Lesley Pymm reports: The Kymin is a National Trust site just outside Monmouth. It is on the top of a hill! I have done the Kymin Dash a couple of times before, but this was a new route and I was not really sure what to expect. We were told that the start was a 15 minute walk from the Sports Centre where race HQ was, but I thought they were exaggerating – nothing of the sort! We walked up a path that we always ran on the old course – but it did mean that runners were not meandering over the road and getting in the way of traffic.
At the end of the path there is a road, and this was the start of the race. The road continued uphill ahead of us. We were all set to start when a Sainsbury’s Home Delivery Van chugged slowly up the hill in front of us. The driver did look a bit worried when he saw this mass of runners waiting to follow him up the hill. He was given time to get out of the way and then the Mayoress started the event.
It was a hard slog uphill, and a bit of a surprise when I realized that we were not going off road when the road turned sharply to the right, but we were following it all the way up to the Kymin. If you read my report on Barlaston where my first mile had been sub-8, this one was 12.39.52! What a difference a course makes! Along this bit of road, the Sainsbury’s Delivery Van was parked at the side of the road with the man obviously wishing he had picked a different time to make that delivery!
We turned onto the grounds around the Kymin and over the mat for the chip timing (there was a prize for the King and Queen of the Kymin i.e. the man and woman who got there first – I did not think I needed to worry too much about that!) – of more interest was the drink station! I don’t normally need a drink after just over a mile, but it was pretty welcome there. The air was warmer than it has been lately and if it had been anything like it usually is in late April we would have really needed the water station.
Then it was off downhill on a decent forestry track. It was a good run, undulating after the initial hard climb. We ran through Highmeadow Woods, where there were a few brave bluebells making a bit of a show, and a lovely smell of wild garlic which was everywhere. I was running in front of a woman who I knew was in my category, and she passed me at about 4 miles. I saw her go and thought I was unlikely to catch her as she looked pretty fit.
At about 5 miles we came onto a cycle track and were told it was level from there. I suppose it was, but it was running into a headwind so still pretty hard work. It was picturesque as it was alongside the River Wye. The last mile or so was road. I saw that I was gaining on the woman who had passed me at 4 miles so I started pushing a bit. We turned into the car park of the Sports Centre and just had a couple of hundred meters to go to finish on the astroturf. I went for it and passed her. Then I just had to stay there. Lungs aching, I stayed in front.
There was probably more road than I would have liked, and if I had known I would have made a different shoe choice, especially as it was so dry. I enjoyed it. There was a cake at the end, oh – and a technical T shirt. Good facilites for a shower before the drive home. It was very slightly over 7 miles and my time was 68.03, which seemed reasonable.