This was the first running of the Herefordshire trail ultra, which formed day 12 of The Relentless Series (also in its first year) organised by Worcester based Ultra Running. The relentless event is 30 consecutive days of ultra marathons covering all 47 English counties and totalling 1600 miles. Unfortunately only three people started the Herefordshire leg- Dave George, Ian Prentice (Ludlow Runners, very experienced ultra runner) and Dave Rouse. Neil Powell had entered the event, but sadly had to defer his entry to next year due to continuing injury issues.
We started at Sibdon Castle, between Bishops Castle and Craven Arms, following the Shropshire Way, until we reached Ludlow, at which point we joined the Mortimer Trail. As we crossed the border into Herefordshire we continued south following a mixture of the Herefordshire Trail, various unnamed footpaths and some country lanes. At Leominster the route sent us East and eventually over the border into Worcestershire to Clifton-on-Teme and then on to Holt Castle near Holt Heath to finish.The three of us ran together for the entire event, finishing in 12 hours and 30 minutes. Ian seemed to be very comfortable throughout. Dave George had a fantastic run for his first ultra and appeared strong (well done, Dave). I was pleased with my run, though did find the 23 to 28 mile mark tough, but combated it with a viper bar and some ibuprofen and seemed to get stronger as the event went on, especially after night fall. None the less I was still glad to see the finish!
The route was fairly easily to navigate and very scenic. Next year there will be the option to run as a relay team or to run as many or few checkpoints as you wish.It will therefore offer something for everyone with distances from 8 to 51 miles.
At the finish, at Holt Castle the three of us were crowned joint first and first team (‘just call me Dave’). Although we would have struggled to have done anything less!In addition to a good selection of food at the checkpoints, we also received a Chinese takeaway at the finish in the lovely surroundings of the hall of Holt Castle.
At the starting gate, and then ………………………………midway, and ……………………50 miles later.