I didn’t write much about this earlier as most of my time was taken up with the extra time it takes to go downstairs sideways. Ow. OW! ow! ow. ow. ow.
But they say a picture is worth a thousand words, so here’s 2,000’s worth:
Lap times (1/4 mile)
It’s pretty easy to correlate the two and work out where the stretches of ankle-deep liquid mud were… I was scraping out from under my toenails in the shower later that day. It just got everywhere.
Did I say that this is the first race I’ve been to with a decent PA? (As a counterexample I offer the PA at the Reading Half, which bellows at you from every corner as you try to find somewhere out of the arctic wind). An appropriate choice of tunes (“Road To Nowhere”, “We’ve Got To Get Out Of This Place”, etc), a few informational announcements about starting and the race charity, that’s it. Great.
All the marshalls were so cheery you thought they must have slipped something in the tea. And did I mention the teenagers with cheerleaders’ pompoms at the top of the hills? Bless ’em. Last but not least, this being a country race, there was a fine selection of dogs to make a fuss of, from a bear-like Newfie to a pair of chilly-looking Jack Russells. (My own two were in their coats but even so, looked decidedly peeved at being taken out of the nice warm car. They tiptoed round the puddles. Greyhounds are such terrible wusses!).
I’d heard scary, scary things about this race. People kept on saying, “Have you done this before….” in an ominous way. I imagined clawing my way up a thistle-strewn hillside with icy gusts of wind blowing sleet and hail in my face, while battle-hardened fell runners bounded away into the fog on the hilltop, and having to ford waist-deep bogs using legs I couldn’t feel any more.
Actually the vast majority of the route was on very pretty (sometimes very muddy) paths through the wood, sure it was a little nippy at the top of the hill but the views and the sweet, sweet rabbit-trimmed turf made up for that (like a golf course baby!) and the downhills were not on scree but on wide, smooth trails and roads. The last bit being why I can only now walk downstairs facing forward… overdid it a bit there :/
Anyway, much recommended for next year! But you’ll want to make sure your shoe laces are well tied or, no lie, you will get a shoe sucked off your foot. It isn’t horrid, but it really truly is. that. muddy!