Theresa kindly volunteered this course at her parents’ farm above Kinsham, planned the route and then helped mark it out the day before, with Tom and Bryan (combined age 152?), on a bright mild day, with (apparently, though we were not to benefit from them next day) great all round views. Little did we know that Mike in his grotto had been plotting a change in the weather.
Getting to the start meant avoiding large pools of surface water on the roads, then climbing up the road out of Kinsham, turning off to climb even higher, peering through the rain as the windscreen wipers fought to clear the screen. Out of the mist Sue appeared to direct us to the parking area. A short ‘warm-up’ climbing ever higher, through low cloud and driving rain, with the wind behind till the turn back when exposed cheeks felt the brunt of the icy wet wind.
We were called to the start in pairs, setting off at one minute intervals. I was left with a social distance of at least 2m very quickly, as the wind swept away any infectious air that might have been escaping from my mouth. We climbed left, then right, then left up through a wood before a short drop (with a small fir tree in the centre of the path leaning towards runners at groin height) and I thought this was the last of the climbs. Not a bit of it. We then floundered through heavy grass, uphill till we saw a figure in the mist frantically waving her(?) arms (so it wasn’t a phantom scarecrow), where we were directed into another grassy field. I was no longer quite sure what the weather was doing, or indeed where we were, just concentrating on the course, and trying to make out through the mist the occasional runners ahead and failing to recognise the shrouded figures, often monk-like in their cowled faces.
As we neared the final run in along the track we had begun on, more runners materialised, and then there at the finish was a group of welcoming figures, all pleased to have withstood the (considerable) challenge of the course (5.6km?) and the weather.
I’m sure we were all grateful to Mark and Sue at the start/finish, who were cold and wet before we even started, and to Tori, Tom P, Trevor and Wayne for heroically marshalling in such conditions, and particularly to Theresa and Trevor for providing the venue.