Clint and Vicky rule their home ‘ultra’
CLINT KING was not afraid to play catch-up in order to earn his crown in the round-island GU36 ultramarathon.
Making the most of the late withdrawals of several ultra-distance elites, King ran a well-paced race over 36 miles to trump a visitor-heavy field on the pleasant Sunday morning.
Vicky Carre later won the women’s race by 10 minutes to keep both of the main titles on Guernsey soil.
After the 7am mass start at the Liberation Monument, a three-headed Sarnian challenge had quickly formed as King joined Steve Mann and Luke Richards up-front.
It was initially shaping up to be one for Richards as he crested Jerbourg Steps – 3.5 miles in – with a significant lead on Mann.
King was still biding his time slightly further back, leaving Richards unchallenged at the front as he romped to the end of the cliffs with a 15min. lead.
Having reached the 16-mile checkpoint at Portelet well on track to finish before noon, the prospects looked great for Richards.
But ultra-running is a harsh endeavour.
His lead was dwindling along the west coast and King, who had left the stop level with Mann, managed to pass the fatigued runner as he took a pre-planned dip at Grandes Rocques.
The early leader soon retired altogether as King continued to lead, with Macclesfield’s strong-running Mark Burley poised ominously about a minute behind.
But King kept a healthy gap and only pulled further ahead with a strong final mile or so back to Town.
He just missed the noon-day gun with a 5hrs 4min. 10sec. clocking as Burley finished second in 5-05-21. A tired but pleased Mann grabbed third.
For King, who had placed fifth last year with 5-49-02, the win was a very pleasant surprise.
‘I’m really, really happy. The time was nowhere near the winning time of last year [Tiaan Erwee’s 4-19-44] but I went out, ran my own race, and came out with a result that was completely unexpected,’ said a runner who has averaged 65 miles per week this year.
‘I did put the work in for it but once I started, I went up on the cliffs in third place, ran my own race and started seeing people.
‘I was perhaps lucky more than anything – he didn’t realise I was the first-position runner. I expected to get to about 30 miles and just coast it home but when you’ve got someone on your trail, it took everything to hold my position.’
Distance enthusiast Carre sealed ladies’ honours with a course PB of 6-13-30.
It was a good three-way battle – and she had the war wounds to show for it following a tumble at Pleinmont.
‘I wondered if my race was over for a moment because I was horizontally seeing a few stars, but I picked myself up and got on with it,’ she chuckled.
Carre made good headway along the west coast to catch the more experienced trail-runners and build a lead that she maintained home. ‘I feel absolutely amazing – I was first lady in 2017 and last year, Nancy Connolly from the UK pipped me to the post,’ added Carre.
‘I was secretly trying to get my title back but the trouble is with this, a huge number of UK people come over and you never know the calibre of that contingent.’