Start/Finish Meerbrook, Staffordshire
Two years ago I’d done the short (20) mile race, it being the one and only time I’ve come home first in anything. This time I was going to do it all, including the two mile detour up Shuttlinghoe.
The previous night it had pelted it down, and the morning sky looked slightly loaded. But suitably (?) kitted out we set off at 9am, an hour after the walkers. Up to the first checkpoint the terrain was fairly flat, across farm land and along the reservoir.
Working partially off memory things were going okay, then came the detour. I’d missed the trip up to Shuttlinghoe previously, and so didn’t know what to expect. Initially steep, then steeper, with the wind and hail in my face I can’t say it was great. Reaching the top I made my way over to the trig point. It may be silly, but I always need to at least touch them, they may not be of much use now but they are part of the landscape.
From checkpoint 2 the long and short routes diverge, so I was on new ground. Well, kind of. Part of the route was the same as the Bullock Smithy, but in reverse (and during the day). So now I know what it looks like.
The rest of the day was pretty uneventful, until reaching the Roaches. Until then the weather had been off an on, but at probably the highest point the hail came on hard. This hurried me on down the other side with the finish in sight. A final few squelchy miles lead back the finish.
Something that appeals about these events is the food, and for that I have to really compliment the organisers. A wonderful selection, and for once the Vegan options were more than beans and bread.