Firkløver 50/50 2015 (1st Edition) – Race Report

Finally I’ve got time to write this race report, I’ve been quite busy in the last months and haven’t had much time to post.

Firkløver is a race that happens in the North of Zealand in Denmark. The 2015 edition was the first version of the race. It is organized by some very nice guys that are passionate for the sport. Two races happen in the same day, a 50km and a 50miles (therefore the 50/50 name) – the 50km starts a few hours later than the 50miles. More about the race in their website.

The course is relatively flat, a little over 1000m of accumulated elevation gain. There are many stretches where we run in very small (almost off trail) tracks with several obstacles and also MTB tracks with many many swings. It is a route where you can run fast, but sometimes it can be hard to keep a flow. My goal for this race was to run the 50M under 7h, and I really think that it was a realistic goal.

50miles course profile

50miles course profile (source: Firkløver Facebook page)

I’ve started at the front in a pace around the 4:00-4:10 min/km and ran the first 5-6km in this pace (up to the first aid station). After that, I’ve set cruise pace (5:00 min/km) and that I had planned to hold the whole way.

Start of the 50miles race

Start of the 50miles race Photo: Lars Berlau

Around the 20/30km, where I had to go to the bushes :-), Lars Håkansson overtook me. I heard from some friends that he was planning to run at around the same pace as I was. I quickly reached him again and opened some distance, but I could still see him once in a while for the next 5km, where I opened a good distance.

Around 36km in the race, I’ve ran through the main aid station, where our drop bags were. The aid station was really full of people, since the 50km was about to start. It was really cool to see a lot of known faces. My girlfriend Maibritt was waiting for me with the energy for the next 30km, I quickly refilled and moved on.

Maibritt helping after the first 36km

Maibritt helping after the first 36km Photo: Lars Berlau

All went good up to 50km. My pace up to there was 4:58 min/km. After that, I started having a lot of trouble to find my way. Some of the markings have been removed by people that have been crossing the course, and at some points I had to run back and forth. I missed a lot of time and all my advantage over Lars. I also had to switch to the navigation mode in my watch and could no longer control my pace.

I kept getting distance from Lars and then loosing again, because I couldn’t really find my way. We reached the beach basically together. There I got a 5min advantage from him and when I reached the last aid station, at around 66km, I had a 10min advantage.

I knew that with all the time I had lost, I would not be able to reach my goal, but I kept pushing. After the last aid station, I set the pace up to 4:30 min/km and I was feeling really good. I took my watch out of the navigation mode again so I could check my pace. I had again to stop a couple of times to find my way, but it was going ok.

Around 10km from goal, a mountain bike from the organisation (no names mentioned, you own me a big beer :-)) directed me the wrong way, so I ended up running 4 extra km and loosing around 20min! When I came back to the course again, Lars was just in front of me (around 200m). He stopped and waited for me to overtake him. This was one of the coolest things I have experienced in a race. It truly shows that trail running is definitely a gentleman sport. Thanks for this really nice sportsman attitude Lars!

I was truly demotivated at the end, and I didn’t really feel like I should run away from Lars, after he had waited for me. So I ran together with him to goal and I thought that we should share the first place. But Lars insisted that I deserved to run for the fist place, so I did it. I arrived in goal in around 7h45min (after approx. 90km). Far from my goal and with a feeling that I didn’t win the way I wanted to.

Last 5km of the race Photo: Frame the Action

Last 5km of the race
Photo: Frame the Action

I definitely believe that I could have run this race around the 7h if all went as it should, and I’ll probably try again. But putting aside the bad feelings, I had an awesome run where everything worked really well: energy intake was perfect, equipment worked super well, and my girlfriend did an awesome job helping in the aid stations. I was fresh the whole way, not a single crisis, and managed to hold a good tempo all the way (even speed up at the end).

The race was super well organized, the guys really made a big effort to make a nice route so we didn’t have to run in loops. The problems with the markings unfortunately happened because apparently there was a big crowd going through the forest that day, and they ended up removing some of the markings – nothing they can do about it really. And the mountain bike issue, well, it is forgiven ;-).

Thanks for the organization for the really cool race, for 32Gi Denmark for sponsoring the best energy, for my girlfriend Maibritt for all the support (during the race and also in general :-)) and for all of you there were cheering, helping and taking pictures during the day!

High Five! Photo: Lars Berlau

High Five!
Photo: Lars Berlau

Firkløver is for sure one of the best danish trail runs I have tried and I hope it will become a tradition. So hope to see you guys next year again ;-).

Energy

I’ve user 32Gi exclusively in this race and it worked perfectly. I ate a pack of Chews per hour (mixed flavours) and drank 32Gi Endure Peach all the way. I had no stomach problems, no crisis and my energy levels were stable the whole race. I also had some gels with me in case I would need them in the end of the race, but I ended up not using them.

Equipment

In this race I’ve used:

  • Pure Grit 3 shoes: since the terrain was not technical. It was a wet day, but there wasn’t a lot of mud.
  • CEP Ultralight Sleeveless t-shirt: super breathable, dries fast and keeps me warm.
  • Gore running X-Run Ultra shorts: very comfortable 2-in-1 shorts.
  • Injinji and Feetures! socks: great combination in my opinion, Injinji wool socks under and Feetures! over it. No blisters at all.
  • Salomon S-Lab Sense Ultra Set (3L) vest: the best vest ever made in my opinion.
  • Brooks arm warmers: just a regular arm warmer to the start of the race.

© 2015, fbastian. All rights reserved.

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