It poured all day Friday, and it rained heavily Sunday morning, but when we arrived in Carding Mill on Saturday the sun was shining, but as we discovered as we got out of the car the wind was decidedly cold, and the sun would soon disappear and give way to some rain once we were exposed on top of the Long Mynd. Anyway, this being a club championship race (whose idea was that, I wonder?), we were expecting a good Croft turn-out, but interest had waned, like a snowflake in March. Four decades of Crofties, with Glyn lowering the average age (a bit) lined up at the start. Young Glyn disappeared from (my) sight very early on, as we trudged up Cow Ridge to be then hit full face by the wind on top. From there it was a pleasant(-ish) undulating run along (very wet) tracks and over heather, before we plunged down into Carding Mill valley and over the stream, where one or two lost their footing, to end up sitting in the icy stream. The other half of the figure of 8 course has four smaller climbs, firstly out of the valley, then west up the first grassy hill, with the fence wire to pull on, then a slight decline (!) before climbing up more steeply, a flatter run on top, trying to avoid the muddiest stretches of sheep track, then a plunge through an unavoidable bog, before we tackled the last hill, which teased us as each summit turned out to be a false one. As it levelled off, runners around me were beginning to run again, admittedly not very fast, and I was thus nudged into a shuffle. From the top it was a short run to the final gully (saving us from the mistake last year, which saw us having to run on to another small hilltop), but a tricky descent ensued (with Sue emitting the occasional squeal as she feared she had lost her footing, but with balletic arm gestures she in fact stayed upright all the way down) with the stream at the bottom (which we cross 4 times in all). Once over the stream it’s a rocky half mile down the path to the finish, situated just the other side of said gushing water course.
The race was won in 42.22, with the top 6 runners all being given 100% or more, showing the calibre of the leading finishers. 113 runners completed the course. Glyn was 52nd (4th MV40) in 56.57, followed some way back by me (84th, 1st MV70, in 64.36) a stride or two in front of Sue (3rd FV50, 64.39) who I had sneakily passed, incognito, down the last gully, with Tom 1st MV65 (100th, 70.58). Thanks to Mark for his support, and for the pictures.
Note the different styles of descent : poise, aplomb, panic (release the parachute!), pain.