The Beast of Bitterley

Race Reports

Ludlow runners had advertised this well, I had 2 flyers for this race on my windscreen when attending recent races and given how close it is to home and my plan this year to do some fell races, I thought I would give it a bash. I don’t think it was officially a fell race but given the route started at Bitterly Village Hall went to the summit of Titterstone Clee Hill and then back, I think it was certainly steep enough to count as a fell race.

The location was very well signposted and the carpark was in a field a bit of a walk from the start. Registration in Bitterly Village Hall saw me meeting up with Tom, Frank and Gary Pearson who were the other Croft Runners.

For once at a summer race I was pleased with the weather. It was a little cool, cloudy and a bit breezy as we stood at the start, perfect compared to the hot humid weather of the day before. The race was multi-terrain. It started along a road to a track, across some fields and then along narrow sheep tracks on the common of Clee Hill. It was indeed very steep and the first 2 and a quarter miles were all uphill. The last stretch up to the summit, I am sure, was impossible to run for anyone as it was so steep some were using all fours to climb it.

Up until the summit I had been able to keep Frank in my sights but once we reached the top he was gone. There is a flat stretch of a few hundred metres before heading downhill again and by the time I started to decend Frank was just a light blue blur in the distance, never to be seen by me again. The first decent was quite steep and I was passed by quite a few runners who seemed to fly by me. I have been trying to run quicker downhill, but obviously need to try harder at this although I did manage to catch a few up again when the route became a bit more undulating.

The second half of the race was definitely easier going than the first, but the uneven ground and narrow paths meant it could never be described as an easy race. But I really enjoyed it. There were friendly and helpful marshals and supporters, a water station and cakes at the end! There was a bouncy castle for the children and we were even entertained by a singer with her guitar! The results were also printed out for us to read with our cup of tea.

The winner was Jamie Shingler of Ludlow Runners in 42.02 and the winning lady Emma Gould came in second in 43.51.

Gary was the first Croft runner home in 6th place 46.29 – winning the MV40 prize. Frank finished in 25th in 55.02, then me in 35th (9th woman) in 58.17, followed very closely by Tom in 38th, 58.47. If the race was just a little longer I am sure he would have got past me.

Tom stayed for the presentation at the end (I snook off for Sunday lunch at my Mums). He has since let me know that I won a bottle of wine for FV40 winner, although I am not so sure I deserved this as the result sheet I had shows 2 FV40 ladies ahead of me.

This was the first running of this race and 63 runners took part. I hope that it becomes an annual event and I for one would run it again and would try and persuade more Croft runners to come along next year.

 

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