On Saturday I did my last long run before the UTMB. I ran from Eastbourne to Brighton following the South Downs Way in the hills, nearby the south coast. The route I chose was about 47km long. The aim for this week-end was to go to North Wales, but for various reasons I couldn't make it. Moreover, I was pretty tired by the end of the week and I only decided to go there on Friday night. Very little preparation !

The weather was quite good, very sunny but also very windy. As the wind usually comes from the West and I was mostly heading West, I had the wind in my face most of the time, or at best on my side. Unfortunately the relatively cool air combined with the wind made me forget that the sun was actually pretty strong. I'm now covered in sun burns...

The run went pretty good, although not very fast. I took my poles with me because the aim was to train in similar conditions as on the UTMB (*). I think they were a bit useless though, because the slopes were never steep enough to make good use of them. Moreover it's always a hard decision in this sort of gentle slopes whether I should run or walk... On the 3 Forts Marathon I decided to run all of them, but I took it much easier on this run. I could see lots of people seemed really suprised I used poles. A bit like when I was hiking in the Alps with them 5 years ago. Some even asked me whether I was injured !

My water tank started to leak at the beginning of the run, wasting the precious liquid and turning my map into papier maché. Well, better notice now than in the middle of the night on the Col du Bonhomme...

I eventually arrived in Brigthon after running 5h40. Compared to 4 hours on the 3 Forts Marathon, which follows a similar route, it doesn't look very good. I'm quite satisfied though because it was not prepared at all, because I had to navigate and find water, because the wind sucked a lot of power and because out of a competition I took more time to enjoy the landscape.

Ultra burnt.

(*) Mike: You'll be glad to learn that I haven't hit any nice Englishman in the **** with them :)