What a glorious day to get out and run around the South Shropshire hills. The sun was shining and the sky was clear to allow for some stunning views as a reward for the tough climb to the summit of the hill.
The start of the race is a steady uphill along the road for just over a mile from Stoke St Milborough village hall, before following a steep, stoney path which seems to on for quite a way but is intact less than mile to the top.
‘Down hill the rest of the way!’ called out one of the marshals at the summit, but I was fairly sure there would be some more inclines and I wasn’t wrong, but they weren’t for as long and were more gentle slopes than climbs.
The view running down from Brown Clee to Nordy Bank nearly made up for the fact it was on rough tarmac and I was able to have a look around while still maintaining what was for me a good pace. Past a water station before a bit of road, followed by farm track and then across some fields before heading back to the road for the final half mile, to finish back at the village hall.
A little too much tarmac for this to make it to the top of my favourite list but it is very much up there and will be one I definitely do again.
There was a bacon or Ludlow sausage butty and a cup of tea to all the runners plus a certificate and a T-shirt, all good for the early bird £10 that I paid. It would be good if there were a few more prizes though as there are only trophies for first place man and lady and I think these have to be returned next year. Personally I think this would help attract a few more runners as well.
As for the trophies, both were awarded to Croft Runners, Andy first runner home with a potentially record time 44.54, have to wait for the official results and Robyn first for the ladies in 58.28! Well done to both who really liked this multi terrain route.
Gary Pearson, getting back to form following a frustrating injury was in 7th place I 54.00. I think Louise Reynolds is one to watch, she seems to be improving every time she races and was pretty good to start with, she was 5th lady in 62.42. I was next Croft home in 64.46 (6th lady) but hot on my heals was Scott H, nearly catching me on the sprint road finish in 65.02 (40th). Louise’s partner, Mark, is the other runner in the team photo. Not a Croftie yet but I am sure we can persuade him to sign up soon! He ran a good race to finish in 69.03 in 48th. Not a bad Croft result in a field of 67.
The Brown Clee is a hidden gem, not too far from our doorsteps it offers some glorious running routes and is somewhere I definitely intend to go again. I am hoping to organise a club run if I can find a clear Sunday in the not too distant future and hope you can join me! Watch out for more information.