A message from Sportlink

We thought your members might like to know about the New Balance Instore Day coming up this Saturday the 25th May. The New Balance Tech rep, Jack Wadsworth, will be bringing try on sets on the New Balance 1080 v13, Vongo v6, 880 v14 and 860 v13 for customers to put on and join us for a gentle 5km run around Taverham.
It’s a fantastic opportunity to put the shoes through their paces and to ask Jack about the New Balance range. Absolutely no obligation to buy, but don’t forget that all your club members get 15% discount in store at Sportlink!
We look forward to seeing some of you on Saturday. We will be setting out for the run at 10.30am so come in early to make sure you get the shoe of your choice!
Best wishes

Bury to Clare

Bury to Clare, 5th May.

We had talked about doing this run last year when we went through Clare on the Two Castles marathon. Kerrie and Lucy had said that it was a lovely run, and now having taken part in it – I totally agree.

An early start for us. Kerrie kindly drove this time and we had to park at Clare to catch the bus to Bury. Absolutely love the bus journey every time as it builds the atmosphere.

Once at Bury well ahead of the 9am start we found a nice sunny spot to keep us warm, happens it was in the play area – not just for little ones 😄

We attended the briefing, there was so many people! This race is inclusive for walkers with a generous 8 hour cut off time for the 18 miles. We then walked to the start line which was a bit of a bottleneck as there was no self seeding of walkers and runners.

Once we all found ourselves into a rhythm, we were treated to fantastic views, beautiful sunshine and in the shadier areas, some lovely squelchy mud!

We ran/walked the route which gave us lots of time to eat our snacks and just really enjoy the day. Added bonus of not getting lost thanks to Lucy’s great navigational skills.

Kirsty, Kerrie and Lucy.

South Downs Way 50

Event: SDW50
Date: 13th April 2024
My finishing time: 12:19:24

I knew SDW50 (South Downs Way 50 miles from Worthing to Eastbourne) was going to be a big challenge for me mainly because of the elevation profile and the cut offs at every aid station and the finish. On race day, I made the decision to share the tracking details on the RntS FB page to make myself accountable. This helped put pressure on me to do my best.

SDW50 was my A race for the first half of this year so I decided to follow a purposefully self-built 16-week programme, incorporating some long distance races (in particular, Winter Wychavon Way in January and Hundred Hills in March) which I used for training runs. My weekly mileage was mostly how I wanted it to be (though it could have been a little higher) and I started doing strength training using weights. I am creation this has helped me in my running. In preparation I also studied the race results from previous years to see how long it took the last few finishers to reach each of the 7 cut offs so that I could aim for a particular time for each of these cut offs. This plan turned out to be a great idea for my pacing strategy during the race.

On race day the weather couldn’t have been any better. Although initially cold and misty, it soon turned into full sunshine with very strong winds, mostly tailwind (!), which certainly helped. That wind was certainly willing all the runners to reach their destination faster than they could have imagined!

I had lovely little chats with fellow runners along the route and said hello to countless walkers enjoying being on the Downs. The scenery was awesome. The hills, with the exception of a few very steep ones, were mostly runnable. It was liberating and I enjoyed the freedom to be able to launch myself forwards!

I was very happy with my nutrition and hydration throughout the race: watermelon, grapes, pineapple, cheese, cheese sandwiches, cakes, pretzels, hula hoops, and soreen, alongside some electrolytes (2,5 sachets of Tailwind and several salt tablets), water and coca cola. I also had 3 gels with caffeine in them. Food consumption involved nice little picnics on the go; power hiking to move forward so as not to lose time.

We’ve learnt from our coaches that running form is very important. On steep hills uphill or downhill it becomes too easy to tense up but I knew to relax my shoulders and just enjoy the motion of running. I’m pretty sure I was smiling most, if not all the time. I kept checking my watch how I was doing against the times I’d set myself for each of the cut offs. Seeing I was well ahead of my anticipated timings in particular by the time I’d arrived at check point 4 (Southease) was gratifying. The race finishes after a lap of the athletics track at Eastbourne. When I entered the track there was so much cheering from spectators and some runners who’d finished before me. I remember someone shouting “Go get that medal” and me responding “I will!”

I was, and still am, very happy to have been able to complete this race without the worry of each cut off looming over me.

I don’t always make sense at the end of an ultrarunning event and usually feel dithery for a while. At the end of this race I was exhausted but mentally I could have carrier on! To see I wasn’t dithering at all when I finished and that I could hold normal conversations, certainly felt good.


London Marathon 2024

Here is Stuart’s full race report:

‘Where do I start what a weekend and such an amazing event.

Thank you RntS for having this opportunity.

The dream marathon for me after being rejected for 5 years. This bucket list race has always inspired me to run to the best of my abilities.

Training never went as smoothly as I had hoped, some missed speed work and long runs, due to a calf twinge but it was too good a race to miss. So stepped back the training to recover and then get back to it.

I decided to follow the Hanson marathon method that had served me so well for Brighton 2022, and I ideally wanted a time between 3:30 and 3;45 to get a new PB as Brighton was 3:49. But under 4 hours was good enough in my mind.

Friday 19th was race pack pick up day, I took my eldest daughter with me on the train for the day and headed to the excel arena.

A really slick operation for bib collection I was dreading massive queues but it wasn’t bad at all. They now print your bib when you arrive and then send you into the expo to collect the finisher shirt before you race.

We headed back to London for the weekend on the Saturday and did the touristy sight seeing walking around 10 miles to keep the legs loose and nervous energy at bay.

Race day Sunday 21st…

Usual morning routine with the added tube and train journey. All public transport on race day is free to participants making everything super smooth and easy to get to the start pens.

I had a 10:10 green wave 4 start time and had to be at the start by 9:22 for security checks and the obligatory endurance events of queuing to use the portaloos or urinals.

We could watch the start of the elite and wheelchair races on the big screen and the atmosphere was electric, everyone was wishing each other luck and conversations flowed around trainer choices etc (as they do at every race we attend 😂)

Going into my own wave, my actual start time 10:16 and we were off, from the first second the crowds were absolutely amazing offers of jelly babies, oranges bananas and Haribo every few meters.

The first 3km I felt amazing and then the urge to pee kicked in so the next block of toilets was my destination, luckily in the marathon they make sure there are many at regular intervals.

Back to running and again the crowds were epic, live bands, DJs and local community groups entertaining as we ran (no need for headphones, not that you would hear your own music if you decide to use them).

The first big milestone for me was the Cutty Sark and it never disappointed, it was incredible sweeping round the bend past this beautiful piece of history,

Around the 12 mile mark I turned the corner and there she was Tower Bridge ,just wow!

A real pick me up at this point and one of the most incredible experiences of my life running across this true icon of Britain this made the running experience.

It started to get really tough around the 17 mile marker and I had my nutrition and hydration on point a gel every 4 to 4.5 miles and always taking on some water at every station, little and often for the whole race.

My Polar GPS was going crazy at times with the high rise building and the few under passes we utilised.

The crowds continued to be totally amazing.

The last few miles were tough and it became a mental challenge as much as physical. The last straight approached and then it happened my biggest and most needed pick me up – my cheer squad were there and grabbed my attention turned the corner saw the Buckingham palace and then the finish line.

A new marathon PB of 3:39:29 and I couldn’t be happier. ‘



Brighton Marathon

It’s hard to believe that it was a week ago I was in my hotel room getting ready for the Brighton marathon happening the next day. Clare and I had done our usual trip down to check the roads to all our points and then parked up in Brighton marina to walk into town and grab some lunch. I was really looking forward to the run on Sunday, especially if the weather was promising to be nice. We did miss Paula who is usually part of ‘the Krew’.

In the lead up to this weekend I felt like I’d done a good block of training but a family emergency meant an enforced slightly early taper. As it turned out I don’t think it was a negative impact, if anything I started feeling strong and comfortable. Fortunately other events I’d taken part in already this year had probably also had a positive contribution too.

On race day, it was bright and I had a top ready to leave at the start pen. Clare and I got there in good time and the wind was quite fresh. I had some more breakfast while taking in the atmosphere and trying decide whether to join the queue for the loos! Once Clare left to get into her first viewing position, I moved over to be closer to where the starting pens were as I was paranoid that I’d miss my wave being called. While standing there, I had a lovely chat with another brown wave lady (Jenny) and I think it helped us both relax a little.

We were called into our pens, and Paula Radcliffe was starting each wave off. I love the whole bubbly atmosphere of the pen as we are all nearing the start and before long we were off! Third year in a row for me and a third slightly different route. The whole atmosphere was amazing. Some areas are more well supported than others, the points furthest out both ends tend to be quieter but this year came with an amazing pickup – Clare hired one of the ‘Beryl’ bikes; so as I was heading out towards the most Easterly part of the route (Ovingdean / Rottingdean) I suddenly heard a bell being rung and my name called. Absolutely brilliant, it made my day! Clare chatted while I plodded and I made it up to the top of the hill 💪 The whole race I never knew where to expect her and every time I did see her, it always gave me an extra lift.

The course this year, I personally felt was the best out of the three I have done as there are so many parts where it switches back so you get to see the runners ahead and then those behind once you’re on the other side.

I had a goal finish in mind but the weather had blessed us with beautiful sunshine and a strong wind, this meant I changed my plan slightly to finish and feel comfortable rather than push myself and feel rubbish. I’m not too good in the heat so I slowed it down a bit and kept well hydrated. I tried to smile all the way through and by having my name on my drink belt meant plenty of cheers and calls which was fantastic.

Coming down towards Hove Lawns where the finish line was, I was so grateful I’d kept myself steady as I felt I had renewed energy and had a sprint kind of finish 😄 my fastest mile as well!

Another incredible weekend. Thank you to everyone who tracked, messaged and supported me ❤️

Kirsty x

RntS 2 Mile Handicap – Run 1

Cake!  Lots of cake!  Oh, and some running beforehand!

Thanks to the volunteers and well done runners!

Once again, sortable by position, name and time.


Active Fakenham 5K

Thanks to Sarah S for her report on the Active Fakenham 5K.  Probably (most likely) the largest turn out for the club at an event, not only fielding 34 runners, but also providing all marshals for the course and manning our gazebo spreading the word of RntS.

‘Today I took part in the Active Fakenham 5k race. It was the first time I had worn the official Runners-next-the-Sea club t shirt.

As I pulled on the infamous white shirt with the blue logo this morning I was very nervous. It wasn’t the thought of running 5k that did it. Or even the daunting prospect of ‘running up that hill’ 5 times. The trouble is that I still struggle to see myself as a runner and didn’t want to let my fellow club members down.

At 9.30am (an hour before the race) I went through my preparation routine. Two paracetamol and a shot of Espresso to get them into my system quickly and I was ready to go. (Despite 3 operations last year and the input of 5 consultants I’m still in pain.)

At this point I must thank White Christine for the timely reminder about the clocks going forward otherwise I might have missed the race altogether!

At 9.40am with butterflies in my stomach I headed for the community centre to get my race bib. It was great to see so many people, including my running mate Candy. The atmosphere was electric. People everywhere were helping pin race numbers on to shirts and everyone was smiling. Thank you Patrick Saunders for pinning mine on. My hands were shaking too much to do it myself.

With bibs firmly attached Candy and I headed for the market place.
Wow! So many people. It was great to see so many familiar faces, especially those in matching white shirts.

At just after 10am around 50 RntS gathered for a team photo. At this point I must confess to having a lump in my throat. I felt so proud to stand shoulder to shoulder with this amazing bunch of people who have enabled me to achieve things I never thought I could.

As we milled around waiting for the start I took advice from Bob H on how to tackle the five laps.

Soon an announcement called all runners to the start line. This did lead to a few moments of panic. Candy and I thought we were nicely placed at the back until we realised that the pack were about to turn a full 180 degrees leaving us perilously at the front. We wriggled our way through until we could see day light at the back.

Club volunteers organiser, Paul Woodhouse was there to greet us and give us lots of encouragement.

Then we were off.
As we turned down past Flour and Bean for the cheers from the gathered crowds carried us along. When we met THE HILL for the first time the adrenaline was still pumping and we carried on running.

Before we saw them, we could hear Angie Barker , Tasha Woodhouse and team cheering, shouting and ringing. That was all we needed to keep going. It is remarkable how much energy you can absorb from the support of spectators.

As we headed back to the market place, nearing the end of lap one a cyclist came through hollering “keep on the left” then “lead runner coming through”

That’s right the lead runner was about to finish lap two and we hadn’t completed lap one. Over the next couple of minutes we were lapped by many competitors including several of our fellow RntS. I could not believe that as they powered past us they found the time and energy to shout “Go Sarah. Go Candy”. That lump was back. Their encouragement and kindness filled me with emotion. They typified exactly what our fabulous club, and the running community at large, is all about.

With mashals in RntS hoodies on every corner counting down the laps we pushed on.

Lap 3 was tough.
Lap 4 was tougher.

As we started lap five I checked my watch. 30 minutes had elapsed. Over 200 of the 294 participants had already finished.
At least we didn’t have to keep moving over the the lead runners. The road was all ours and I decided to enjoy every metre of it.

We tackled the hill for the last time and I’m sure Angie’s cheering was louder than ever. My legs were aching, my breathing was heavy and my kidney was sore. But with perfect timing Ant Cude fell into step beside me. He escorted me for the last 300m giving me extra strength. When I saw Mark on the finish line the words “finish faster” echoed round my head. So with a mini sprint I crossed the line a little after Candy collecting my medal along the way. That lump in my throat was back again.

I had finished. As a mingled among other finishers I enjoyed congratulating others. I also lost count of the number of fellow runners who congratulated me. Our times may have been very different but our respect was equal. At last I felt at ease to be wearing our club shirt.

Thanks to sublime timing for confirming that I ran the 5k in
37 minutes and 45 seconds
That’s my quickest 5k this year.
I’ll take that.

👍Thank you to Paul and team for making this event happen.
👍Thank you to all the volunteers for giving up their time to make sure the race went smoothly, safely and loudly.
👍Thank you to the other 293 runners for making it such a great race
👍 Thank you to everyone who turned out to create an incredible atmosphere

Thanks to Pete for taking great photos as always.
Thanks to Patrick and my family for always encouraging me
Thanks to those this week who told me I am “good enough” to wear the club shirt.

Will I be back next year?
Well I do like a challenge and it will be a chance to get a PB.’


Official Results:
Ant – 19:41.8
Kevin H – 20:25.7
Andrew S – 22:10.3
Ana – 22:13.7
Will – 22:24.2
Ellis – 22:27.5
Rob J – 22:43.2
Andrew T – 23:26.1
Kevin S – 23:33.3
Darren – 23:49.1
Freya – 23:52.3
Cam – 24:04.4
Bob H – 24:15.1
Oliver – 24:43.1
Cat C – 25:28.5
Gemma – 25:28.7
Alex – 25:47.2
Kat – 27:25.2
Sarah B – 28:27.9
Seb – 28:34.8
Paul W – 28:45.8
Chris L – 28:50.8
Nita – 29:03.6
Mark – 32:50.1
Becky – 33:44.8
Francesca – 33:56.3
Vicki – 34:29.6
Vikki – 35:31.7
Jenn – 36:32.3
Candy – 37:26.1
Sarah S – 37:45.6
Paul L – 38:35.7
Zara – 43:50.4
Hannah – 44:12.0

Stody Estate Trail Run

The Stody Estate Trail Run is the new name and event which has replaced the Hunny Bell XC.  It’s still held in the same place, but there are a few changes that have been made, making it a trail run for all kinds of runner.

Once again, it’s done to raise money for Break (Break works across East Anglia making life better for young people on the edge of care, in care and leaving care) so it’s for a very good cause.

One of the major changes this year is that it’s no longer a single 8km event, there are now three options, 4km, 8km and 12km.  Easily routed and marshaled as you do either one, two or three laps!

To facilitate this, the start has been moved to where previously you’d finish your first smaller loop so it was a walk from the Village Hall up a steep and muddy track.  This helped as I didn’t need to warm up when I got to the start area.  Once at the top, a rendezvous for a club photo with other members taking part, then a group warm up.  This was quickly followed by the race briefing and a few words from the event sponsors and we were off.

To make the laps long enough, a slight zigzag at the start was added which confused a few people when they came to finish, but it worked OK (a bit of a bottleneck at the front, but I wasn’t there!).   The terrain here was full of holes and mole hills, so steady going was required (that’s what I’m saying anyway!) then through the gate following the route of the original start and second lap for the HBXC.  At this point, rather than going down to the water meadow, we carried on up into some woods, then turned left down into another meadow, right at the bottom and then right again onto a farm track.

Following the track, we then crossed the old MGNR railway line, then once again, up hill (first time I’ve mentioned that, but somehow this entire run felt like it was up hill!) into some more woods, down a slope, up so more hills then back onto a field edge.

With this route,  we didn’t have to run up the devil’s field edge.  Shame!

Along here, turning right to run parallel to the Holt/Hunworth road.  At this point we were serenaded by the piggies in the fields waiting for their breakfast.  Through some more trees, another slippery steep slope down and we were back to the start.

At this point you either did the zigzag again and carried on for your second or third lap, or did the zig and ran to the finish.

The 4km lap

Once again at the Stody runs, great marshaling, a wooden medal (unfortunately, not for all runners, as they ran out) and some water at the finish.

Once the final finisher was through, it was back to the Village Hall for some food and a drink, and a catch up with fellow RntS, and back to the car park to change shoes!

Considering the thick fog and freezing temperatures when setting out at 8:30 this morning, the day turned our beautifully.  Blue skies and sunshine for the entire race.


Official Results 8km:
Ant – 36:27.2
Sean – 43:29.1
Rob – 43:54.8
Pete – 44:40.2
Cat C – 46:28.3
Roland – 47:02.4
Nita – 53:26.2
Mark – 1:01:34.1
Vikki – 1:05:16.4
Gill – 1:09:37.9

Official Result 12km:
Alex W – 55:52.0

Support given by Vicki.

RntS at Stody Estate Trail Run – Photo credit Vicki.

Valentine’s 10k & Marriott’s Way Marathon

Thank you to Michelle for her Valentine’s 10k race report:

Valentine’s 10k

Great turnout of racers and supporters and all we all managed to find each other without resorting to sending out any search parties!

The race itself is a lovely single lap course starting off from Easton College where the race HQ is indoors and there are lots of toilets, always an advantage for racing, especially when it’s quite a big race as this one is!

It’s a well organised with lots of parking (although you do have to queue getting in and out) and it’s a good 15 minute walk to the start, you might call that the warm up! The weather gods were kind to us with a dry day, a little bit chilly but no wind.

The race starts off uphill, which I like because it keeps you steady, then disappears off into the countryside undulating its way round some quiet lanes, past some pretty houses and welcome local support.  Lots of marshals out on the course were also really supportive and kept us on the right road.

There’s been a lot of rain lately, you may have noticed 😉 so there were lots of puddles, some went across the whole road and had to be run through. Now I like that kind of thing so thoroughly enjoyed splashing through them and especially enjoyed the very long stretch while others had clambered into the verge to try and avoid the puddle, or perhaps they were trying to avoid being splashed by me.

After that the marshal had told us it was all downhill to the finish some 3k away and indeed it was downhill for about 2k and then rather meanly it was uphill to the finish. I was pretty much done by then so it was a bit of a drag. Lovely support at the finish from club mates and the marshals. Nice medal too if you opted to have one.

Ant Cude 40:43.3
Will Ayley-Dodd 47:29.5
Andrew Tuckett 49:47.9
Paula Smith 51:01.7
Bob Lyddon 52:27.4
Michelle Finnegan 1:02:14.7
Denise Sutton 1:04:13.4
Paul Woodhouse 1:08:29.0
Vicki Armes 1:08:29.4

Ana Sucur-Hills
Francesa Iaccarino
Angie Barker
Kevin Barker
Vikki Powles
Mark Riseborough


Marriott’s Way Marathon

Race report from Kerrie:

The second event of the year for Positive Steps and this time ‘just a marathon’, words that I never thought I’d be saying!

Kerrie and I went to Aylsham together and met Marie there; we had a nice relaxing bus ride to Norwich (once it arrived!) and then met up Lucy. Nice short queue for the ladies again and despite the delay we still set off on time. I hadn’t felt nervous about this at all, the only bit that worried me was getting to the carpark and then to the bus.

After running this event on my own last year it was nice to share the fun with Kerrie. The weather was perfect but it could have been muddier – or not! I found the first half worse and that trying to stay upright sapped the energy out of my legs and made my knees ache! Luckily having good company and a fantastic support crew again made it better and we got through it and ran our own race like Peddars Way. We had so many opportunities to laugh and smile, and when it gets tough it’s good to be able to share your thoughts and feelings to get it out and not stew on the negatives.

Crossing the finish line hand in hand is completely the best feeling when you have supported each other all the way round ❤️

Congratulations to Marie on her fantastic debut into the 1% club and to Lucy for another great run in challenging conditions 😊

Report from Kirsty L:

Marriott’s Way Marathon

This is the first time I have ran this event, I ran the half a couple of years ago and it was one of my favourite routes.  It is organised by Positive Steps who are a great team at organising trail events around Norfolk/ Suffolk, they have such a relaxed attitude and their events are ones that I never worry before a race.

The half and the marathon were open to runners and walkers, with a very generous cut off time.  I was really looking forward to this run especially after running nearly double the distance 3 weeks earlier.

Kirsty, Lucy, Marie and Myself were all running the marathon distance, second time for Kirsty and first time for Lucy, Marie and me.  Myself, Kirsty and Marie were travelling on the bus from Aylsham to the start at Norwich, it gave us the opportunity to calm nerves (after the bus was 20 minutes late) and chat about the run on the way there.  The weather was perfect running weather, however with all the rain we had during the previous couple of days, we knew we were in for a treat on the trail – we were not disappointed.

Kirsty had asked whether friends and family could track us along the route and she was told they only use them for their longer linear events!  We met Lucy whilst collecting our race bibs, listened to the race briefing in perfect Kevin style, then we were off on a 15 minute walk to the start.  The race started in a park, where we ran towards the start of the Marriott’s Way, before coming back on ourselves, the route started off on tarmac and we spread out nicely along the route heading out of Norwich.  Kirsty and I ran together again, we had plenty of food and drink between us for the journey ahead, the tarmac soon turned into trail, with lots of water and boggy parts, trying to dodge them was more of a challenge so we quickly decided the best option was to go straight through, occasionally this meant skidding through when you misplaced a foot!  It was nice to see David and Harley (my dog) along the way, they were having a great time walking along the trail.

The first checkpoint was just outside Norwich with supportive and friendly marshals as always with this company, after the checkpoint we ran over the Northern Distributor Road and headed out toward Taverham and Lenwade.  The route was so pretty with so much to look at and see, Kirsty treated me to facts at each Station where we stopped to have a photo and I learnt about the history of the Marriott’s Way – such a great idea.

We reached the second checkpoint at Whitwell where the half marathon had started, David met us there with more support and encouragement, the trail continued to be muddy and wet with puddles, but undeterred we continued on with more facts and on Will’s advice reciting A-Z’s on various topics – it’s funny how your mind goes blank and you cannot think of a tv programme or film beginning with I ( the first aid chap at the checkpoint gave us Independence Day – of course it was!)

Hayley and David met us at Reepham (the final checkpoint) with cheers and smiles, my legs were tiring at this point and I think the time on my feet was taking it’s toll, but we were not defeated and we carried on with smiles and more mudiness to come and knowing we had about 7 miles to go we were nearly there (or so we thought).  With these events, you do need to prepare yourself that you potentially won’t be stopping at the distance you think you should be – hence I ended up running 27 miles – but better over than under I guess!!

We arrived at the finish at Aylsham Town Hall hand in hand again with smiles and cheers from David (and Harley) and Marie – a very  welcome sight and nice to be able to stop.

Sadly this is the last year that Positive Steps are doing these events, but fingers crossed the races will be taken over my somebody else, I would highly recommend this one to anybody, it is a lovely route, very relaxed and lots of fun.  We were not quick, but this didn’t matter – we had fun and enjoyed the route and were well within the cut-off – it just goes to show that you can achieve anything with determination, encouragement and a friend who takes the time to research facts about the route making it even more memorable.

Official Results:
Lucy Mc – 4:58:42
Marie P – 5:19:57
Kirsty L – 6:31:50
Kerrie – 6:31:50

Winter Wychavon Ultra 

Winter Wychavon Ultra

27 January 2024

Finish time: 11:17:01

It’s taken me a while to put this report together but here are some reflections.

On Saturday 27th January  I successfully completed Winter Wychavon Ultra, my 12th ultramarathon (of the 15 ultrarunning events I’d attempted since January 2017). I ran it with a friend who was doing her first ultra so it was a special day for her and equally special for me as I have always run ultramarathons on my own. I was and still am very proud of how she did. It was wonderful to switch off from work and enjoy being out on the trails as we headed from Droitwich Spa in Worcestershire to Broadway in the Cotswolds, covering 41 miles. We didn’t have the pressure of cutoffs on this particular event though the advertised ‘cutoff’ was 12 hours. The trails were quite muddy as there had been several days of torrential rain in the area prior to the event. This added to the fun on the trails even if it slowed us down. There were about 30 (maybe more?!) stiles to go over, which while fun became more difficult towards the end. The route was pretty flat with the exception of one very long and steep hill (Bredon hill)  with a high gradient. The views were awesome so I have no complaints!

Here is what I’m taking away from the event:

  1. It’s great to run with someone for whom the experience of the distance is completely new – you are sharing their joy and the different emotions as you run together;
  2. Carry the food you need with you in case the checkpoints don’t have what you wish to eat on the day (The checkpoints were well-stocked but I was happy to have the food of my choice at times I wanted them rather than be governed by where the checkpoints were going to be);
  3. Incorporate power hiking on steep hills into your training programme when training for hilly trail races – it will come in handy on race day;
  4. A lesson I learnt from my running buddy during the event: Take your running vest /bag off and wear it on your chest if you need anything out of it. It’s a useful tip for not losing unnecessary time while you keep putting one foot in front of the other. (I usually take my running vest off altogether and stop and look for the item I need before I put the vest back on);
  5. You can achieve anything if you’ve set your mind to it and trained towards.