‘Carrying’ On The Tradition

This race has been going since the First World War. It’s the only race of it’s kind in the world and although it’s had periods of non existence it now seems to be revived which is a great triumph. Ran annually since 2010 I took part for the first time last year managing to win in a new record of 5.30 for the one mile course carrying a 20KG sack of potatoes (https://chrislambracingdiary.wordpress.com/2015/06/26/flitton-potato-race-21-06-15/).

Another tradition (although one of a substantially shorter time period) seems to have come apparent in my ability to run fast while carrying heavy objects. As well as the win at last year’s potato race I have managed to set the world record of 1.35.58 for fastest half marathon carrying a car tyre (https://chrislambracingdiary.wordpress.com/2015/10/21/great-birmingham-run-fastest-half-marathon-carrying-a-car-tyre-world-record-attempt-18-10-15/) and win a 5k in 19.22 while carrying the same tyre. (https://chrislambracingdiary.wordpress.com/2015/11/29/mo-run-22-11-15-and-tunnel-vision-night-race-26-11-15/) I also came 2nd at this years UK Wife Carrying Championships, not that I am referring to my wife as a heavy object! (https://chrislambracingdiary.wordpress.com/2016/03/10/uk-wife-carrying-championships-06-03-15/). All this meant I went into the race feeling confident despite having once again ran Endure 24 just 7 days previous.

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This year the organisers had put a new incentive of a £300 bonus for the first person to break the 5 minute mile. I didn’t know about this until I arrived in the little Bedfordshire village of Flitton but having only done one specific session (a mile time trail on grass with my 20KG sandbag) and with 65 miles in my legs from the weekend before I quickly ruled this out of the equation and stressed I would purely be concentrating on trying to successfully defending my title.

The race started a lot slower than it did last year and I was feeling very comfortable. I didn’t want to push too early as its still a bit of an unknown quantity as to how fast I can go carrying such an object but I found myself in the lead and it felt like a gap between myself and anyone else was starting to open up within the first couple of minutes.

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The problem with having a sack of potatoes across your shoulders is it completely blocks your rear view and the sound of the spuds moving about means you’re also unable to hear if anyone is close to you. By half way I could sense that I had a good lead but I didn’t want to take any chances and this is where I had planned to push it up a notch anyway so on I went.

The route is from one end of the village to the other along a straight, flat road with lots of supporters lining both sides of the street. The closer you get to the finish the more people there are. This was great but did make it even harder to tell if I had anyone close enough to put up a challenge.

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As I passed some of my friends and family with around 100 meters to go someone shouted “he’s catching you” to which I responded with a sprint to the finish line. I quickly dropped my bag to the floor relieving my back and arms of the mounting discomfort and looked behind me to see that information was incorrect and I had won by a good distance (which turned out to be 18 seconds).

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I recorded a time of 5.35 so slightly slower than last year but that was due to not being pushed as hard in the first half this time. Is that sub 5 minute clocking possible? Realistically it would require a good amount of specific training and I don’t think I could do it out on my own. I would either need some strong competition to push me or a pacemaker. The date is also a key factor. If it’s a week after Endure 24 as it has been for the last two years then it will be out of my reach, if it’s not then I will certainly be giving it a good crack. Only time will tell.

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