Lesley Pymm reports: I had been on holiday in Devon and Cornwall, and the Somerset Levels were on the way home, well – sort of, so I thought it was a good idea to do this run.
The idea of anything ‘level’ is not really top of my list of what makes a good run, but a quick look at the profile for this event and it was clear that although there are flat bits, there are also some massive climbs too.
It was the second running of the marathon and the first of the half and it was based at a caravan and camp site where Mike and I camped for the couple of nights prior to the event, so we got to explore the area a bit and learned a bit about the Levels, so by the time the morning came I was quite looking forward to it.
The marathon went off at 9.30, so I saw them off and then wondered around a bit before bumping into Becky Hampson who was there with her father Tony who runs for Minehead. One more woman and we could have had a chance in the team event! Anyway, eventually we were off along the road downhill, before going off-road after about a mile.
We ran over to Langport and then picked up the road again to Curry Rivel. I had been warned that this bit was boring – and they were right, but it was the only way to get us there. It was just before Curry Rivel that we joined up with the marathon runners who had been off doing a loop for a couple of hours!
After Curry Rivel we went off road again and passed a memorial on the hill before a steep down hill, then a levelish bit before going back up-hill again. I think it was at about 6 miles that one of the Marathon runners said to Becky that she was still looking as if she had only just started and she had to admit that she had only done a few miles!
There was some good countryside and one absolutely dreadful field, which had been ploughed and so you had to run on a very narrow bit on the long perimeter, and a bit more road before we got back to Langport and went off road again alongside the River Parrott. I was lucky here as the marathon and 1/2 routes went slightly differently and as I went over the field as directed, the direction signs had blown over – fortunately I saw another participant ahead and followed him.
Although this was fairly level, it was not easy running and we went through a lot of gates with little steps, so they really messed up any rhythm you had. Through a village where there was a fun day going on – a display of old Fergie tractors and some children doing their drum majorette display before we had the final water station and the final climb – this was a really steep one back to the campsite. It could have been worse, I could have been doing the full marathon and been 25 miles in at this time!
Becky’s time was 2.05.18, Tony 2.30.22 and me 2.54.51 (1st W55) (full results)
There was probably too much road for my liking, but it is impossible to do it any other way – a look at the OS map and you can see that there are no paths that cross the levels, so we had to go on roads round them. A good event, friendly and one I would do again if there was nothing off-road that weekend! There are not many events where you can get a bath afterwards! Luxury.