We heard last week from Ian Hodge who has done 30 miles near Ross-on-Wye…
Distance: 30 miles
Time: 4:50 (ish, I think, I’ll check if it’s important)
This was the first event of the Vasque runfurther.com ultra series, so although a new event a reasonable turnout was to be expected. The route was to be an out-and-back along the river and into the Forest of Dean.
Not my favourite route type. Upon registration I was informed that a bridge that was to be used to cross the river had been declared unsafe the day before necessitating a change to the route. Now, rather than one out and back we’d do two, the same. Double wammy, I hate doing lapped courses, so my mood sank. Some others there that I knew contemplated alternatives, from differing routes to going back to hotels for fried breakfast and a lie in.
But come 9 am we were all there, and with a blast from an air horn off we plodded. Initially the route followed the river, then cut inland to take a road for 3 miles. After than a brief mile of woodland and then back to the river. At this point there was a chance to grab a cup of water before crossing the river for a 2.5 mile section before turning round and heading back. Then, the route as described, but in reverse.
Then, the same again. Not much else to say.
The marshals were great, no need for maps as the route was signed, but how I hated that bit of road. Four times. On the last occasion I seriously considered finding an alternative, even if it was a couple of miles longer.
My personal opinion is that a better alternative was surely possible, and that even the original route showed more concern for the organisers than for the competitors (I think they are more into triathlons or 5 k races). A new event, and one I don’t think I’ll be repeating in a hurry (if ever), even if the time was good (for me).
I think we all feel Ian’s pain – those who don’t, we admire your spirit of Zen calm…!