Lesley Pymm reports: The penultimate event in the League – and it has felt like a pretty long XC season. I arrived in good time to have a bit of a nose round the course which is in the grounds of HMP Hewell Grange near Bromsgrove. The changing rooms were in a rather grand building with statues – but only one shower & loo for the women; we coped though. I ran around part of the course, but not all of it – so there was still potential for surprises. It looked interesting though.
Off we went around a playing field that some poor prisoner was trying to mow! Then around the back of some buildings and onto more interesting terrain. I was last at this stage – but I usually beat the woman who was in front of me, so there was hope. We ran up a little bank with a narrow path on the steep hill. Then we were running in the woods. I passed her and said how lovely the course was. She said ‘It’s OK now, just wait’. Oh dear, what was coming?
Anyway I carried on running through the woods. It did get a bit muddy, but nothing to worry about too much. Eventually I came out close to the start and we had to go round another field (with hill) before starting the lap all over again. I could see the leader coming along but he didn’t catch me until I was in the woods. I was just about to go along the narrow path, so I pulled over to let him go – he was flying.
It was some way before the chasing group came along – again I stopped and moved aside to let them race. It may have made a slight difference to my time, but was not going to affect my position at all. I could see the woman behind, but was pretty sure she would not gain on me that much.
After that the course widened out. There was space for the fast guys to overtake. Around the playing field again to support from the prisoners who were supposed to be working, but couldn’t as we were in their way. The third lap was fine as I was not overtaken and so just had to keep going.
Very scenic and interesting 6.25 miles xc course. I could hear a woodpecker each lap, which was good – couldn’t see it of course! Next week – the final event at Tally Ho!