Almost all December’s races were cancelled or postponed last year, so my January has been unusually busy doing races from 2010! Last week it was the Abingdon Amblers Xmas Pud run, a half marathon put on just for club members and guests. The year before it had been run in conditions so icy I’d trotted round with our star MV70+ member, reasoning that if one of us went over then the other could get help. This time I tried to ignore the fact I’d had 2 weeks out with some horrible not-flu which I’d been treating with an all-liqueur-chocolate diet 😉 and barrelled off fortified by energy gels. I was 40 mins faster than last year (2:02:58 vs 2:4x) , so took home the Best Improver shield… which would otherwise have gone to a chap who, iirc, had some injury last year and jogged round 30 mins slower thsn this – so you can see it’s a little random!
This weekend (16/1/11) was the rescheduled Grim, 8 miles round an army vehicle testing range between Fleet and Aldershot. As you would expect from a premium price race it’s well organised. No problems with queues in or parking, fairly quick exit, lots of loos. The emphasis is very much on fun with a number of people in fancy dress or groups doing it as a social thing, as indeed I was myself (a meetup with folk from the RW sub-4 thread). We were very grateful to be doing it on such a relatively balmy day! The main feature is MUD and waisthigh puddles (complete with rubber ducks in one place), with a couple of tiny camo nets to walk under. There were a few short steep ascents and descents, and a few miles of unpaved road. Beautiful countryside and great views. Trail shoes, a laidback attitude, and being careful where you step are all recommended. Not really a great deal of suffering involved – a friend did say her toes went numb briefly! – but you do get soaked so take a complete change of clothes for afterwards!