Black Death Run – 13 May 2012

Lesley Pymm reports: On a beautiful, sunny Sunday morning I stood at the Start of Hell with Paul Thompson’s brother-in-law and Becky Hampson’s father – how about joining your relatives there next year and encouraging friends so that we can have that familiar sea of teal out in Somerset!
This run is amazing. Whoever thinks of this course deserves a medal as we probably never go very far from the start/finish area, but wind and climb (mainly climb) around over 10 beautiful miles. We entered the Start of Hell where the Grim Reaper saw us off with some safety advice, having first posed for many photos with runners!

A short while later we came to a halt as a bridge had been swept away in recent floods and so we had to queue up to scramble down the bank and cross the stream – some made more of a meal of this than others! We then climbed up into the forest and worked our way around to the first drink station, which is also the second drink station, so that gives some idea of the complexity of the course.

There were lovely views, a couple of very steep downhill sections where it was a bit slippery and care was needed. Other than that it was just a good training run – I couldn’t do much else after the relays the day before! At about 4 miles we run through the remains of Goodley Hamlet. This was a settlement of 36 people and they had kept themselves isolated during the plague.

However, towards the end of the plague years one of the inhabitants took the decision to go to Watchett to get some provisions. He returned with the infection and soon afterwards the whole community was wiped out. This was 6 months before the plague ended in Britain. Hence the ‘Black Death Run’.

We passed some pools with waterfalls connecting one with the next. There seemed to be more water around than there has been previously.

The final three miles take you up to the highest point where there are some terrific views and bluebells and primroses, before the final last mile which really is all downhill.

At the finish there were cakes and tea/coffee and a Cotleigh Brewery beer tent. There was also entertainment for the children and there had been a 3 mile fun run/walk – so something to keep family members occupied when their runners were out enjoying themselves.

Race website:
Full results (PDF)