When we go race we have no way of telling where that point is in a race. One guarantee I can give is that you will be really tired already and be pushing to your max. You will not think that you can push harder than you are but then suddenly you are faced with a challenge: Do you go in all the way or pull out of this hand because the going is too hot? I have only glimpsed that situation a couple of times and I certainly can’t claim any expertise but I recon that the ability to go on and be bold can be trained. I hope it is!
Now watch this clip from 1997 where Sian Welch & Wendy Ingraham both have to really dig deep just to finish. Yes it is also from an Iron Man event. (Until we get better TV coverage for trail races I will have to stick with these ;))
Ultimately the winner of this battle for 4th comes down to the woman who is able to think the situation through a little bit more and come up with a solution which is plan B. I am sure that nobody wants to finish an event on their hands and knees but this is what it took.
Paula Newby Frazer hit the wall in spectacular fashion 1995. It took her 20 min of lying on the road to be able to regain her energy enough so that she could continue and finish. The guts for this performance is amazing. She knew that once she accepted any medical assistance she would be disqualified.
Now look at this footage from the Chicago Marathon recently with The Science of Sport comments here. Sammy Wanjiru pushes again and again trying to get a gap. He is able to keep the pressure on and keep Tsegay Kebede guising as to when the next attack will happen.
So what has this got to do with trail? I don’t know of a trail race which has gone down to the wire in the same way but it will happen. Every time we race we do want to do our best. I hope that these inspire for us to dig deep next time we are asked whether we are in or not.
Hope you are all inspired!