At the beginning of the year I said once London Marathon was done I was going to find an event to do up north and combine this with a meet up with the lovely CJ. Being an avid reader of Runner’s World I was aware of the Trailblazer events they organise with Rat Race. A quick look on google maps and I realised this was indeed not far from CJ. Out came the credit card, hotel and race booked, sorted.
The trouble was I should have checked the calendar first. I assumed this would be the weekend at the end of the school’s half term, wrong, it turns out that it was the first weekend. Never mind it was still doable, but would mean traveling on the Friday of a long weekend.
We both knocked off early on Friday and headed up the M5 to the North. Now some would query whether Nottingham should be classified as North England or Midlands, well all I would say to this is that to me these days anything past Bristol is North and let me tell you the land of Robin Hood is a very long way past Bristol, so certainly ‘up North’.
The sat nav had our arrival time at 3:11, we in fact arrived at 4:45. At points in the journey although we were moving, but it appeared the destination was also, further away! Grrr.
Anyway we finally arrived, ate and settled in to our hotel room, a double bed for me and a double bed for her, luxury.
The next morning we set off for Clumber Park and arrived in plenty of time, for me to register and get madam to the parkrun start. I left Madam, her barcode and my car keys with the lovely parkrun people and headed off back to the Trailblazer start.
I was amazed by how few people there were for the half marathon (there was a 10k later on). We were meant to be set off in waves, but I assume as there was not that many of us they set us off as one. I think this was a mistake, we bottled necked twice in the first mile, bringing us to a complete standstill. This would not have happened if they had set us off in waves and was so doable as we were all chipped.
The first mile was slow! I then seemed to struggle to mile 5. In my head I wanted to come in, in under two hours, but having never done a trail (Without knee-deep mud) half marathon before I was not sure what to expect. I tried to cut myself some slack, last weekend I had run 25 miles in total, not great preparation, my legs seemed tired and heavy. Time to not clock watch Shaz,
The route was lovely, mostly off-road, soft underfoot, some long grass, a bit of mud and undulations. The marshals were great and water stations aplenty. I saw two deer and heard a cuckoo, fabulous.
At mile 10 I peaked at my watch. I was stunned. 3 miles to go, 29 minutes to get in under the two hours, it was doable. Mile 13 was my fastest mile spurred on by a down hill and ‘the end is nigh’ thoughts and there was Madam at the top of a slope, she joined me for the last little bit, directed me to the finish with the words ‘its down hill from here’ I glanced at my watch, ordered my legs to go faster and raced to the end coming in 11 seconds under the two hours! Phew
I collected my goodies, of which there was plenty
and we headed out of Clumber Park to meet CJ.
I have been fortunate to meet a few fellow bloggers over the years and happy to report all of them have been lovely and not an axe murderer amongst them (don’t we tell our children not to meet strangers they have ‘met’ over the internet and what do we do?) and CJ is equally as lovely and I did not spot an axe! We had a lovely lunch, we sat outside in the sun (seems the sun does shine up north occasionally!) chatting with our children like we have been real life friends for years rather than cyber ones. A lovely way to spend the Saturday of bank holiday, we just wont mention the journey on the way home!