2nd November 2018 – The Draw
I was way too excited for a cold, November Friday night driving over with Lucy to The Woolpack pub in Buckingham for the draw for the Grand Union Canal Race (GUCR), the iconic 145-mile race from Birmingham to London. I ran GUCR in 2016 in 34 hours and 11 minutes and in 2017 in 33 hours and 24 minutes, finishing 7th in the Canalslam in 2017.
I had volunteered on checkpoints at the canal races in 2018 and I was itching to get back. My fingers and toes were all crossed. I love the canal race family and it was great to be back amongst familiar faces
Keith Godden and Dick Kearn were presiding over precedings with Cathy, Maisy, Jan and Lucy plus me and another three hopeful runners. We each took turns drawing five numbers at a time out of the bag. I was surprised not so see Glyn Raymen, as he is usually here, but Glyn turned up at the end of the night, saying he had fallen asleep and missed it.
Most of the (maybe all) runners entered for the Canalslam get an automatic entry into GUCR. We drew out the supported runners (with crews) first and because there was less of these virtually all of them got a place. Lucky bleeders.
Next up was the draw for the unsupported runners including me and the other runners in the room. Five at a time, the wait was cruel and every second dragged. There was going to be a lot more disappointed people in this unsupported group.
At last it was done and I was IN!
This is my A-race for next year. In 2019, it is the 25th anniversary and I have my sights set on the sharp end of the race. Time to start preparing. After taking a year out to concentrate on the Centurion 100 Grand Slam and Spartathlon, it was time to return to the canal races and the daddy of them all GUCR.
Loads of my ultra-running friends are also in.
My Friends that are in GUCR 2019
Good luck to all of you in this list.
Paul Ali – hoping this brings back his running mojo.
Nathan Flear – my money is on Nathan to win it in 2019!
Nathan Taylor – Nathan is similar pace to me
Robert Treadwell – my old local training mate and one for me to beat.
Rudi Vanden Berghe
Alex Whearity – Alex will give Nathan a run for his money