1. Stuart Mills will be hoping this year’s Fling is a 53 miler rather than a 60;
2. Favourable conditions are forecast and it’s a cracking field at the sharp-end, so the winning times will be sub-7 for the men and sub-8:30 for the women.
3. 90% of the field will start far too fast and will run a sub-optimal race as a result;
4. I will tell myself to start off slow ‘til I’m blue in the face, but will get sucked into the vortex of early speed folly as soon as the gun fires;
5. JK will run 9:22:27 (and in over 100 miles of JK "Guess my time" competitions, I think I am within 2 seconds a mile, so don’t let me down John, unless you run faster of course!);
6. That first beer at the finish will be the best you have ever tasted, even if it is lager.
As for myself, I’m simply aiming to improve on my previous Fling appearance in 2009. I don’t think I’m any fitter than then, as my overall mileage is low, but I think I can race more intelligently this time. Then, I pushed too hard from Rowardennan, and the rough section from Inversnaid to the end of the Loch took a lot out of me. With the wheels having come off by Beinglas, I took 3 hours to cover the last 12 miles. This year, I don’t mind getting to Beinglas quite a bit slower, as long as I’m capable of running the last section properly.
The splits for an optimal race, as a percentage of your overall target time, are:
So, for an example 10 hour target, your splits would be: 1:59, 4:44, 7:35 and 10:00.
These percentages hinge entirely on the supposition that Jez Bragg knows how to pace himself and ran a "good" race in 2009 (but I don’t think that supposition is too rash, based on his pacing in other Trail and 100k events). There are those who advise that you should run hard when you are feeling good, because you will slow down later anyway (and you certainly can’t argue with Stuart Mills’s results!) but I believe that there is only one physiological optimum for all of us and on the flat, that would be even pace. Now, if only Stuart BELIEVED this were true, I’m convinced he would run even faster!
Whatever unfolds on Saturday, I’m sure it will be a cracking day out. See you all there and best of luck!