This was my first ever trail race, and was very nervous and anxious before this. I just did not know what to expect. This was also my first outing on my new trainers using Saucony Peregrine 8. Finally, my first race after Ramadhan, which too, so it was going to be good to see how my fitness was after all the slow training I did throughout the blessed month
As per usual, our day starts with the whole family getting ready, and departing to the event. The great thing is, that my family support me whichever race I do, so it was an early start to the day with getting the kids up at 07:00 in the morning. My start time was at 09:00, but was keen to get early to the park, firstly so that we can find a space for the car, and secondly to collect the dibs. But, as I didn’t really know the process, I was well early, and we got there for about 08:15. It was also very hot, so luckily I had my trail bag with a 1 litre bladder of water, which helped me to keep hydrated.
After collecting the dib, we were instructed, and shown how to use them. It was quite simple, just inserting the dib into a whole in a small machine that was a size of a smartphone. A few of us Striders gathered, and socialised, until our start times.
I started my race at on time, and set off at a reasonable pace, hoping to not tire myself too much, especially with the distance. I was hoping to keep a reasonable pace, to try and go for a sub 2hr race, on the assumption I can do a HM in a similar time. The first 2 stages were the toughest, and a few times I had to walk through to, which I didn’t think was a problem, especially the fact that I knew stage 3 was mostly down hill, and was going to be a bit easier.
Stage 3, although being all down hill and enjoyable to run, I managed to trip and fall over some roots. Fortunately I was manage to recover taking a few minutes out, and was able to continue on. My ankle seemed a bit painful, but smoothed out over the course of the stage.
The rest of the race went pretty to plan, and thoroughly enjoyed it, not too many hills to conquer, and not many trip hazards to contend with. I knew most of the course up until and including stage 6. So was going into the last few stages blind, and not knowing what was coming up.
Out of the last few stages, I found the Graves Park and Meersbrook Park hardest. Now people might be thinking Meersbrook Park is all down hill, why would that be hard to conquer. Well, that’s exactly what I thought, and I thought I would go for the best time possible. What actually happens is, that I was totally out of control and was not entirely sure how I was going to stop. Fortunately for me, I went onto the grass away from the path hoping to find more traction and therefore slow me down.
A couple of lessons learnt
- Watch where you are going, when going down in Limb Valley, or any trails for that matter, so that a trip and fall can be prevented
- Don’t go too fast down the hill in Meersbrook Park
Overall, thoroughly enjoyed the race, and now that I have these lessons to learn I have a score to settle, so will be back next year to beat that time 😉
Overall Time: 01:51:51
Stage 1: Endcliffe – 00:15:33
Stage 2: King of the Mountain – 00:16:52
Stage 3: Limb Valley – 00:14:43
Stage 4: Eccleshall Woods – 00:09:57
Stage 5: Beauchief GC – 00:14:08
Stage 6: Chancet Woods -00:05:49
Stage 7: Graves Park – 00:09:01
Stage 8: Lees Hall GC – 00:07:39
Stage 9: Meersbrooks – 00:02:46
Stage 10: Brincliffe – 00:13:54
Stage 11: Sprint Finish – 00:01:29