Wednesday, November 4, 2009

50K World Trophy Championships

Jess and I headed to Bradley International Airport Wednesday night to catch our flight. We were greeted with what the associate called, "Bad news and worse news". First, our connector flight to Philly was 5 hours delayed and wouldn't be here until 9pm. OK, we can wait. The worse news is the flight from Philly leaves for Spain at 7pm. The only solution was to drive to Boston in rush hour traffic and catch a British Airways flight to London. We made it and got to Malaga Spain the next day. Unfortunately I didn't have time to inform anyone about the schedule change, so, although we were close, we were still a 2 hour car ride from Gibraltar with no car. We ended up paying 150 Euro to get to customs and another 10 do get to the Europa Retreat Center once we were in Gibraltar. We finally made it late Thursday night, extremely stressed and tired. We were taken to our room where we proceeded to sleep 13 hours straight.
We met the rest of the athletes at lunch the next day and waited around for the technical race meeting at 4pm. The government, at the last minute, pulled their endorsement for the 10 kilometer loop course and the race officials had to scramble and come up with "something". The solution was a 1km out and back and then 6 x 4km out and back along the shore line and piers.
Later that night we met in the Retreat Lounge to get a shuttle downtown for the opening ceremonies. All of the countries lined up behind a local Air Cadet and their countries placard. We marched into a gymnasium were seated and got to watch a local dance team put on a Micheal Jackson Tribute dance to Thriller. It was low key but very nice. Afterwards we had a pasta party with some good eats.
Okay, now to the important stuff. The race started at 2:30pm and it was very hot and humid. I went out pretty conservative, allowing the leaders to go out and have at it (Michael Wardian was attempting an AR). I took charge of the chase pack but soon found myself in no mans land. No matter, I can run alone. Which is what I did for about an hour and half. This is when I caught up to the Japanese runner (who went out like crazy early on). I figured he was done so I tried to surge past him. He wouldn't let go. I sped up, he sped up. I slowed down, he slowed down. It was obvious he wanted to go along for the ride. I pulled the train for another half hour when a Belgium runner joined us and quickly went on by. The Japanese guy went with him. So again, I was flying solo. But only for about 20 minutes. I took one of several blind hair pin turns and just about ran over the Japanese runner. He was hunched over and really letting it all out. He was done but wouldn't give up. He ended up walking most of the rest of the way.
The coarse was very difficult to navigate because we had to snake through construction and piers. Gibraltar by the way is not flat. There was a substantial climb that had to be trekked 7 times. I actually think I benefited from the coarse because I made most of my ground on the field on this climb. In the end everyone ran slower than they wanted. I figured I would be 10 to 15 minutes behind the leaders and that's where I was. I was ranked 12th going into the race and finished in 9th in 3:15:02 so I feel very good about the race. Thanks to Jess for crewing for Team USA.
Sunday Jess and I hiked up the rock. It felt good to get the race out of my legs. We saw all of the monkeys that live up there and the old forts and tunnels. It took most of the day to get up and down.
The trip was a complete blast. It was so cool to meet other runners and compete against them. Here are the top ten results:

1º Lucas, Nonyana 02 58 03 : :
2º Paul, Molineux 03 00 15 : :
3º Micheal, Wardian 03 00 56 : :
4º David, Kirkland 03 03 10 : :
5º Julian, Rendall 03 12 35 : :
6º Pieter, Vermeesch 03 13 40 : :
7º Hermans, Mokgodi 03 13 52 : :
8º Daniel, Oralek 03 14 16 : :
9º Justin, Fyffe 03 15 02 : :
10ºAndrea, Bernabei 03 15 10


  1. Great job Justin! That sounds/looks like it was an awesome trip. You deserved it after the year you've had. Keep pluggin' man.

  2. Nice work! That is a pretty cool pic of you on the race course.

  3. 9th best 50k runner in the world. Awesome. If I were you, I'd frame that singlet. Nice ending to an unbelievable season. I hope to see you on the roads.

  4. Congratulations on your race!! It must have been fun to see the race unfold with all the out and backs. It seems like there is always a twist with IAU races, glad they got a course arranged! It funny, Caumsett will be coming up pretty soon (assuming it's a championship).