Monday, 2 July 2012

Donington Park - Favourite circuit of legends.

I am 617km into Challenge 1000. Only 383km to go. I have raised £664.00 so far which I am really really pleased with. Thank you to everyone who has supported me and sponsored me to raise money for Child Bereavement Charity and Cancer Research UK.

This week has been quite a tough one in terms of my challenge. I have been suffering with stomach ailments and sickness feelings on my runs, and feeling generally worn out.
It had to come at some point!
However there was always going to be light at the end of this tunnel this week as I travelled to run at Donington Park. I was also in good spirits as I was kindly sponsored a very generous amount from Flexicover Travel Insurance. Thank you very much to them!!

One of the great things about Donington Park (aside its fabulous circuit) is it's Grand Prix Collection! This is the largest showcase of Grand Prix racing cars in the world and it also houses the largest collection of McLaren and Williams racing cars in the world.

So before I ran I went to have a little look round. Here are a few gems I came across...
Senna's racing suit!
Kimi Raikkonen's former car
Senna and Fangio statue
If you are visiting Donington Park this collection is well worth a visit. You can get the sheer size and scale of all of these cars by seeing them close up. You can see more photos of my visit via my online picasa web album here.

After enough time spent inside looking at cars it was time to hit the track. Typically for a race circuit run, conditions were incredibly windy but the air temperature was pretty warm. We got to see inside the race control tower to get clearance to run. There was lots of cameras on the circuit and it was nice to see what I was about to experience.

I set off into a pretty strong headwind, winding round to the first corner and bit of downhill where the wind whipped behind me. It helped with pushing me along but unfortunately I couldnt see much as my hair was blowing everywhere, with my pony tail coming over my head and lashing me in the eyes. So for a corner named Hollywood I really wasnt looking like a superstar.

The downhill part of the circuit gets pretty steep, then heads into a fair bit of incline. Which I am happy to say I didnt find too much of a struggle and every hill I run I am building my stamina for the Nurburgring. Again it was a strong headwind, meaning just breathing was giving me epic dry mouth. After the hills a much needed slurp of drink was needed to stop my mouth from completely sticking together.
Note the giant spark plug to the right of the picture!
It was quite a pleasant evening and we were joined by people strapping up signs around the track ready for the FIA British Truck Grand Prix that would take place over the weekend. I was
overtaken by a man on a bike and next to him and a man on rollerblades (who I presumed was a driver).

We did some ovetaking too, of a group of men walking the track who gave me some nice encouragemement in the words of "Super Lap!".

I did 2 laps of the long circuit (including the Melbourne hairpin) and 2 of the short circuit totaling 14.32km and looking a little like this:
Sat Nav route

I really enjoyed this circuit, our country is very blessed to have it. It was a real achievement to cross the finish line and to have run on a track where in the '93 F1 season Senna, in his first lap, passed five cars to lead the field and win the race.

Finally, I was very grateful to be allowed up onto the podium that was ready and dressed for the truck racing.
Very colour co-ordinated!
A big thank you to Donington Park for letting me run the circuit!

My next circuit run will be on the 1st September at the Nurburgring. Until then I will be getting in more km's and including lots of hills in my runs for preperation :-)

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