World Championships in Thailand
by KAC runners Brennan Townshend and Jacob Adkin
Racing for my country has been a life long dream. Growing up on a small hill farm on Dartmoor I remember from the age of around 14 a real desire to be the best athlete I could. I started with cross country and running on the moor. After some time I found cycling as I enjoyed the long training hours and racing a lot. Training and working very hard at specifics has always been important to me as I had never felt like a natural athlete, I always felt a little behind where I truly wanted to be. Although I had some years full time as a cyclist my time after this has always been juggled with a full time job and now family which makes aspects of being an athlete harder but I have found it to be much more rewarding especially when you have close family to run for.
This season for the first time in a long time many things have fallen into place and I have felt the happiest, finding a great balance with family, work and training.
Being selected to run for Great Britain in both the European Championships and World Championships has meant so much to me and I am incredibly proud and grateful for the opportunity given to me by British Athletics.
The build up went well, apart from a nasty bit of covid three weeks out, almost unavoidable it seems. I prepared for the heat by completing indoor bike sessions with the dining room heated to 28degrees. Race week was a blur with the birth of our daughter, I traveled out later than the team arriving a day before race day.
Race day started well and I was optimistic and positive that it would continue. 20km into our 37km race at the foot of the second long climb, after trying to pace myself and hold back, I started to up the intensity with a plan to really push hard. At this point my body rebelled against me and even with every attempt to push and increase the intensity I felt I was going backwards. Many runners past me and I thought the climb would never end. The descent it turned out would be tougher as my legs were really cooked as well as core temperature being thought the roof. It was a huge mental battle to get to the line but am so glad I had it in me to dig so deep. I crossed the line and collapsed for a long time, eventually being carried to the medical tent by the team doctor and physio where I was covered in ice and put on a drip to get some fluids in as I couldn’t hold any down.
After recovering we headed to the ceremony as we had won bronze medals as a team. I felt incredibly honoured to be part of such a talented team and also grateful for all the support and encouragement from staff and teammates during the race.
Time for some rest and family time now, then really looking forward to next years Fell season and GB trial races.
When Tonk asked us to write a few lines on the recent World Mountain and Trail Running Championships (henceforth referred to as ‘World’s’ to allow for normal respiration), I confess to have been a little reticent. It really didn’t go well for me out in Thailand. But then I realise that, as painful as it is to accept that it didn’t vibe on the one day of the year I wanted it to vibe, sometimes the body just doesn’t turn up. And that’s part of running, and racing, that all of us who lace up a pair of trainers experiences – so no need to shy away from it! Look back on it objectively, learn some lessons, chalk it up as experience. The fantastic opportunity to experience Thailand and its culture is one I’m very grateful for and far mitigates the initial disappointment of the trip.
It was a superb weekend of racing for the whole GB&NI team, and I made sure I got out on the courses for each subsequent race after my own to cheer them all on. It’s pretty cool seeing your mates smash their races.
Technically named the ‘Amazing World Mountain and Trail Running Championships’, it certainly lived up to its title adjective, as did the country.