How Far Is An Ultra? Too Far!

Runners of the South Valley 50K were left distraught after a signage error led to their race being 300 metres too long. According to onlookers the route should have entered Pig End field and taken a diagonal across to the gate on the far side. Instead runners were instructed by a sign to stick to the left and go outside the field, adding to the distance.

Participant Merville Fenik said “It was a nightmare. You don’t really know until you are near the end. I was hoping to run a sub-5, but ended up running 5.37. At 50.1km I had no choice but to sit down and cry for half an hour.”

Another runner, Arthur Bimbles, said “When it got to 50.1km I thought it might be those three pisses I took, but when I got to 50.2 I thought now they [the organisers] are the ones taking the piss. I paid £12 for this. In protest I ran back to the nearest train station, which was 67km away. I ended up spending the night in their first aid cupboard.”

Suspicion was aroused at the fourth checkpoint with a conversation between race leader Barry Omarge and volunteer Sarah Heady, which went like this:

Heady: “Well done! You’ve done 35km!”
Omarge: “You mean 35.3km, don’t you?”
Heady: “Yeah, something like that!”
Omarge: “No! Not something like that, it is that!”
Heady: “Look, I’m not paid to have conversations like this, do you want some soggy crisps or what?”

Second-placed female Shannon Doherty was not too disappointed though: “Well, now in my blog I will be able to call it the South Valley 50.3K race, which I think you’ll agree makes me sound even more hardcore than what I was trying to sound like in the first place.”

The organisers released a statement defending their race. “Obviously we know that in trail racing fields expand in size every now and then, particularly now we have left the EU and farmers might have to use their fields to do actual farming. We took all precautions to ensure accuracy, even letting Jim head out with his trundle wheel just before the race to make sure. It’s possible he might have skipped a few revs while running away from a bull at Shank End. However we have launched an investigation into the positioning of the sign in question, and have three people working on it for the next four months to ensure it won’t happen again. It will add about £900 to the race fee for 2017, but we know people will understand that it’s a small price to pay to get it right.”

One thought on “How Far Is An Ultra? Too Far!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *