Cath takes on Alps and has peak per­for­mance

Har­rier fin­ishes 14th in gru­elling 105-mile marathon www.get­

Buckinghamshire Advertiser - - SPORT - By Tim Street tim.street@trin­i­tymir­

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


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