How do you sum up your race experience?
This is a gritty race – essentially 14 miles north along the River Adur to a turning point just past Partridge Green before turning back. It’s a flat race mainly over rough paths with a short section on the Downs Link.
What was the toughest moment during the race?
For a flat run, it all feels uphill psychologically. I remember looking forward to a nice downhill run back, only to turn around and for it to look uphill. Although it’s flat as a pancake. The wind was tough in 2019 and the underfoot conditions were muddy.
If you could change one thing from the race, what would it be?
The styles! Easy to leap over like a noble lamb in the early stages of the race, but come mile 26 they become much tougher!
What would be your best piece of advice for some racing Dark Star (or any other trail ultra) for the first time?
Fuel up really well and take your time. It’s easy to turn an ankle and take plenty of food and water in a race vest. Enjoy it – it’s a small and friendly race.
Aside from the final stretch and crossing the finish line, what was your favourite part of the race and why?
I really enjoyed the outward section along the Downs Link – it was a relatively smooth surface compared to the river sections and no headwind!
Will you do the race again and do you recommend it to others?
Yes for sure. I would recommend it for those who want to push themselves a little but past marathon distance – it’s flat and achievable if you have some trail running experience. I’d also say that it’s an ideal race for those with ultra ambitions: because it’s flat I used it to practice eating real food whilst running rather than gels.
Funniest / oddest thing you saw /heard while running?
The cows of mile 10 were a little disconcerting! They didn’t look like they were going to budge so it was a game of chicken between myself, some other runners and the herd.
Do you have any pre-race rituals or superstitions?
The first time I ran this race, I forgot my race vest containing water and food so since then I get everything ready the night before. In addition, I like to drink an IPA the night before. Morning of the race it’s oats 2 hours before the race and then a carb drink an hour ahead.