We were all prepared for a muddy race but there is mud and then there was the sort of mud we had at Monkhall Farm today.
A Pheasant shoot meant that the race had to be detoured just the day before and we have to thank Mervin and the Wye Valley Runners for being able to come up with another route at such short notice. However, the new route brought with it quite a challenge.
The start was a short gentle uphill stretch up a road and then we turned left into a field to start our battle of endurance. To start with we were running into the low sun which was glaring of the shiny wet mud that edged the field of crops meaning that it was virtually impossible for me to see where my feet were going but I think it would have made little difference as there was no easy path and wading through the mud was the only way to go. Small stretches along the grass verge appeared to be the easiest path but I soon found myself slipping off this and then into softer mud amongst the crops which fairly often became deeper than my trainers.
To sum up the whole race, I was wading through the mud, trying my best to run, or stumbling in the mud, working hard to stay upright using muscles I didn’t know I had, or falling over. I fell over once on the first lap when I tripped over something, and at least five times on the second lap when one foot sank further into the mud than I was expecting and momentum took me over. I can only apologize to the runners behind me who had to dodge out of my way – and thankyou to everyone who asked each time if I was ok, which I was as I had a soft landing. There were really only a couple of short stretches of path where I could run normally and they felt good.
I don’t think I was alone in feeling the energy sapping out of me the more I trudged through the mud. A lot of runners called it a day after the first lap and I don’t think anyone can blame them, it was exhausting and all the stumbling was a real injury risk.
Unfortunately Sue and Liz had to pull out and I didn’t get chance for a chat after the race so I hope they are ok.
Steph was the first Croft Lady home in 10th place, in a time of 64.15. I was three places behind in 64.41, I could see her up ahead managing to pull ahead of Vanessa Ball of Monross on the slippery uphill pull which was the finish. Carol completed the Croft Womens team in 26th, 70.53. It was great to see Liza running and finishing a really tough race in 75.01 running up the hill finish with a smile on her face.
Well done Ladies!
It was such an exhausting race and I was so cold from being plastered in mud I didn’t stay for the usual post-race refreshments and chat, so can only apologise to the men, but I don’t have a clue how their race went. I understand that Rob was injured and I wish him well in a speedy recovery and hope to see him at Presteigne. Hopefully someone will do a full Croft Mens race report in due course.