I recently completed the 20km red warrior multi-terrain 2022 race and was very pleased to have placed 2nd overall in the solo series 🥈
I ran the 20km race in a time of 91.05 minutes.
The multi-terrain trail race had three variations of trail. Harder packed gravel / wet and muddy patches, sandy woodland, and sandy beach. The location was at Pembrey Country Park and Beach, south of Carmarthen in Wales.
There was also a canicross (run with dogs) event as part of the race series, but I specifically ran the multi-terrain 20km variant without dogs (solo). It’s a good thing they kept the races separate as I can totally imagine incidents where runners could be bowled over by extremely excited running dogs 😂
I saw some of the intrepid canicross runners before the solo race started and it looked like a lot of fun running with dogs!
My strategy was to do the following:
- Run lightweight. I usually don’t need to carry water with me for anything up to about 25km (unless it’s really hot). So my plan was to run light with no running vest or items with me.
- Focus on maintaining a threshold pace of under 5 minutes per km. Ideally about 4:45 per km.
- Try not to worry about anyone tailing me or leading me.
- Start near the front if possible, in case I got stuck behind slower runners in bottlenecked areas.
How the race went
The race started with 3 x smoke grenades being deployed. I started my Garmin Forerunner timer and set off. I was up near the front from the get go, and this helped me set a good pace.
Initially there was some confusion on the first turn that led into a bit of woodland. Thankfully we all steered into the correct trail together.
I kept a fast pace with the leading pack of about 4:10/km. Our group started to thin out slightly as 4 racers x moved ahead with a quicker pace. I maintained between 4:15 and 4:30 per kilometer for at least 5 km in, staying not too far off the leading 4 ahead of me. Sandy terrain and slippery wet areas were the challenge here. In some areas I was struggling to get traction, even with my Saucony Peregrine 11 trail running shoes.
I later learned that 2 or 3 of the front group ahead were actually competing in the 10km solo race, which explained their quicker pace. Regardless I kept only a few hundred meters back from them.
The winner of the solo however (another Sean) had a fast and consistent pace and he put some good distance on all of us!
I had the 3rd place winner tailing me for quite some time (up until we hit the beach). There was another 10km runner in front of me up till this point too, and he was not letting up his pace. I thought he was a 20km solo competitor though, and kept my pace with him, trailing about 100 meters behind.
Once we hit the sandy beach, we entered left into a strong head wind. We were pelted by rain and wind for a while. The stretch of beach was about 3km long, and it was here that I found my zone. I was able to maintain a good consistent pace, even into the wind, and soon overtook the person in front of me. I was feeling good at this point having found a good cadence. This continued through to the half way point, finishing lap 1.
Circling around for lap 2, I had a feeling I was roughly in the top 4 (without who of those ahead of me were 10km contestants). I was feeling good and now knew exactly what to expect for the final lap.
Continuing to add distance to those trailing me, I ran another strong beach segment. The clouds cleared and provided a bit of sunshine. The sun’s rays quickly dried clothing and provided a bit of inspiration to keep going. Coming into the final 1km I glanced back and could not see anyone behind or in front of me.
I feel I could have pushed harder in the last few kilometers, but I think I was getting a little complacent with the pressure from the runners behind diminishing.
Crossing the finish line felt great. I was sure I had a 3rd or 4th place at least (nobody said anything, so I had to wait for official results), but as it turned out the couple of runners that were ahead of me were 10km event runners and I got second overall place 🥈 for the 20km solo.
Red Warrior Multi-terrain Summary
The event was well organised. Arrival was simple and pain-free. I booked parking tickets ahead of time, and there was more than enough parking for everyone. Communication leading up the event was great too.
There were a couple of vans providing great coffee and food before and after the event.
The medals provided for finishers look fantastic too. They’re really solid and chunky. As this event is just one hour away from where I live, I’m OK with travelling for this once a year. I’ll definitely look at doing the Red Warrior multi-terrain race again next year.