David and I met up once again, this time in Much Wenlock, swearing next time to share transport! To reach the parking area we had to negotiate the driveway (500 yards?), and the warning about speed bumps, which I think actually meant potholes. Anyway, David assured me on the start line for this 9 mile race he was going to take it nice and steady, using the race as a warm-up for the Cardiff half marathon next weekend. Needless to say, soon after the off he was out of (my) sight.The early stages were easy enough – a grassy field, an undulating meadow (mostly downhill), and then a longish steady climb up a stony (the rock of Wenlock Edge) path and then ups and downs through woodland, glimpsing low cloud and mist off to the side. The rain was never too bad, but it was warm. In the second half there was some tricky mud, causing me to wonder if I should have worn studs, but there was so much stony track and gritty roadways that I probably made the right decision. Finally a marshal was assuring me there was ‘just a mile and a half’ to go, as I climbed a footpath, parallel with runners descending to the finish in the field. A little dispiriting! The next marshal told me to follow the same path we’d set out on. Not very helpful, since I couldn’t remember which path that might have been (I was not actually delirious at that point, yet). With no runners in front, I was left doubting the route, especially when another runner emerged over a stile in front of me, looking for the way down to the finish. He assured me I needed to carry on down, as he clambered back over the stile to find his way out of the field he’d found himself in. Eventually I spotted a marshal ahead, who pointed me into the previously mentioned undulating meadow which had now morphed into a steeply (upward) sloping hill. Since the direction signs were set out for outgoing runners, it was again not immediately obvious which way to go to return to the finish area. As I entered the final field, trying some semblance of a run, a couple of runners emerged through a gateway, having presumably missed the last mile or so of the route. From the photos I reckon there had been 47 runners behind me, but the results showed 37, so it would seem quite a number lost their way, or simply followed the runners in front. Anyway, David was 33rd, in 1.18.33, probably well satisfied with a long, ‘gentlish’ run. I was 66th, in 1.26.42, out of 103 finishers, having taken 8 minutes longer than David, to complete what was for me a much less ‘gentle’ race !
And a belated welcome to new member, Eric Apperley, who finished in 1.20.42.