Belvoir Challenge – 25 February 2017

Lesley Pymm reports:  This has traditionally been part of my Grizzly build up – it had previously been a low cost, self-navigate event, with loads of good food on the way round and at the end. I was surprised when I entered to see that the cost had gone up significantly, and that it was now chip timed and signed.  I had already booked accommodation for the weekend in the Vale of Belvoir, so went ahead with it.

The run (and walk) starts in the village of Harby.  There are two distances, marathon and 15 miles.  I was doing the 15.  It is multi-terrain and can be muddy.  We set off through the village and soon were going over a very muddy field.  It was sticky mud and really sapped energy.  At one point I saw a lot of runners hanging around by a hedge and thought that there must be a stile or some other sort of obstacle.  As I got nearer, I realised that they were all trying to avoid the mud in a gateway, so I just ran through the middle of them.

There was a drink station in the village of Plungar, and then a run through the village.  There was one path that was very slippery with muddy shoes, so I had to run on the grass verge to stay upright.

More field and mud and then there was the climb ahead.  We climbed up a track that was quite muddy and getting steeper all the time in the woods.  Then there was a sign that said something like: ‘If it is too steep and slippery, turn back down the hill and follow yellow and black tape, for a longer but easier route’.  The general view was that we hadn’t gone this far uphill to have to go back down again, so we all carried on.  It was very steep and very slippery.  I was doing OK until a young lad stopped in front of me and I had nowhere to go.  The momentum pushed me forward and I slipped.  I was OK but extremely dirty.

At the top there was a run along the ridge and out to the first checkpoint and feed station (6.7 miles).  I was amazed.  They were queuing up with plates in their hands, like at a buffet!  I just leaned over some people, grabbed a bit of cake (with muddy hands) and a drink and ran on.

Soon I came out onto a road which had to be run along before turning off and over fields again.  Eventually coming out at the village of Branston and then on to Eaton where the second feed station was at about 10.2 miles.  Not so crowded here, I took a bit of flapjack and Mars bar, with a drink, and carried on.

It was more fields and then into the village of Stathern – where I noticed for the first time that there is War Graves Cemetery. A bit more field running and then back to Harby and the finish.

There was soup and rolls and apple pie and custard.

If I am honest, I did not enjoy it as much as I have previously and can only put this down to the fact that it was not self-navigate any more.  The route was much the same as I have done before, but I didn’t feel as involved.  I will be looking for something else for a long run at about that time of year in future.  However, I know that the fact that it was not marked has put some from BvH off – so maybe it is the time to go for it now!  It was certainly well organised and the food remains good.

Belvoir Challenge