Andy Gillespie adds the 54321 Salisbury to his long list of marathon and ultra conquests

The 54321 Salisbury is an event with six different races of varying distances, ranging from 5k all the way up to 50k. Participants can choose to either run or walk the distance, so it’s an occasion where there truly is something for everyone.

Two Bournemouth AC members, Damian Boyle and Andy Gillespie opted to go for longest race, the 50k ultra marathon, which equates to 31 miles. Adrian Townsend went for the 33k race, so a slightly lesser distance but still a very tough 20 miles of running to get through.

Damien has done mountain ultras before but with those there has always been a fair amount of walking involved as well due to the steep inclines. This was his first go at an ultra where he actually felt compelled to run the whole way.

Incredibly, or rather ‘stupidly’ as he puts it, Damien took on the mammoth task of a nightshift, meaning he’d had no sleep or rest. As if it wasn’t hard enough, this would certainly make it an even bigger challenge and an even greater accomplishment.

Despite that, Damian ‘thinks’ he really enjoyed the race and appreciated the beautiful scenery that the countryside of Salisbury has to offer. He was also able to successfully navigate his way around the course, which is something not everyone seemed to manage.

When he hit the 22k checkpoint, Damian was in 19th place, with a time of just under 1 hour 53 minutes. He arrived at the 31k checkpoint in just over 2 hours 42 minutes, putting him in 17th place. From there it was all the way to the finish, which Damian reached in very strong time of 4:32:52. This gave him a final position of 18th out of a field of 290 and 2nd place in the M45 category. His average pace for the race was 8:47 per mile.

Andy G was looking to complete his 77th marathon, incredibly with not one single DNF on his record. And he wasn’t about to put a blot on that copybook at the 54321, despite having some hip issues of late.

It was only two weeks since Andy did the Dorset Invader Marathon and he’d been doing a bit of swimming since then to rest the hip a bit. This tactic seemed to work well. He set off very steadily, hoping to get as far as he could before the anticipated pain kicked in. But fortunately that didn’t seem to happen and Andy was able to go the distance without the hip really troubling him at all.

Andy put aside his hip troubles to post a time that was almost 20 minutes quicker than his Dorset Invader effort two weeks prior

He reached the first checkpoint at 22k in just under 2 hours 19 minutes, putting him in 129th place. At the 31k mark he was in 133rd having taken just under 3 hours 26 minutes.

The stamina and endurance Andy has developed through his many previous marathon exertions served him well in the latter stages of the race as he made up several places before crossing the line in a final time of 5:41:52. This put him in 117th place overall and 4th in the M55 category.

He was half an hour down on his average for this race but given the condition he was in he would have gladly accepted that before the race began. It was actually nearly 20 minutes quicker than his Dorset Invader time despite the course being over two miles further. This result has led Andy to conclude that the trick to getting over a hip injury must be to run 50k!!

Adrian Townsend ran the entire 33k race with his friend Chris Duley, who had a minor injury. Rather than racing it, they were using it more as a training run in preparation for Man vs Mountain that takes place in early September.

The conditions were great for running and Adrian felt strong coming off the back of some decent hill runs on his recent vacation to Italy.  He did have one hairy moment though where he tripped up on some tree roots after 3 miles and had a nice soft landing in a bunch of stingy nettles.

He picked himself up though and continued on to reach the first checkpoint at 15k in just over 1 hour 21 minutes, putting him in 27th place. The pair then made it to the next checkpoint, which was at 22k, in just over 2 hours 5 minutes, leaving them in 29th and 30th position.

Adrian had memories of running this same race three years ago and taking a wrong turn which resulted in him doing two extra miles. This time though he managed to find his way successfully, although he did still end up doing a couple of extra miles in loops whilst out on course. This was by choice though, as he wanted to test himself a little but also wanted to stay with Chris till the finish.

After completing the last 11k, the pair crossed the line together in a final time of 3:09:19, putting them in 27th and 28th place in a field of 146. It was a very pleasing training run for Adrian and Chris, who also finished in 3rd and 4th place in the M50 category. Adrian thoroughly enjoyed the event and might even be tempted to do the marathon distance next year.

Adrian Townsend was using the 33k route at the 54321 Salisbury event as a training run in preparation for his forthcoming Man vs Mountain race