Lesley Pymm reports: It is a few years since I have run this multi-terrain 1/2M, but I was looking forward to it. Driving down the M40 towards the venue at Horton-cum-Studley, it did seem to be getting very warm. The event starts at 2.00, so it can be quite warm by the time it gets going. We arrived at the venue, which is a really good village fete (apparently this started 34 years ago as a run with a cup of tea at the end, and has grown into this excellent fete with a run attached) which is great for family and friends. The course goes over Otmoor, an area of outstanding beauty with unique flora a fauna dating back to Roman times; not that you really get the chance to appreciate it when running.
I slapped on plenty of sunscreen and made sure I was well hydrated, then off we went. I had looked at the map and there was more road than I remembered – I do have selective memory! Anyway, within a few hundred yards of the start we were off road and running along a track. This was followed by field paths. We did come out onto a long road section at a village called Murcot fairly soon, and I was beginning to think I had made a mistake running on such a warm day – the weather has been so cool lately that I have not really had the opportunity to acclimatize to warmth! The road section continued through Fencott, Charlton and Oddington.
I think it was good that most of the road was early on and I felt better when I got off road. There are 4 drink stations on the event and, after the next shorter road section, I had used 3 of them – I knew that there would not be another until after the ‘never ending field’. The last time I ran this event, I remember that this field had been ploughed and it was really difficult. This year there were fences around and the path was separated from whatever was going on in the field. I loved this bit. It may have been ‘never ending’ but there was shade over much of it because of the hedgerow and, where there wasn’t, there was a lovely breeze. The surface was good to run on and I was quite happy trundling along.
When I came out of the field, there was a large container of water by the side of the road with a poster saying ‘water for runners only’. I did stop to get a drink, but then realised that there were not many cups around and people were faffing about picking up used ones, so I decided to give it a miss. I then got a bit worried that this may have been the official drink station and there may not be any water until the finish!
I then started on the only real hill on the run – a long, fairly steep one to the village of Beckley. As I neared what appeared to be the top of the hill, it all came back to me!!! There was the drink station and I knew that as I turned the corner and collected my drink, the road ahead would still be uphill! Oh well, keep on going.
Over the summit and then onto a fairly rough track. I negotiated that OK and then started going downhill over a field. That was when I did a very inelegant stumble. It was one of those when everything goes into slow motion and I had the chance to wonder what I was going to hurt – and even twist my body so that I did not land on my head. I sat there, stunned, and checked everything was OK – and (surprisingly) it seemed to be. Other runners checked I was OK and, apart from shock, I was. Off I went again.
I think I was a bit slower after that; but it was at about 11 miles, so not too far to go now. Back onto another rough track in the knowledge that very soon the bit of the race that I really do not like was ahead – the last mile or so to the finish is a straight, flat road. Anyway, at least I knew that it was the last bit.
Onto the race start and finish area, I collected a medal and then went in search of food and drink. Mike had already sampled it and the refreshments were very good. I then showered so that I could tell what was dirt and see if there were any bruises. Apart from a little graze on my knee, there was nothing.
So, a good event, great cakes and other things going on to amuse the supporters. What could be better on a sunny Saturday afternoon?
My time was 2.15.31, which I was pleased with on this course.