I ran the Downland Devil 9 in 2013 and decided to return in 2014 for two reasons: 1) Improve on my time from 2013 and 2) Gain revenge on the hill (between 4k and 5k) that defeated me in 2013. For those that have not run this race before, it is a tough off road 9 miler with an elevation gain of 1,100+ feet.
We (‘Shuffler Al’ and I) arrived at Church Farm in plenty of time to pick up our numbers, have a chat with Bob, Jenny and Colin and warm up.
10am arrived and we were off. You know it is going to be a tough one when the first km is all uphill with an elevation gain of 130+ feet. I quickly settled into my planned pace and watched Al and 10 – 15 others zoom off into the distance. I felt ready and raring for the hill that defeated me in 2013 and all appeared to be going well until about two thirds of the way up when my legs could not take anymore. The Hill 2 -Gary 0 🙁 The 11th km is one of my favourite parts of the race, as it is all downhill – there is no elevation gain at all. At around the 14km mark there is another hill – it is the worst one of the race in my opinion – this is supported by the approximate 200 feet elevation gain with no elevation loss. At the summit it is thankfully downhill to the finish. I opened my legs a little (not like that ;-)) and ‘cruised’ to the finish with an average mile pace of 4:26 for the last 400m or so. With about 50 metres to go I spotted Al who said words to the effect of “He is catching you” so I looked around to see who he was on about, only to find there was no one in sight – he called my bluff and amused himself at the same time.
My finishing time was 1:03:42 so point 1 was achieved by 6 minutes, but unfortunately, point 2 wasn’t – this can only mean one thing…the same two goals apply for 2015 🙂
Gary ‘ The Headband ‘ Mckivett