At last we were back on the trails. We were supposed to do this race May 2020, it was delayed until late last year, and then postponed again back to it’s normal run month of May. I’ve never done this one before, so I didn’t know the route at all.
Road trip started on Friday morning, covid test done, dropped the pup off for his weekend, and then we were on our way. It’s one of the things I love about the campervan – that the trip starts the moment you leave the house, rather than having to endure a long car journey first (I know it’s psychological – it’s just the same journey lol). The weather gods were with us as we arrived at the campsite with no rain and the sun shining – makes for a much easier set up of the awning! As no facilities were open on site we had more than normal with us to make sure we were fully self sufficient.
Rain started at about 3am. I don’t think it stopped until late afternoon!
Staggered start was in place due to the Covid restrictions – our start time was 12.20pm, which meant no rush in the morning. But… I found that really difficult to know when / what to eat (I much prefer running first thing) – porridge for breakfast and a piece of shortbread mid morning – that I came to regret later on.
We headed to the race field with enough time for a look at the Peter Bland stand – two running jackets purchased, quick change into new jackets, old jackets kindly looked after by a friend and we were on the start line. Just six of us, stood on our dots, waiting to go. This was incredibly well organised and I really appreciated the effort to put it in place.
Did I mention the rain? It was heavy enough for a cap on, hood up and with masks in place for the first 100m or so we looked well wrapped up! I don’t really mind running in the rain though, so once we were on our way it wasn’t an issue. I really like the course. Yes it is hilly, but for the most part the climbs are fairly short, there was only one bit I remember that was really steep (up to the summit). There are several streams to cross, one deeper stream with big stepping stones and a path climbing up which was running with water so it felt like a stream – we were wet.
The route is 18k (just over 11 miles). I was hoping that I could complete it in around 2.5 hours. I knew that the hills, both up and down, would slow me down – I really haven’t had enough hill training this year. We’d been informed that there were no water stations and had to be self-sufficient, which meant that as usual I was wearing my Decathlon pack with about a litre of water. A nakd bar and some fruit gums were the fuel.
But… I struggled to eat and drink. I tried to keep sipping water but I kept getting horrible stomach cramps. I only managed two small bites of the nakd bar before I gave up even thinking of trying to eat anything.
We’d climbed up quite high, up into the mist unfortunately missing the views that I knew would be stunning on a better day. We didn’t have much further to go, but I knew we were still high up. We ended up dropping over 150m in just over half a mile – it was steep downhill! A very muddy, narrow path back into the village and we were back in the field to run round to the finish. Tshirt collected, photos taken and back to the van for warm dry clothes.
By this point not eating or drinking much was taking its toll and I felt dreadful. I wish I could find a way to stop this happening, but horrible nausea kept hitting despite getting food and drink into me afterwards. I decided that the best thing was to curl up and have a nap 🙂
- Time: 2:22:12
- Distance: 11.13m
- (Garmin stats)
Would I do it again? I’ve already entered for next year!