Canalathon 50km Ultra report by Hannah Murton

Canalathon 50km Ultra

On Sunday 24th March, I took part in the Canalathon 50km Ultra, as a training run for my upcoming first attempt at a 100-mile event. It was a small event with only 32 people starting the 50km race, which was taking place on the same day as a 100km race with a  mere 9 starters. Both distances started and ended at Sowerby Bridge Cricket Club on an out-and-back route along the Rochdale Canal, with the 50km getting as far as Littleborough before turning around, and the 100km getting all the way to Ancoats in Manchester, before turning around and heading back into Yorkshire. There were a few basic aid stations along the route every 8 miles or so, but essentially you were expected to be self-sufficient.

It turned out to be a lovely sunny spring morning, which was very welcome after the erratic weather we had experienced the day before when those at parkrun on Saturday experienced four seasons in one run!

After pinning numbers to tops and attaching trackers round ankles (which made you feel like you were on day-release from prison!) we were set on our way at 8am. The ‘out’ route was on a steady incline, gradually climbing the various locks along the way, passing through the villages of Hebden Bridge and Todmorden before reaching the summit of the canal, and finally Littleborough a couple of miles later, reaching the aid station at the halfway point, and then heading back to Sowerby Bridge.

The out-and-back nature of the course meant that as I approached the halfway point, those runners ahead of me started to pass me on their way back. The lead runner passed me much sooner than I had thought he would, and it later turned out that he was aiming for the course record, which he duly broke.

I started to tire after around mile 20, causing me to start to panic about how I will tackle 100 miles when I was flagging after 20, only a fifth of the distance I’d be required to cover in just a few weeks’ time. Realistically I didn’t fuel myself properly that day, reminding myself of the importance of eating and drinking plenty over these longer distances. However, once I received a message from John to say that I was currently third female, I got a second wind, and managed to pick the pace up for the last 4-or-so miles, and even a sprint finish (or so it felt like, the video of me crossing the finish line suggests otherwise!). Imagine my disappointment then to discover that prizes were only given to the winner and runner up! It didn’t matter though as I felt like I’d banked a solid training run, and improved upon my previous 50km time by around 40 mins. So all things considered, it was a great morning.

I was the only Strider, finishing in a time of 05:34:20

The race was won by Grant Jeans (unaffiliated) in 03:26:53, with Laura Bardsley (unaffiliated) the first female finisher in 04:18:54

Strider results

Place Name Category    Time
15 Hannah Murton F    05:34:20

Full results


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