Yesterday I took to the start of the WUOC long distance here in Olomouc, Czech Republic and came out with my best overseas performance. As expected based on the training and model events from last week it was one massive route choice exercise with a high portion of running on trails. The terrain was very typical of continental Europe with broad hills, numerous tracks and green areas scattered throughout white forest. This is not terrain I am familiar with coming from New Zealand but it hasn’t taken long to get used to as it isn’t especially complicated.
After feeling a bit panicked yesterday in the sprint relay I was determined to keep relaxed. I think I achieved this today and I took the first leg, which was very short, very slowly because I needed the time to plan leg 2 which was the first of many epic route choices. I ran aggressive and straight for this leg. From this leg on there was a lot of track running which gave me plenty of time to plan ahead and pick the best routes.
I was running perfect up until number 9 where I was too high and lost about 30 seconds. I ran on the track for the next leg to avoid the hill and used this time to plan the most significant route choices in the last half of the course. It took about 2 minutes to make a decision on the 4 route choices and I was happy with my choices. I ran through a number of other runner throughout the course but I never had the opportunity to run with someone who was at my pace. I made another small error at 15 where I was too high once again on a contouring leg and lost another 15 seconds exciting number 17 with a poor direction. It’s hard to work out how much time is lost from not taking the best route but from discussions after the race it appears that all of my routes were good.
I finished in a time of 91 minutes and 32 seconds and ended up in 23rd place and only 2 and a half minutes off the top 10. The mind blowing times posted by the top runners are very inspiring and it will take many more years of hard training to be able to run that fast for that long. Results and maps can be viewed here.