Cath takes on Alps and has peak performance
Harrier finishes 14th in gruelling 105-mile marathon www.getbucks.co.uk/sport
CATH Holloway admits taking part in what is considered the world’s toughest mountain marathon is a world away from pounding the Chiltern hills.
The Chiltern Harrier has just completed the 105-mile Ultra Marathon Tour of Mont Blanc in the French Alps, which passes through France, Switzerland and Italy, with 9,800m of positive height gain.
The 46-year-old from Amersham, a teaching assistant at Heatherton House, spent three years qualifying and building up her stamina before being selected, and of the 2,300 runners that started, only 1,500 finished.
Among them was Holloway, who crossed the finish line 14th in her category in a time of 39 hours and 49 minutes – an amazing feat for a runner who predominantly trains in the Chilterns.
The race went over in excess of 10 major Alpine passes, some over 2,500m, with the longest continuous climb being 25km up to the Refuge at the Croix de Bonhomme.
She said: “I’ve been with the Harriers for 20 years and started off doing the 5k and 10k, but now do more cross country and off-road running.
“A few years back, one of my team-mates who runs Ultras where you do 30 miles in three successive days asked me to join him, so I gave it a go.
“The Chiltern Hills are not really big enough, so I’ve been training in Wales and the Lake District, but even the hills there are dwarfed by the mountains in the Alps, where you just keep going and going.
“I’d like to do more Ultras, but with it taking a week to recover, you wouldn’t want to do more than one or two a year.”
Harriers were also well represented at the somewhat flatter Maidenhead Half Marathon on Sunday, with
Nathan Taylor running a personal best of 1.24.06 to come 25th in the V40 category, and Andy Wiseall hot on his heels in 1.24.27.
The first lady home was Sandra Reynolds, who shook off the effects of a cold to finish in third in the V40 ladies category and 11th lady overall in 1.29.01, while Eleanor Laverty completed her first race since sustaining an injury in marathon training.
In the V50 females category, Kate Loach finished in fifth and 54th lady overall, one position ‘older’ than the birthday she reached on race day, with 1.41.13. while Tony Molesworth clocked 2.01.26 for 7th in the V70+ male category.
Meanwhile, in the Great North Run, Chiltern’s Fabian Downs put in a stunning performance to finish 24th in his category with a time of 1.07.52, while Sian Thomas finished second in the ladies’ race at the Bedford Harriers 10k and with a time of 37.46.
TOUGH AT THE TOP: Chiltern Harrier Cath Holloway takes on the Alps in the Ultra Marathon Tour of Mont Blanc