Eltham Multi-terrain 5 miles, S.E. London – Peter Simpson

Meeting up with another vegan runner, Helen-louisa for the first time encouraged me to enter this one. By coincidence it is in the area that we are planning to hold one of our London group training sessions on 25 July. Prior to the 5 miles event there were the 3.5K and 1 mile family run, the latter had a good field.

When I arrived it was evident that there were a high proportion of club runners so thought I may have to lower my expectations. Helen-louisa (H-L) arrived with not long to go having got a bit lost on the way but luckily there was a delayed start. Lining up I met vegan contact Darren Townsend-Handscomb who recently joined Beckhenham Running Club. After the race we also met Matt Woodman who had responded to the publicity.

The race started on Eltham Park South where we completed a large loop before taking the footbridge across the A2 and into Shepherdleas wood. The paths here were quite narrow for stretches plus some obstacles to avoid so you had to wait for the right moment to overtake. One female runner did not have the patience and pushed between me and another male runner. At the end of the race she was only 1 second ahead of me and I was closing. There were a few short climbs in the woods otherwise fairly level ground.

We repeated the course twice and I was gradually picking up places although a little tired. Running in the woods had its benefits of shade from the increasing heat. It turned out that the quality of the club runners was not as high as anticipated. I finished in 34.25 for a satisfactory performance although developed a temporary cough. H-L finished in 50 mins as anticipated. As we rested and waited for the presentation, along came Matt Woodman who achieved 2nd place, one of his highest positions since he has been on our contacts list. Unfortunately Matt was not wearing his VRUK vest. Matt was awarded a prize. The other vegan contact, Darren achieved 36 mins.

Later I explored the other adjoining woods, Oxleas also on Shooters Hill overlooking S.E London and the North Downs.

Peter Simpson