AM: 9.25 miles, sandwiched a parkrun in the middle, finished first with a new course record of 16:55. I am in sub-16 minute shape for sure, the course is just that challenging.
I was thinking about how to get the record to sub 16 minutes, and it is going to take a lot of effort, some very weird pacing, and a lucky break on weather, but it could happen. I'm still not sure exactly how yet, but here is my idea:
The first 0.4 mile will have to be lightning fast since it is tarmac/packed trail, then the first boardwalk section (0.4 miles) will have to be dry, or else there's no way to take the turns & 180 fast enough without slipping and breaking something.
The scary part is by this point, your GPS is essentially useless, so now you're just blasting along pretty much blindly.
The section the trail/sand (~1.0 mile) will have to be the right mixture of not too dry, but not too muddy. Too dry will make speed impossible since it's sandy, and too wet will make it too muddy so I won't be able to handle the turns quickly enough.
Then the packed trail & tarmac section (0.4 miles) will again have to be sub 4:50/mile for sure.
This brings the final boardwalk which is about 0.7 miles. The only chance here would be to go for broke- literally open it up and hopefully don't slip on the boardwalk. The hard turns up the boardwalk hill to the 180 will be a bit of a nightmare at that kind of speed, but I did try it this time at 5:20ish pace and survived, so maybe it's possible to keep traction going faster? The final tarmac stretch to the finish will be brutal as it's not fast and is winding- but it is on tarmac, so I'd be silly not to use this as a push spot as well. I was thinking prior to the second run on this course if it's possible to shave some of the tangents here to keep speed high, but there's literaly trees/dense swamp foliage in the way, so that's impossible.
My friend John thinks it can't be done (at least by someone of our abilities)- I tend to agree with him, honestly- last week, just a week after running a 16 flat on a double-bridge, hilly 5k course I could only muster a 17:21 on the first attempt at the parkrun. So naturally I want to try! I definitely don't have the track speed to run such a tactical race without blowing up yet, but I can work on that!
The one thing that does bother me though, is this course has three 180-turns and zero of them are manned. All 3 of them take significant time to complete, restart, and get up to speed. All it needs is one self-indulgent person to skip/cheat them to put the record out of reach for any real attempts. In my heart I hope that doesn't happen, but in my mind I know it will/has already. I've seen people do this on courses where you had to go out of your way to cheat, so if it's just staring a runner in the face like that, I definitely don't have faith in them not taking the apple. Good news is, it will be easy to tell they cheated. It's got to be one of the most near-impossible things to run this particular course correctly as-is, fast, and perfectly paced on the first try- particularly with the gps on everyone's watch being wrong by the start of mile 2. Therefore, if a record happens on their first try, we'll at least know it is probably bogus.