Sarah Rock writes: As I stood on the start line surrounded by what looked like experienced fell runners on an overcast and windy September Sunday, I wondered why on earth I had chosen to spend my birthday running a race. And not only a race, but one called ‘The Beast’.
The Beast is run on the Aylesbury Equine X Country course, and so is basically runners racing round a 33-obstacle course that is built for horses – this means too things 1) the obstacles/jumps are high and 2) its very, very hilly! I started off on a downhill stretch across beautiful countryside and was bounding across the various obstacles by jumping as high as I could aiming my right foot onto the top of the obstacle, then the left one landing on the ground on the other side – as my garmin beeped to signal the end of mile 1, I had run it in just over 7 mins – fantastic!
This strategy worked until about 2 miles, when the never-ending hills and wading through rivers meant that I was so tired, I was now clambering over the obstacles, in a not very lady like fashion. As I slowed to 9.5 min miling, people started to overtake me and all I could do was hang on until the end of the first 5 mile lap.
At 5 miles, you can ‘double (do another lap) or quit’, and quitting was all I was fit for. Surprisingly, I finished only to find that I was the third lady quitter home, meaning for the first time ever in my life, I had won a prize for running! Just goes to prove that getting older has its benefits and the only disappointing thing about the day, was the absence of post-race Melton Mowbray pork pies!