I was hoping for a beautiful sunny day on Saturday like we had last year for Man V Horse, but we were in Wales and as is to be expected it rained all day. Although the weather failed to dampen the spirits of all those competing.
Croft had 2 female teams running as well as 2 individual runners (Paul Colley Davies and Matt Moffatt) brave enough to take on this almost marathon distance race which takes in up to 1600 ft of ascent. We were down on Croft runners compared to last year but I think the increasing popularity of the race meant a lot of those who were planning on running ended up on missing out which was a shame.
The first ladies team was made up of Sue P, Sam and Liza whilst Kate, Clare and myself made up the other team. Liza and myself ran leg 3 and could watch all the runners set off from the square after the horses had made their way through, which was great to see as last year I was already on a bus to leg 2 so missed the start. We were then bussed off to our start point and had 2 hours of waiting to run. The rain was coming down quite heavily but luckily there was a barn to shelter in so Liza and myself found ourselves perched on a toolbox hiding from the rain. We did have a good view point to watch the first runners and riders come through which really is a spectacular sight. The speed the first runners came through at is incredible, especially when you consider that up to that point they have already run over 14 miles.
Finally, our time to start our leg of 8 miles came. It was a very challenging run with changing terrain of trails, tracks, bogs and road. The first ascent came at about half a mile in and with my fresh legs I could pick off many of those who were starting to struggle. This was followed by a steep descent on a very narrow and muddy track but then came another hill and this was very steep I managed to run about half of it but decided to save my legs and walked the rest. We then had a nice stretch along tracks and road and I was running at a decent pace and really enjoying myself. About 3.5 miles in came THE HILL, 1.5 miles up and 1.5 miles down. Liza and myself were together at this point but neither of us managed to run it all. The rain was quite heavy but I didn’t notice when I was running, but unlike last year when I reached the top of the hill I couldn’t appreciate any of the stunning views of the Welsh countryside due to the mist and rain.
The last 2 miles were fantastic fun, it was really muddy and by this point we’d done the worst of the ascent so I could really pick up the pace. Due to the weather there had been a lot of changes to the course which meant no river crossing which I was quite disappointed about but I imagine it would’ve been more of a swim judging by the weather. One mile out and we could hear the cheering from the finishing field, the last mile was flat and fast over a very boggy field and down to the finish where I managed a sprint finish and my teams time was just under 4 hours at 3.59.01 and 6th female team. Liza finished not long after meaning her team was 8th overall in 4.02.06, Paul finished in 4.08.51 and Matt came in at 4.13.47. It really is a great race, well marshalled and very friendly despite the huge numbers of runners. It’ll definitely be on the race calendar for next year and I am tempted to give the whole thing a go!