Crocodile 8.8 – Rachel

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14 Croft members ran in this year’s Crocodile 8.8 race at Burghill, as the rain and sun alternately soaked or steamed us. I last ran the race in 2009, on the old course, and was pleased to have made it to the start line, after two years failing to even get that far due to injury (and fear, lets be honest!)
I decided on a steady start and regretted it when I had to join an enormous queue for the first stile, pushing the time for my first mile up to a whopping 12 minutes. I was prepared for the long first section of road and so the first drinks station seemed to come up very fast. The steps were not as bad as I had feared, it was the thick mud (in cloud!) along the top of the hill that sapped my energy. It made an easy path a challenge, particularly when passing people.
Then we began the descent – oh boy! Up to my knees in thick, churned, custard-like mud, I wasn’t the only one skating down, unable to stop – both Sam and I took a tumble. I think we all decided to blast through the long, knee-deep mud lake? I was certainly past caring!
To struggle up the bank and then slog it round the cornfields became an exercise in sheer bloody-mindedness for me, sticking close to a lady who had shadowed me since the woods. The final stretch of road was a shock – firm solid ground! – and I meant to nurse my numb legs home. However I realised the runner closing fast behind me was a lady and it developed into an all-out sprint finish, with me beating her by one second, coming in 40th out of 93 women.
In the Junior Races, some of the Croft Ambrey families had great success, winning themselves cuddly toy crocodiles. The adults managed to rise to the challenge with some great results.
Jo Marriott led the women in, finishing 9th woman (of 93). In the W45 category she was 3rd while I was 8th out of those 13. Sam Harper was 22nd and 1st/17 (Wow!) in the W40 with Carol 13th in the same category, finishing in an amazing 64th. Sue was 25th and 5th/9 in the W50. Its really great to have such representation in the women’s field. When I last ran it in 2009 there was me, Suzanne and Catherine.
A total of 157 runners started this year’s race. Stacey came 5th (1st MV40), Mark Lamonby 10th (6th SM), Glyn WIlliams 17th (4th MV 40), Dave Rouse 22nd (13th SM) and Martin 24th (3rd MV 45). Frank was 110th (5th MV55) Tom 125 (4th MV 60) with brother Bryan close behind at 139 (5th MV 60). Dave Rouse was 154 (9th MV 55). Brilliant!

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