Lesley Pymm reports: It is some years since I last ran this event, and I decided to go over to Cannock Chase and give it a go. Things had changed since last time – for instance, the car parking was in a different place and the cafe was not open. Staffs Harriers did have a refreshment tent though, so all was well. I think the course was a bit different to what I remember, but I could be wrong – and anyway that is a bit acedemic as will be explained later!
It had been a very warm evening, but it did cool a bit before the start and we all walked/jogged to the start area. There was chip timing, but I always use gun time anyway. We were off and running on tarmac to start with. I was feeling it on my knees and was not happy! I had warmed up – maybe it was the pump session earlier.
The path started to get a bit more trail like, but was still hard as it had been so dry lately. We ran round a short loop and then started on the more interesting longer loop. I ran past a marshal who was looking very concerned and saying: ‘I don’t know what to do’. Someone asked if there was a problem and he said that we were all going the wrong way! Well. I just kept on following everyone else, it seemed the most sensible thing to do at the time.
We ran through some woods and then out onto a moorland section and started to run along the path, only to realise that the faster runners were coming back again. Then someone said to go along a path that was just by me. We all charged along there. It was difficult as the faster runners were now all trying to get back again and were pushing their way through. I have a few bruises to show for this section.
Anyway – we came across a marshal and it was clear that we were back on track again. Everything went well after that. Back onto the small loop again and then we followed the outward path back again. We passed the start and kept going to the finish – I remembered that it did seem never ending.
My eventual distance was 4.98 miles – so I did about the right distance even if it wasn’t the correct course. Obviously I had ‘beaten’ runners who had run further than me, so it was all a bit of a shambles. The club was very apologetic about what had happened – but there was nothing they could do about it. I wasn’t that bothered as I had a decent run – but as there were good prizes on offer for those who beat the record, there were others who were a bit more affected by it. These things happen, however. I’m sure it won’t happen there again!
Good run in lovely surroundings.