Lesley Pymm reports: I have always used this race as part of my Grizzly build up, so was a bit disappointed when they changed it from a 10 mile hill race to an 8 mile trail race. In fact, it turned out to be 8.8 miles and there was just one major hill that was missed out. It was good to see Laura Gale and her sister at the start. Not enough teal to make a team, but good to have another BvH member there. It was very mild. I have done this event in very different conditions, but this was probably the easiest as the ground was pretty dry as well.
The run starts at Moor Park School near Ludlow. We run over the playing fields and up the slope towards the road. I am usually running with the sweep on this slope, so was pleased to see that the change in distance had encouraged some slower runners to enter and I was not last! I passed a man I had met at Wrekin Wrecker and had told about this event. We crossed the road and into the woods, still climbing. Then downhill on a track and along a wider track, over a bridge and then dropping to cross the stream and to run alongside it for a while. Another short uphill and then (the bit I really don’t like) a very steep downhill. This year it was not as slippery as usual which was a great relief. Over the stream again and then the BIG climb. I managed to keep a better speed going than usual – sometimes I get stuck behind people who have the wrong shoes on and who are slipping all over the place. Not so this year.
At the top it is onto a forestry road for a while, still climbing before dropping down again. There is a really steep downhill but I knew there was some very runnable terrain at the bottom so was looking forward to that bit. Going along this section I knew that the dreaded ‘ups and downs’ were ahead. Again this was not as slippery as in previous years and was much easier. Eventually got to the top of the last one and knew that this was the worst over with.
The drink station was more or less where it always is, and it was then that the route changed. This was interesting as it was sections I had not run before. Eventually coming out at the nasty downhill slope that we did near the start. It was more slippery than it had been on the way out – and a relief that it was not wetter or it would have been so hard! Then alongside the river again and the final climb back out of the valley and downhill to the finish.
The course was only about 1.25 miles shorter than usual, but I felt so much fresher. I jogged back to the school – something I had not done for years. No sign of Laura, but she did finish a long time before me and was on the promise of lunch!
I won my category (a posh Christmas pudding). I am still undecided about whether to do this in future as it has changed. I think I will probably not prioritize it, but will do it if it fits in with other Christmas commitments!
There is a website which is not the easiest to navigate but if you can find it there is a link to a short film of the event that a woman running near me made. It will give you some idea of how much more fun it is than running round Sneyd,
Oh – times. Laura Gale 100.18 and Lesley Pymm 125.40