I went down to the Grantham the previous night and had problems finding the Travelodge which meant that I did about 30min more driving than I need have done. Not a great start !
Got to the start very early, but at least this meant that I got a parking space at the village hall which was the finishing point – I would be very pleased at the end that I didn’t have to walk very far.
Had two cups of tea whilst I was waiting and if I wasn’t a vegetarian I would have been very tempted by the bacon or sausage butty. This is the 19th running of this event and the whole thing worked like a well oiled machine, it appeared as if the whole village was out helping. Both events were full – the 15m and the 26m. There looked to be slightly more walkers than runners. Faffed around deciding what to wear. Started in shorts, changed my mind and got into tights and stuck with that. Put a couple of packets of yoghurt coated raising in my back pocket and just one gel. I was a bit nervous about having just one gel for such a distance, but I thought I would just rely on the food and drink at the checkpoints – five of them.
It started at the school up the road and then went through the narrow village streets. This was a bit messy as several walkers started at the front which caused a bit of a holdup, but at least my first half mile wasn’t too fast. Got out of the village onto a firm trail and the courses forked – the 15m route went right and the 26m route went left and suddenly I had loads of space and nothing but runners ahead of me. The trail got muddier and then we were into a muddy field and into the next village – all the villages we went through (must have been ten or so) were very pretty. We soon started the first climb and I decided to walk them all. Into some lovely woods and after 5m we came to the first checkpoint. It was just amazing ! Load and loads of cake, pizza, loads of alternative drinks including tea. I decided to eat every other checkpoint and drink at each one, so I didn’t linger too long, although it was tempting.
And so it went on, we went past Belvoir Castle, very impressive, through muddy fields, muddy tracks, some road sections. Great countryside. All the helpers at the checkpoints were very friendly and helpful. When I got to the last but one at 18.5m I was starting to feel very tired and there was part of me wished that was the end ! I had already had the gel earlier and I think I may have needed more energy. The yoghurt covered raisins I had kept in their boxes in my back pocket, but I won’t do that again, the boxes had disintegrated and were a soggy mess. So the cake at this checkpoint was very welcome and I picked up a bit after this.
Before the last checkpoint, I had just crossed an over the ankle deep muddy section and was just leaving the field when I heard somebody shouting behind me. A small group of cows had wandered on to the path behind me and the woman behind was asking me to move them as she was terrified of cows, so I ran back and shooed them away. Plodded on to the finish and I was pleased to get there. 4hr 36min. At the finish was soup, load of rolls, various puddings and custard, tea, coffee etc, just loads to eat and all included in the entry fee. I had taken printed maps with me, but only once did I need them as the course was superbly marked with tape and signs – another indication of how well organised this event was.
If you fancy a long mainly off road run, I would strongly recommend this one.
|1||Mark White||Leicester Tri Club||M||3:13:24|