I think I must have signed up for this race pretty much as soon as I heard about it. That would account for me getting bib number 14. I obviously didn't read the web page too closely because I really hate trail running. When I did realise it was a trail run I thought that, as it was on National Trust property it would be the sort of paths that would be suitable for elderly ladies in wheelchairs and yummy mummies with their buggies and not 'proper' trail. So it was with a degree of trepidation that I laced up my trail shoes and set off for The Vyne this morning.
I got there far too early of course - I always do, but I'd much rather be early than late. Arriving early gave me a chance to get my bearings, work out where the loos were - all those important things! Registration was in front of the house - and seemed to work smoothly with Chineham Park Running Club members manning the desks and greeting all the eager runners.
I didn't take in much of the scenery I'm afraid. I was too busy concentrating on staying upright. At the water station I decided it was prudent to stop and drink rather than trying to run down hill while drinking from an open cup! I never take water with me on a 10k run, but somehow running past a water station always makes me feel terribly thirsty!
There was one short, sharp steep hill - where a parkrun friend and CPRC member stood capturing photographic evidence of how hard we were working - and another longer, less steep hill. For those of us running the 10k we had to do these twice. I spent most of the second lap trying to remember where the hills were and failing miserably! At the end of the second lap we turned right and were back in the field, as we did this I overtook a man from Bramley Trail Runners, thinking that we were just a short sprint from the finish line. Funny how the mind can play tricks on you - it was quite a long haul over the uneven ground and mainly up hill too. I managed to hold my place until we crossed the line - he managed to nose ahead of me but only just!
I stopped my Garmin at 54:26. My road PB is 49:16 and I haven't been close to that all this year, so I am happy with my time. I had no expectations of how I would get on this morning, and after taking an early tumble I definitely erred on the side of caution - especially on the steep downhill sections. I am not a convert to trail running - it requires far too much concentration for me, but I would definitely run this one again, just for…er…fun...
I met up at the finish with various running friends. It was a pleasure to run a race with the woman who got me into running. She was completing her first 5k race today, and has decided that she will enter the Bupa 10,000m next year! It was lovely to cheer people over the finish line and watch the prize ceremony for the top finishers. That done we made our way back to collect our bags and enjoy a post race massage thanks to the guys at North Hampshire Sports Massage - they kindly plonked my sore foot in an icy boot thingy while I waited for my friends to have their turn on the massage tables.
This was a great race, with excellent organisation and nice medals (not sure if you can call wood 'bling'). It was lovely to see so many people I know both amongst the runners and the marshals - it is such a boost to have someone call out your name as you run, and the marshals were very good at lying and saying that I was looking good!
Thank you to everyone at CPRC and The National Trust who made it all happen.