On a personal note, this was a 10-mile trail event that I did not want to do. Originally posted by Rob in the Striders group, I decided that I would accompany him on this one and have a run around with him (such is his relaxed “enjoy it/training run” approach with local trail runs). Shortly after entering it, I checked the entry list only to see the complete absence of his name from the entry list. He wasn’t in, nor was he going to be. I didn’t want to do it on my tod!
As a club we had a truly fantastic night at the Rainbows 100-lap challenge on Friday night, and that sprinting resulted in some tired legs on Saturday morning. On Saturday morning, I was roped into accompanying one of our juniors at race effort at parkrun – and so on Sunday I definitely did not want to do the event that I did not want to do.
Sunday morning came around and the feeling in the legs confirmed that I definitely did not want to do it. By this point, I had found out that another Strider (Simon Proctor) would be joining me, and that he was willing to drive. This kind of meant that I had to do the event that I didn’t want to do.
We got checked in to the registration in the picturesque grounds of Foremarke Hall, and the sun was beating down. I knew that there was no part of me that wanted to do this event.
Having convinced myself that I was just going to jog around it to complete it, we took to the start line – Simon was far more keen than I was to be completing his first race as a paid-up Strider. The run took us around the grounds of the £8,000 per term boarding school before exiting over some nearby fields. After a fairly open first mile, there is a long two mile stretch of single file running due to the lack of path width through crop fields and by streams, ditches, and hedges. This single file traffic meant that there was no option to take it easy – you simply had to keep up with the person in front as no-one wants to be the one to inconvenience the person behind (#verybritishproblems). At the 5 mile marker there is a testing hill across an open field with the first of two water stations at the top of it. I was starting to feel weirdly OK about doing this race by now.
A lovely run around the outskirts of Ticknall Village brought us into a mile long stretch of woodland – and everyone who knows running knows that on a good run there is always a wood!!! Another tough hill up to the 2nd water station at 7.5 miles and I was starting to love this event.
The hills fell away to a fast downhill path which covered almost the entire last 2 miles of the course brought us back in to the school grounds and across the line. I crossed the line in 1.27.30 (43rd), and Simon in 1.38.47 (85th). We were both really pleased with our times, the route, the atmosphere, the organisation, and the complimentary boot-bag to all finishers. We were there for the inaugural event with 144 runners, but this event is already a staple race for next year’s calendar and a strong recommendation for anyone with a spare weekend next July. It’s only going to grow from here. Absolutely loved it, and knew that I would!