Pictures paint a thousand words, which is lucky as it means I won't be banging on too much in this race report. I'm only really writing one to say that yesterday I had my most enjoyable run of the year. Well actually that's unfair, this is a spectacular run in the countryside and one to add to the list of ones to do again and again.
Last year I did this in fairly miserable conditions and it was my first long run after the GUCR. I felt OK that day and bundled home in about 5 and a half hours. This year I had done several long runs since that same race and felt shit every time. Rob, Mark, Ian and Alan (who we converted from the idea of running the 20) seemed to be up for a nice jog. That was fine by me.
It was a glorious day and I was really looking forward to hours in the sun. I even remembered the sun cream this time. I had tried to run as much as possible in the week on the assumption that the sunshine would not last forever. I felt a little stiff from yesterdays handicap but had the unusual advantage of a "good nights sleep" the day before. Anything could happen.
Mark, Rob and I had decided to wear our silly hats we got from the Picnic Marathon. Perfect day to wear them, as the swear built up you could just take it off and wipe your face with your own cold sweat, lovely.
This event starts at the Leatherhead football club which is a leisurely 10 minute walk from the train station. The runners start at 10 which is easy on the train. Hats off to the organisers for making this easy once again, apart from the actual run.
I had forgotten just how hilly this run is. Harder than 3 forts or the south downs marathon. The path is on quite smooth trails without all those annoying rocks of the 3 forts but the hills are non-stop. I ran the first half with Ian and Mark wanting to keep a consistent pace and was doing quite well, feeling strong and enjoying a good run, something that has not happened much this year.
The second half is much hillier than the first and has a bit more cover. Just as it was getting really warm we enjoyed a 5 minute shower that cooled everything right down. Soon we were running up some pretty long hills and between 20-23 miles there are some spectacular valley views that you get to enjoy close up as we descended down them and then back up the steps. There is a checkpoint at 23 miles and from the an incline that seems to last forever. At least a mile anyway.
I finished running with Alan who I shamelessly allowed to do all the map reading and Phil who I've known for a couple of years and has run the same GUCR's as me.
An important thing to note about this event is that is does not have food at the checkpoints. It is something the LDWA are famous for but this isn't strictly an LDWA event. Still, for £4 who's complaining.
Hope the pictures give an idea of what it was like. Just wrote this really to remind myself that I like running sometimes.