Jasper and I did a 14 mile race around Telford on Sunday, a mixture of gravel trails, tarmac and earth /mud/puddles.
The 7 mile course was quite remarkable, not only running alongside the swollen River Severn for a few miles , but also going through a veritable museum of industrial revolution history; Blists Hill , Jackfield ”Encaustic and Decorative” tileworks, and running across the World Heritage site iron bridge at Ironbridge, not only of huge historical significance but also a work of extraordinary beauty, cast less than a mile away at Colebrookdale.
There were four Crofties in the 9:00 AM start wave, Diane Wynne joining Jasper and myself in the 14 miler and Gemma Mallett doing her 75th marathon, also her 4th in four days, quite an extraordinary feat/remarkable feet. Gemma and I ran side by side the first couple of miles before our course routes diverged.
The route was however rather complicated and entailed following chalk marks on tarmac and wooden posts and little palm-size green stickers on lamp posts. I got lost twice, as did Diane. We had to phone the race organiser to find our way and ended up doing an extra 2 miles on the 1st lap. Halfway through this first lap the wind started driving the rain through our clothes. At the end of the first lap I stopped at my car to put on hat and gloves, but my fingers were so numb and painful up to mid-forearm that it took me a whole minute to get the car key out of my pocket. As Jasper said succinctly, the first lap was about finding the way the second lap was about surviving.
At about 14 miles my legs started telling me they had had enough. Even so, the second lap was 16 minutes faster than the first. Despite all that I finished second, a mere 43 minutes behind Jasper.
I would like to do this course again in reasonable weather. Knowing the way, I reckon I could knock at least half an hour off my time and Jasper would hope to shave 25 minutes of his time.