This was the first running of this event. I did the 10 miles there last year – they did a choice of 5 or 10 miles last March. This year it was 5, 10 or 21k in February. It is a stunning course over parkland and through woods in this beautiful setting. As I had not run very much lately, I checked at the beginning that I could finish after the first loop if necessary (10k) and they said that would be OK. I didn’t want to do that, but was pleased to keep my options open. The start was in a different place to last year as, apparently, the locals from the village of Norton had complained in 2012! This meant that we had to do a funny little loop at the beginning of each lap, just to make up the distance.
Lesley Pymm reports:
We then ran down towards the house and turned off to the right to head towards the ‘bouncy bridge’, which I remembered well from last year. Imagine my disappointment when I realised that we were not going over the famous bridge and alongside the river. This is because of the weather over recent weeks. It was then back in front of the house and off onto a muddy uphill track. The climbing seemed to go on forever before we turned off and went up a bit more and then onto a flattish field. Around that and then onto another muddy track and into woods again. Coming out of the woods there was a steep downhill and I could see the end of the first lap/10k finish. Around the field and I was there. I still felt good.
On, on then. The second lap was much the same except that they had put a new loop in to make up the extra distance. There are no mile markers on this event, but I was wearing my new, super-dooper, GPS watch and knew that it was at about 9.5 miles that I started to feel a bit shattered! I was surprised to come out of the extra bit and onto familiar territory as I thought I had further to go than that. Maybe there is another extra bit, I thought. Anyway, I eventually came to the steep downhill where I could again see the finish – cruel if they make us do an extra bit here. They didn’t. The course was short and I was not complaining! It was a tough course and I had a good workout. Probably too good considering I had not run at all for the best part of two weeks apart from the parkrun the day before.
The soup that I had been looking forward to had all gone by the time I got in, but there were coffee and some lovely cakes left. These were served by women who looked shocked that I had completed the longer event (they didn’t actually say ‘at your age’, but I sensed it)! As this was organised by Black Country Triathletes, they used the triathlon age category system – age at December 2013 – so this was my first event at W60.
Fantastic course, they did apologise that it was short because of the weather and conditions in the park and they will try to get it right next year.