Lesley Pymm reports: This is one of my regular events, part of my build up to the Grizzly in March. This year it was a lot warmer and dryer than it has been in many previous years. The event begins in the village of Harby in the Vale of Belvoir.
It is the main fundraising event for the village school (75 children) and the whole community gets involved in either setting up the course, registration, feed stations, cooking/baking, caring for runners and walkers at the end etc. The children from the school design the certificate and make ‘thank-you’ pictures to leave on the tables when we get refreshment at the end – but I am getting ahead of myself (food, food, food – is it all she ever thinks of?)
There is a long route (26 ish miles) and the short route (15.2). I have always done the short one as that seems about right for this time of year. The runners and walkers set off together, and this year both routes started in the same direction. We were told that we would be together for about 7 miles. The run to the first checkpoint took us over farmland and so many stiles that I lost count!
When I got to the checkpoint I found a table that was groaning under the weight of the food on it – there are times when I think maybe I should walk these events rather than run them. Anyway, being a runner, I helped myself to a small piece of lemon drizzle cake, 1/4 banana and a drink of blackcurrant squash and then took off towards the next checkpoint which was at 11 miles and seemed an awfully long way away! Some of the terrain got harder and the stiles continued, we also had to climb over electric fences as we got nearer to Belvoir Castle.
Soon I could see the castle in the distance – we had been told that the 7 mile point was just below the castle and I seemed to have been out a very long time to have not yet done 7 miles, but I just kept on going. Eventually I got to the split and continued through a field of crops before turning uphill for about 1/2 mile or so and onto a ridge. This was lovely running, snowdrops everywhere and beech woods with good views between the trees. Eventually I came out of the woods and was told by a woman that the next checkpoint was just along the track.
This came as a real surprise as I thought I had at least 2 miles to go, so I think the man must have been wrong when he said the split was at 7 miles. Anyway – I had done 11 miles and again explored the table of food. This time it was cookies and a jam scone with my drink and I was off again. I decided that I could possible finish this in 3 hours, much faster than previous years.
I soon changed my mind when I found that a track in the forest that was usually very muddy had now been ‘resurfaced’ with hardcore. It was so difficult to run on and I was really worried about going over – falling on mud is one thing, but these rocks were something else. Eventually I got to the end of this difficult bit and was able to run properly again.
The running was good and then I started to see signs for the finish – another look at my watch – I could do this in 3! I really dug in and Mike seemed a bit surprised when I went belting past the car without even waving, with real determination on my face.
I got to the village hall where it finished and my watch said 2:59:54 – unfortunately it is one of those events where you end up in a queue at the end, have your number cut off you and passed to someone else who inputs into the computer. My time on the results when they go on the website will be over 3hrs 1 min – but I know I did it!
Then, after getting some cleanish clothes on, it was back into the hall for soup and a roll followed by pudding and custard. Great day out, good training run over some interesting countryside – and so much easier than in previous years thanks to the weather. Bring on the Grizzly!!!