When I first moved to Devon I did a half marathon in the New Forest. The 13.1 miles were described as flat. I was not impressed when that was a big fat lie (press here to read about it) I realised then that unless the course description contained the words ‘pancake flat’ then it was more than likely to have hills.
Fast forward four years and things are very different.
I read the course description for the Dursley Dozen and it contained the words steeply, hill, undulating, steep descent, steep ascent, For the final climb “THE PRECIPICE” ropes are provided and mud, oh my kind of event, where is the credit card let me sign up!
Sunday morning I headed up the M5, wondering if it was going to ever get light, it was as though someone had put one of those energy saving lightbulbs in and it was taking for ever to reach full outage. Dreary.
Car parked, number collected, cake stall checked out (lots there I can take my time), serious 4×4 trainers on, hat, buff, hanky and gloves, all set. I followed the stream of runners to the start, all trying to keep warm.
10:30 we were off, downhill, yay, then 200 metres steeply up, is it too early to walk? No according to my calf muscles, walking was the only way forward. Fortunately a majority of those around me did the same. I was pleased to get off the road in to the woods, as it levelled out a bit, but it was still tough going due to the mud and then another climb.
The run basically went like this down, up, down, steep up, golf course, steep down, mud, muddy mud, up hill, gold course, road, slippy mud, rocks, road, mountain, snow, road, down hill. Every hill I came too I thought oh this must be the precipice they mentioned, but they haven’t added the rope this year. Each hill was tough and surely could not get any harder. Wrong. The precipice comes in the last quarter of the run, just when every leg muscle is screaming in pain. The rope was much needed for the first bit of the climb and then due to very poor arm strength (think T-rex) I opted to let the legs to the work and found it easier proceed without pulling. When the rope finishes I assumed wrongly that, that was the end of the hill, oh no we still had another climb up to the golf course. Then it was all down hill to the finish. Phew.
Another great event, with some very enthusiastic marshals and great support on the course. I got to the end without the body complaining too much and without falling over in any of the mud, so that must count as a success. Hills, mud and a sprinkling of snow, a great way to spend a Sunday.
Oh and a great t-shirt