MANY 57-year-olds may be thinking of taking things easy ... not so Chichester Runners chairman Tom Blaylock. As well as running marathons, Blaylock is keen on the specialised world of ultra distance running, a term usually referring to races longer than a marathon.
Having conquered the 95-mile West Highland Way in his native Scotland and finished eighth in the world trail running championships in the 1990s, Blaylock decided to test his resolve once again in the 103-mile South Downs Way event.
Starting from Eastbourne and heading west, the 55 competitors were faced with a buffeting headwind to add to the demands of the undulating terrain, resulting in a number of retirements during the course of the race.
A wrong choice of footwear was rectified by his support team and following a low point around the 30-mile mark, Blaylock started to overtake those who had started at too fast a pace.
He made his way into the top ten and by the 50-mile mark found himself fourth.
Having started from at 9am, the field were faced with a period of night running which requires extra skill and attention – that on top of fatigue.
At the Cocking checkpoint two thirds of the way through he was still in fourth place, knowing the top three, half his age, were some way ahead.
A steady and solid pace over the final section saw Chichester’s ultra champion finish with a 20-minute advantage over the fifth-placed runner with a time of 21 hours 51 minutes.