Health and Fitness Running

Delirious 200mi 2023 Race Report – The Stats

I was listening to Morricone’s haunting soundtrack and one of his greatest compositions in “Once upon a time in the West”. After directing “The Good, the Bad and the Ugly”, Sergio Leone retired from directing westerns. But he received an offer from Paramount Pictures which he could not turn down. The offer included the budget to produce another western, plus Henry Fonda to play a key role. Clint Eastwood turned down the offer to play the movie’s protagonist, leaving space for Charles Bronson to step in. With Claudia Cardinale and Jason Robards rounding out the A-list lineup, the rest was history.

One of the impressive things Morricone did in composing the soundtrack was in the use of leitmotifs that expressed each main character. Each of them had their own theme music. Silence was also used strategically to accentuate certain situations. In arts and design, I find silence and empty space to be generally under-utilised. In listening to how Morricone approached each character, I could not help thinking about the depth of character in a few ultra runners I have come across. I have had glimpses of the melodies and harmonies that might suit some of them. I know what my personal theme should be. It is Silence. I like all kinds of (good) Music but Silence is my ultimate.

Back to Delirious…

The stats from Delirious came in and I crunched some numbers to compare actual performance against my perception of how I had run the race. Most of the perceptions were spot on, except for the Sleep/Rest time. Earlier I had thought that my total sleep time for the race was 4.5 hours, but I had missed accounting for the 3 hours lost between Cosy Corner and Muttonbirds, so all up it was 7.5 hours.

My average pace for the entire race was over 3.6km/hour, vs the race winning average pace of 5km/hour. The pure moving pace was naturally higher, but it was of little value in the context of a 200 miler to consider moving pace in isolation. Removing the 3 hours of forced rest between Cosy Corner and Muttonbirds, my average pace would have improved to about 3.8km/hour, a more respectable figure. Shorter distance runners are probably not used to this slow pacing and might think they could do much better. They may be right; but it would surprise you how slowly you move on average through 200 miles once you have factored in rest time, selfie time (for some!), time dodging snakes and other critters and the slower pace through tricky terrains. This slow pace was sufficient for me to finish about midfield. Age graded performance put me at roughly 3.5 days as opposed to the actual result of about 4 days. That is an advantage of being an older runner; at times you feel so young that you forget how old you actually are! With better uninterrupted training, I believe I can, one day, finish a similar race with age graded performance of about 3 days. The performance itself does not concern me so much; what is good to know, though, is that I am a much better runner now than when I started in 2014. I am 9 years older and still improving. You can only hope this wonderful and rewarding symbiotic relationship with running continues for a bit longer.

I put my hat in the ring for the second attempt of TOR330. I did not get lucky with the lottery this time, but that is a blessing in disguise. It would have been a stretch for me to travel to Italy again this year, with all the work that lies in store. Now that I know what the TOR course is like, I need to be able to move at an average pace of 4.4km/hour at Delirious to give myself a good chance of finishing the TOR330 within cutoff. That is some improvement in fitness and endurance that I will need to achieve. It just goes to show what a beast the TOR is with its tricky weather fluctuations and 24,000m of elevation.