25min! So well done to Clare Prosser who beat all the girls and all the boys to become GMU overall Champion 2015!
Scott Harris took the Men’s Champion place with a very credible 6hr 40min. Alan Tomlinson third in 7hr 17min and Brian Robb fourth in 7hr 20min.
Bryan Stadden was Men’s Veteran Champion in 13th place with 7hr 52min.
Claire Graham was Ladies Veteran Champion in 85th place with 9hr 30min.
Bruce Ballagher was Mens Canicross Champion in 87th place with 9hr 31min.
Venessa Hawkins was Ladies Canicross Champion in 84th place with 9hr 30min.
And the Individual Team Champions were ‘Potty Port’zed’, beating second place team, The Three Amigos, by just five minutes with an average time just under 9 hours each.
All the Time Lords did an excellent job and were appreciated by all that joined their groups. Rob Dickson, who was carrying the responsibility of just arriving inside the 12hr cut off, managed it with just 92 seconds to spare – perfect timing!
Congratulations must go to all of the finishers for taking on and completing the challenge.
I wonder what will be new for the GMU in 2016?
Entries will open soon for 2016 www.ultrarunningltd.co.uk