Over the last six weeks Gade Valley Harriers’ Teresa Reason and Chris Dowling have been taking part in the Ultra X Virtual Race World Series.
The event started with three qualifiers throughout May. Participants had to run a set distance wherever they wanted on the given dates and points were awarded based on the percentile in which they finished their category with people joining in with the event from around the world. The top 100 plus 10 randomly selected wildcards qualified for the grand final which took place on Saturday.
Dowling completed 8km at the start of May in 31 minutes with Reason taking 33 minutes to do so. Two weeks later Reason (one hour and four minutes) ran Dowling (1 hour exactly) close again as they completed 15km each, putting both Harriers in the top 100 and in with a strong chance of reaching the final.
The last round of qualifying took place at the end of May with participants required to run 19km. Dowling completed his in 1:20, good enough to finish the qualification period in 31st place and secure a place in the final.
Reason took 1:23 and qualified in eighth place overall, finishing as third female overall and first female vet 40+.
Finalists weren’t told until the day before the final what distance was required – but on Friday night they found out that they needed to complete 17km.
Dowling opted for the hilly trails around Wendover Woods and finished in 1:51.
Reason had her eyes on the FV40 prize but needed two attempts at the distance after – in her words – her legs weren’t working in the morning. Still not feeling 100% she tried again in the afternoon and completed the distance in 1:14.
Results were finally published on Monday afternoon and Reason was the third fastest lady on the day – and second quickest FV40.
However, the first FV40 – a lucky wildcard entrant from the Ukraine – MAY have broken the rules by appearing to start her run at the top of a hill and not returning back up it in contravention of a rule that stipulates that runners must not have a negative net elevation of more than 10%.
So, it goes to a steward’s inquiry… you don’t get this sort of drama with standard road races!
UPDATE: The race organisers came to the conclusion that the first VF40 had in fact broken the rules and subsequently disqualified her, meaning that all competitors that were classified after her were moved up a position and Teresa Reason was upgraded to first VF40 and second overall lady.