Some Croft runners headed south for the roads of Hereford, while others drove north to Church Stretton to see how wet the Long Mynd was, now that we have moved into 2016. We discovered little had changed. Wet and slippery, like the Boxing Day run, but more than twice as long.
174 runners, and one dog, as well as numerous walkers set off up the High Street before tackling the lower slopes of the Long Mynd. With such a large field, paths were congested almost all the way (or at least they were in the company I was keeping, which included a tall man with elbows level with my face). Particularly impressive were the youngsters (7 or 8 yr olds upwards) who sprinted up the hills and flew over the bracken on the descents, while I plodded on, hoping (largely in vain) that they would tire.
The race was won by a youngster (basically anyone under 55!), Freddie Fielding, a 17 yr old not yet attached to a club. Neil P was the first of our runners to finish, 32nd in 37.24, with Martin getting back into form in 61st (41.45). I was back in 90th (44.52), the only MV70, with Gary, also not yet fully back to fitness after 3 months in the tropics, 102nd in 46.43, and 1st MV65. Beginning to make it look like a tester session for unfit athletes, Dave R (a year out, and now on the way back) got round in 47.27 (105th), just 20 seconds ahead of Tom (108th, and 2nd MV65). Sonia, with family support round the course, ran as unattached (ie she wasn’t holding Tom’s hand at stream crossings?), finishing 113th (48.19), while Carol completed her first fell race in a commendable 49.24, with 50 runners behind her.
There are photos on the Shropshire Shufflers website (go to Gallery, and be redirected to Flickr)