The Big Cheese 2015

Why I chose this race.

I chose this race, because my friend Rachel told me about it, and she wanted to enter it. She came with her family to stay with us last year to do the Tour of Pembrokeshire, so we decided to do a race in Cheddar where Rachel and her family live.

Ready to go!

Ready to go!

Pre race

We drove down to Cheddar on Friday night after school, it was pretty late by the time we arrived, and even later when we went to bed. I’m not used to staying up late, and the next day I felt pretty tired! On Saturday we took the kids out for a walk, and Rachel explained the route to me as we were walking around where the run went. I was really glad of this information on the day! Rachel also kept reminding me that Chrissie wellington had set the record for the race in 2014 in a time of 1:39! In the evening we got to bed a lot earlier, but during the night I could feel that my throat was a bit sore. I wasn’t feeling 100% on Sunday, but was OK, we had breakfast and then some of Rachels friends arrived so that we could walk up to registration together. (it was only a mile away) We picked up our numbers and got to eye up the cakes!

Race number and baggage label

Race number and baggage label

2015-03-08 09.27.44

A large cake selection

My mum had texted me in the morning, as she was driving back from Devon that day, she was waiting at registration and walked up to the start with us.

The Race (garmin data here) Provisional Results Here

My mum wished me good luck, and left us at the start, I decided to walk up a bit to get a better position, we were in quite a narrow lane so I wandered closer to the front. My plan was to keep my heart rate at about 160 bpm, which is the top end of my zone 3 for the first part of the race and then pick up as I went along. As you can see below, the course is 3 big hills followed by a shorter steeper rocky climb. As I started up the first hill my heart rate went up to 169-171 which is the top end of my Z4, “never mind” I thought, “I’ll have to go over a bit on the ups, as I will probably go under my target HR on the descents!” As I reached the top of the first hill, I was overtaken by the 2nd female.

Course profile

Course profile

All thoughts of keeping my heart rate down went out the window, as I overtook lots of people on the first technical descent. My breathing felt fine though so I carried on with a similar pace. On the second hill a few of the people who I had overtaken passed me, including 1 woman, I let her go thinking I may catch her up on the flat or downhill (I had passed her going downhill). We got to a fairly flat section which was just before halfway and before the 3rd hill, I spotted the woman again, and passed her, she didn’t follow so I kept the pressure on. I was now running with 2 guys who were a similar pace to me, and we pulled each other on really well.

Me and the 2 guys who I kept pace with

Me and the other 2 guys who I kept pace with

On the way down to the final feed station I passed another woman, so I didn’t hang around for jelly babies, (I had just had a gel anyway) I grabbed a cup of water and started the final rocky climb, which I walked a lot of! We were still in our group of 3 and when we got to the top of the rocky section a marshall shouted out 3rd lady to me, so I kept up my cadence. I was feeling my hamstrings, and was getting stomach cramps on the last 2 miles, but it wasn’t far and I wanted to hold on to my position, so I went for it, and crossed the line in 2:07. I was really pleased with my performance, I wasn’t sure that I could sustain that heart rate over the distance, as I haven’t done any runs longer than 11 miles, or so hilly, but my effort remained pretty consistent the whole way through. The route was tough, but great fun, I especially enjoyed the second descent. The marshals were friendly and helpful, I nearly missed a turn off but the marshal shouted at me, (thanks for that!) The cake was delicious at the end, and I won 1.5kg of cheese! The only downside is that I am suffering from a cold now, after pushing a bit too hard maybe?

The first woman, cruising downhill

The first woman, cruising downhill

2 thoughts on “The Big Cheese 2015

  1. Jenny McNamara

    Hello Celia, congratulations on your great performance in our Big Cheese race! I have put a race report on our website ( and linked to your blog page. I hope you don’t mind that I have used your image of the cake table in the race report? I have credited you and there is a link to your blog in the report too. Hope you are enjoying the cheese! Jenny (Chair, Cheddar Running Club).


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