Heavy early morning rain had little effect on the course, apart from creating a few extra muddy puddles. What affected the race probably more was the decision to reverse the route, because of ‘health and safety issues’. This meant we ran up the steep track at the far end of the pine woods, instead of down, but it also entailed running in Indian file along tracks with tree roots and stones hidden by the runner in front, until almost too late. However, we ran in glorious October sunshine, out of the campsite, up and around the grassy field above and then last year’s course in reverse. Whichever way round, there are numerous climbs, and even the short ones took their toll! The last mile took us over an undulating field crossed by a small stream (and attendant bog), round the small lake and then into the same grassy field, where the initial climb had become somehow tougher since the last time we ran it. Then it was down onto the hard track, past the start line and another 100m or so up a gentle (?) incline to the finish.
154 runners completed the course, 13% of whom were running in sky blue vests. Irina was first Croft woman home, a very fine 6th in 50.00, behind victrex Jo Rees (47.47), and showing the results of secret training! Kelly (11th, 53.09) ran her usual combative race, eventually getting the better of a Ludlow runner that she had caught up with half way round. Sam (16th, 54.44) was in sight just behind, putting the Croft ladies’ team in 3rd position. Carol (29th, 58.36), ever cheerful, finished in the top half of the field (the finish was actually below the field!). The men fared less well, despite sound performances from Greg (16th, 44.26), Nigel (18th, 44.42), Andrew (22nd, 45.37), Kevin (30th, 46.42) and Patrick (31st, 46.45). The A team were 5th, the B team 9th, the C team 14th and the D team (we were the only club to field 4 teams) 20th. Martin, in effect in a comeback, ran well to finish 35th (47.57) and the reliable Ben was close behind in 38th (48.12). Paul (51st) managed to hold off Ashley (54th, 2nd MV65) and Antony (56th). Then came Neil (60th) and me (61st), Tom (72nd) and Frank (73rd), Rob (85th) and Bryan (94th), leaving one other runner in his wake (slipstream?). The men’s race was comprehensively won by Builth, with their first three runners trying to outsprint each other for the line, finishing 1st, 2nd and 3rd.