Run, Sam, Run!

Samantha Amend - GB & England Marathon and Ultra Distance Runner

Centurion 100 Track, Ashford – 24th April 2021

by Sam Amend - 24th April 2021 | General News

“Let’s Go Round Again !”

Wow what a weekend, I experienced so many emotions from my racing on at the Centurion Track 100, now renamed my “Super Saturday”. A week on and still reflecting the concept of breaking what was a 31-year-old record set by a very experienced ultra-distance legend Eleanor Robinson for the 100 miles.

For 2021 it was touch and go so I was worried having not had any races since last year. I swapped out the Thames Path 100 for the track knowing it was a small race, in one location but a “mind over matter” battle. Centurion hoped for 25 starters with 15 actually toeing the line and better for us with less over taking. Also the opportunity to say hello to a few fellow runners and team GB mates also attending.

Its an early one, 6am start, with a 4am alarm at the hotel, and a pick up from my coach at 4.45am to get to the track and also do our Covid tests prior to entry. The plan was to run for the first 50k at 7.30 pace to tackle the 14:43 record that laid in waiting. Although I wasn’t sure how sustainable this was and knowing I get some bad patches in the middle (this did happen) it was also very hot and no where to hide. That said I may have had a dip in my times but others were suffering far worse with either retiring or poor Sarah Sawyer after grafting for over 16:30 hrs wasn’t going to meet for the cut off and had to DNF which was very sad.

All the splits reported for the runners are on the website: I ran my first 50 miles 6:41 which was an average of 8 minute miling which was the plan or between 8-8.45 pace and knowing halfway was still a long way to go and confident of picking up the last section. At 6 hour my split was 72.995km a FV40 British 6 hour record, this was unexpected!

Taking It In My Stride

So, onto the nutrition for the day, this started with porridge trackside at 5.30am and more importantly needed to make sure I executed my fuel strategy. It wasn’t due to be very hot day, but it turned into one also.

Often nutrition isn’t prioritised its purely the training, massage, and a case of as long as I have carb loaded, I will be fine.  I personally have made a few mistakes in the past of not eating enough and had a few “bonk moments” or “ hitting the wall” and running out of energy. 

Over the years I have learnt some valuable lessons including starting the fuelling before it is too late and making sure I have something rather than nothing which could bank more energy for the later stages.  I also do not the last few years carb load for days I just change the foods for white or no reactive foods that cause bloating.  For my nutrition I had already tested during many training months and a few past races, learning what didn’t work.  I knew that some foods had been a disaster and could cause a gut reaction.

The plan I created for the day was to take on 12 x Huma gels (chia with fruit puree) alternating with the caffeine ones every hour.  Along with my trusted Revvies cola energy strips every 4 hours added water/tailwind (electrolyte) drink and sipped throughout the day.  Minimal food during the day which consisted of a few fruit pastilles, handful of strawberries and a few watermelon pieces only so I didn’t feel heavy.  I took on my nutrition bang on every hour for the first 6hrs having learned from past races and advice from a nutritionist. 

For periods of the race I did get fed up with the gels, I didn’t know what I wanted and had a feeling of sickness.   I took a few hours gap and just small amounts of tailwind and flat coke to keep my fluid intake which was necessary but also presented the problem of needing the toilet more regularly (burning away time).  Due to Covid and strict rules on hygiene unfortunately it meant it was further away which added to distance and time, that said clean and easy to access.

Having A Chat With Mike Stocks

My nutrition may not work for everyone, it’s a personal choice.  I like to observe what other runners take on and seen strange concoctions, beef jerky, chocolate, noodles, ice lollies Nutella sandwiches and beer.

Over the last 2hrs and post chat with my coach sped up substantially as I worked out the numbers on what I needed to break the record.

Not at any point did I think it was over and got my head down and nodded at Norman to indicate I know what I need to do as I saw the clock at 14hrs. With 5km to go I had almost 30 minutes to play with and wasn’t running at this point 9/10 min miles so I knew I just need to get on with it….. That was what I did!

What a race as I crossed the line in 14:34:03 to set a new National record – one that has stood since 1991. Coach and Athlete very happy…

The Picture Tell’s A Thousand Words !

The Truth of the matter this wasn’t everyone’s day but it certainly was mine and the hard work paid off. D E L I G H T E D !