Race Report: Run4RKids 6 Hour

My first timed race, my first indoor race, and my first track ultra. It went very well indeed.

Feeling strong, at about the four hour mark

I managed to cover 51.62K in six hours (222 laps of the 232.5m track), ran at an average pace of 6:58 min/km, and came in 12th out of 21 male finishers. I ran in minimalist sandals for the first five hours and barefoot for the final hour. I took fuel stops each hour on the hour, and made two bathroom stops. I’m happy with the result, as I only trained for three weeks for this one.

The venue was York University’s indoor track. This comprises a 5-lane, 200m banked rubberized track, which was used for the 5K and 2K events, and a 232.5m flat concrete-surfaced track, which was used for the 6 hour, 42.2K, and 30K events. Participants in the latter three events changed direction every hour.

Going into the race, my strategy was simple. Start at a reasonable pace – not too fast, not too slow – try to hold it for as long as possible, and accept the gradual slowing down that comes with any long-distance race. Slow down to a walk once each hour, and use that to grab a gel, a couple of sips of HEED, and half a banana from my personal aid station (a mini cooler at trackside). This fueling model worked well for me at the Vulture Bait 50K trail race I did in October. So the logic was there, and I was hoping it would pay off again.

My race kit was minimalist, as usual. I wore my Xero Shoes Sensori Venture sandals, my oldest RaceReady side-cut sorts, no shirt, and a Buff. My Garmin Forerunner 210 and my new iPod Shuffle completed the list on the technology side.

Barefoot track

I ran barefoot for the last hour of the race

Choosing a playlist for the iPod was fun. I decided to give music a try because, judging from a video I’d seen of a previous edition of the 6 Hour, facility was going to be noisy, with a good deal of echo. I chose the minimalist/ambient music of my two favourite composer/musicians, Terry Riley and Brian Eno, because I wanted a groove that I could get behind for the duration of the event. I ended up with a 5 hour and 38 minute playlist, which was just about perfect.

Running barefoot for the last hour was a real treat. Not only was the concrete track surface very barefoot-doable (as good as, if not better than, most of the sidewalks I run on in the warmer months), my pace actually picked up during that last hour of the race. No surprise to me, as I find that my form – and therefore my cadence and pace – are always better when I run barefoot. It was just the spark I needed at the end of the race.

A strong finish!

A strong finish!

This was a well-organized event, with a very engaging race director, competent timers, and enthusiastic volunteers. I plan to do it again next year.

(I’m grateful to Abdollah Dehnashi for all the photos which appear here.)

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12 comments

  1. Awesome photos. My wife said if I look half as good as you look 20 years from now, she will stay married to me 😉

    Great run! Will keep this race in mind for next year.

    1. Thanks, Anurag. (And thanks to your wife too!) I hope you will consider doing the race. I think you’d enjoy it. And, with half marathon, 30K, full marathon, and 6 hour options, you’re absolutely spoiled for choice. 🙂

    1. Each runner’s bib was tagged, and runner’s lap times, paces, and cumulative disatnces were displayed at every lap on a large screen at at the side of the track.

    1. Thanks, Nicole. I recommend it highly. 50Ks are a good start, either road or tail, and there are lots of them about. But this track business, I found, has a lot of appeal for me. And this particular ultra is a nice way of filling in a mid-winter space.

  2. It sounds like a great event and it looks like you really enjoyed yourself. Nice that you were able to keep your own personal cooler on the side. Great job Alan!

    1. Thanks, Peter. Yes, it was a great event – and I enjoyed it even more than I’d expected. The personal cooler thing was perfect for me. Not only did it allow me to schedule my fueling exactly as I wanted, the avrious things that were on offer at the official aid were all non-consumables for me (though they were standard ultra fare, such as chocolate chip cookies, gummi bears, potato chips, and, towards the end of the six hours, slices of pizza).

    1. That’s an excellent distance. I’d like to improve on mine (though I’m resigned to the fact – and relatively happy – that I’m a slow runner). The payoff, as far as I’m concerned, is that I haven’t been injured in over six years.

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