24 May 2015 – Weald Challenge 

The Weald Challenge, comprising of 3 distances; 50km Ultra, Marathon and Half Marathon, followed the long distance paths of the Wealdway and the Vanguard way. The start began at 10.30am the road outside the Primary School in Chiddingly Village. Myself and Jenny Kent ran the half marathon distance, which took us over a route made up of 75% of beautiful footpaths/bridleways snaking through undulating fields and wooded archways.

The weather started off warm, rising to an uncomfortable 20 degrees C for myself. The first check-point/drinks station was at 6.2m, so I chose to take around 300ml of water, which was lucky because of the slight mis-direction at around mile 4. This took many runners around 1.2m out of their way, and was attributed to a herd of cows taking umbrage to runners using a footpath across their field. Later, a directional arrow was also sabotaged twice during the race and took away possibilities of a course PB for those returning to the race. The race organiser was very dejected about this and sent out an apologetic email.

The drinks station was well received at my mile 7, and had coke, jaffa cakes, other cake and lots of water on offer. Trestle tables did the job!

The elevation and terrain challenged me considerably, but maybe that was due to going off way too fast, a normal occurrence! However, some single-file action at stiles gave me an opportunity to recover and I started to make some good time. At the end I received my bespoke Weald Challenge mug, which was filled quickly with free hot tea. Unbelievably, to me, on seeing the results, I clocked 1:57:30, and came 5th out of 210 entrants! Not a half PB, but well chuffed, considering the course! Jenny Kent, not yet a fully-fledged Striders Member, clocked 3:17:32 over 14.8 miles after building up to this over the last few months. Jenny also waved down a car to drive another participant, who was in a bad way, back to the village for some help. [Clive]