Laura Gale reports on the Magnificent Eastnor Castle 7 – 14th April 2013
It was a lovely bright morning for a race, and the location was beautiful. Set in the grounds of Eastnor Castle which is on the side of the Malvern Hills, it was a very regal looking start to the event. Team Teal was made up of me and Antony Stewart – both of us looking to ‘get some hills in’ in preparation for longer hilly runs we have signed up for. It was super windy, but mild, so no bitter biting wind to contend with today. I was slightly anxious though as my portable loo rocked in the wind…
About 150 runners of all ages lined up, and after a friendly briefing we were off. Pretty much straight into the first steep hill, where I stuck with Antony and we passed quite a few other runners. We then started on a long straight section which went through some pretty woods. Fantastic views at this point – which I tried to make the most of to distract myself. This was 3 miles of punishing up-hill climb. We were on tracks which were wet, slippy and quite ‘technical’ (is that the running term used for when you have to think about where you put your feet?) There was a water station around this point, but I had Bob Glover in my head, saying that I didn’t need a drink and that I could overtake the 3 guys who had slowed down to grab a cup. Good old Bob. After this followed quite a treacherous down hill section. The surface was wobbly and rocky, and you could easily have turned your ankle if you were unlucky. I quite enjoyed the extra danger element! Caught up in the race, I was probably going too fast and did fall at this stage, but into soft, sticky, deep mud and not onto the rocks, thank goodness. 2 runners who had been on my shoulder took advantage of my recklessness and over-took. Not for long though. I was feeling really strong and really competitive (i think i could still hear the cheers from the Road Relays the day before) and picked off the 2 runners a short while later. At about 4 and a half miles we started another hill climb up to an obelisk. I had read, with fear, about the climb to the “orrible obelisk” beforehand. It was pretty hard going, but with Thursday night hill reps in my mind, I dug deep, used my arms and kept my head up. Antony’s wife and children were up there to cheer me on! Thank you!!! After this point it was down hill to the finish – through bumpy, tussocky marsh land to start with, then onto a track. I have never run down such a steep hill before in my life! It was brilliant, if a little scary and out of control. With gravity now on my side I sailed past a Malvern Jogger who had a few encouraging words for me, then it was round a field and across the finish.
I was handed a commemorative etched half pint glass which was promptly filled with orange squash, and a jammy doughnut. Nice one.
The positive voices from BvH training in my head really helped me get round the tough bits of the course – so thanks guys! I had a brilliant run and felt amazing at the end.
65th Laura Gale 1.02.06
91st Antony Stewart 1.06.00
Organised by Ledbury Harriers, this was a well organised, friendly, challenging but low-key race with amazing scenery in a beautiful part of the country. Recommended!
Full results here: http://www.ledburyharriers.org.uk/Eastnor%20results%202013.pdf