Lesley Pymm reports on the Colworth Marathon Challenge.
This is the 5th time that I have completed the Colworth Marathon Challenge and it is still a great weekend of running. It is held at Colworth in Bedfordshire and is on the site of the Unilever farms and works. There is free camping all weekend with bouncy castle and other entertainment for the children on the Friday evening.
Usually there is a live band on the Friday as well, but this year the football rather put paid to that. The bar at the social club has a range of real ales and ciders and perrys, there was also a BBQ and samosas etc. on the Friday, curries were available on the Saturday and jacket potatoes and sandwiches on the Sunday. So apart from the running it is a good social event.
Now to report on the runs which are all off road/multi-terrain:
Colworth 5 – this is an evening 5 mile race around the farms on the site. This year it was very dry and easy running. Towards the end there is some woodland to go through. Quite a high turnout for the run, but not as many as usual – I wonder if there were competing priorities for some people? The memento was a medal. My time was 51.19
Colworth 8.1 – this is the run that I prefer and many others hate. It goes around a few fields but then goes up and back along a track which can be very muddy indeed. This year it wasn’t, and as it was so dry you had to be really careful as there were ruts in the mud that had dried and a number of people did trip over. The memento was a handtowel with the logo of the event on. My time 1.29.15
Colworth 1/2M – the final event of the weekend. A number of people had just come for this event, and so were quite fresh compared to those of us doing the full marathon challenge. It takes in much of the 5 mile course. It is a 2 lap course and I was quite comfortable on the first lap. Just as I started on my second lap, the sun came out. It was really beating down, but I knew that once I got to 11 miles it would be all in the shade – I just had to get to the magic 11 mile marker. The course took us by Santa Pod Raceway with all the smells and noise that come from there. We passed fields of flax and other crops. Plenty of drink stations all the way round and very supportive marshals. The memento was a mug. My time was 2.35.07.
My complete marathon time was 4.55.41 (my watch times as I have not seen the results yet) and there was a small golden running shoe for all those who completed. For those who completed 5 or more (which included me) there was an engraved whiskey tumbler as well. There is a lovely atmosphere at the event as we are all in this together and people help each other to get round and support each other. There are team prizes as well, and prizes for Unilever employees.