Winter Cross Ultra

Whilst most of us were contemplating yet another day of eating our own bodyweight in cheese, two roadrunners were out on the startline of a rather unusual event over in Eng-ger-land… well … Meonstoke to be more precise. Unusual for its unorthodox cut off time and its course layout, this technically challenging event was the perfect way to burn off those regretful extra roast spuds for our ultra kings Dan Williams and Ian Russell. 

The cross shaped course consists of 4 out and back legs of varying distances and varying difficulty all to be completed between sunrise and sunset on one of the shortest days of the year. 2 distances were on offer, 45 miles taking in all 4 branches of the course and a 50k using 3. It was the slightly shorter course that our duo of distance doyens embarked upon in this post festive 50k adventure

An unearthly 2.30am wake up call closely followed by jumping, all be it bleary eyed, on the 4am ferry.

“I felt so ill when I woke up” Ian tells me “I was going to cancel altogether, but I thought I’d test my lungs in the first couple of miles just to see how I’d get on”

As the sun rose as roughly 7.30 am, the plucky pair were off, travelling North on the first leg of the race, on a fast and flattish start as they blitzed 9k along the old railway line pretty much together 

“ I felt good surprisingly” said Ian, glad his cold virus hadn’t got the better of him after all.

Eastward next and this 21k leg is the toughest of the race with 2 huge climbs as they made it up onto the South Downs Way. Dan pulled ahead slightly as Ian felt the effects on his chest on the uphills. The extra effort was worth it however as they were rewarded with some amazing views over the Solent and across to our beautiful Island that we call home. But what goes up must come down, as they completed this second leg with some chalky descents. 

The West leg. The last leg for our daring duo. Taking them through the picturesque villages of Exton and Meonstoke via the country roads and lanes. 

Dan slowed in the last 10 miles or so as his calf started twinging, but Ian got stronger and stronger, gaining positions as he went 

 “I felt awesome on the downhills” said Ian “I gave it everything I had left in those last miles” 

They both ran brilliantly to finish 14th and 15th respectively, Dan 5th in his age category and Ian 6th in his.

Dan – 4.49.23

Ian – 4.51.01