Race 5 in the Club championship series saw sixteen eager Croft Runners among the 70 at the start line of The Brown Clee Burn.
There was Club pride to defend in this race after a double whammy of first man and first lady last year – Andy and Robyn. I think just for the proportion of sky-blue runners at the start we hadn’t let the club down.
There is no mistaking that this is a tough 11k. It starts at Stoke St Milborough Village Hall and from the off it is straight uphill, along the road for just over one mile before turning left up a steep, narrow stoney footpath which takes you on a slow steady, upwards pull, much of the way flooded so it resembled a fast-flowing downhill stream which runners (were any of them running at this point?) battling their way to the top.
But there was no rest, the end of the muddy stream takes you to a small wooded section, still relentlessly uphill, before coming out onto the Brown Clee. This was particularly treacherous this year as it is a very boggy half-mile accross this hill, still going uphill trudging along through deep puddles and lots of mud – my sort of running!
Finally, the marshal can be heard shouting to the runners that they have reached the summit – ‘downhill all the way now’ – and just over the style is the first of the two water stations. This then leads to a complete change in pace, downhill along a wide gravelled track before turning left to run around the hill fort of Nordy Bank. Now its bracken lined footpaths, again with some muddy puddles first a welcome level, then downhill for a short stretch before meeting another gravel track with a gentle uphill gradient that seemed to go on forever but really only led to more friendly ladies at the second water station. Down a road for a while, before again heading uphill up a farm track to finally the marshal saying ‘it’s all downhill now’ – across some fields, which may have been downhill but had a nasty camber to them, along another muddy track and then onto the road for the final half mile uphill back to the village hall.
The marshalls were great, all very friendly and I think either living within the area or relatives of those living in the area, using this race as a fundraiser for local good causes, so big thanks to them.
Well done to all the Croft runners who took part, but especially well done to our three fasted ladies who came in first, second and third! Hannah, Jo and Emma.
There was a group of Croft runners all keeping a similar pace and keeping each other going helping to keep up those finishing times.
A special mention goes to Sue Wood who chose this hilly, hard race to run her furthest race distance. Well done Sue! And Flora who ran well despite being in pain from her knee.
This is a great race and a good introduction to fell type races and hopefully will encourage a few Croft runners to try something a little different.
The next race in the club championship is a race with a difference – sugar loaf mountain in the dark! I think this is most likely something very few of us have tried before, so lets see if we can get another great Croft turnout. See the race calendar for details.
|Croft position||Race Position||Runner||Time|
|4||(12) 1st lady||Hannah Fletcher||59.31|
|5||(15) 2nd lady||Jo Marriot||60.55|
|6||(16) 3rd lady||Emma Jones||60.55|
|10||(22) 5th lady||Robyn Gore||63.17|
|12||(31) 7th lady||Sam Harper||67.36|
|14||(48) 12th lady||Steph King||73.03|
|15||(49) 13th lady||Flora Gunner||73.26|
|16||(62) 20th lady||Sue Wood||83.23|
Apologies to Ashley and Jasper for not having their photo, they must have been warming up when I did the pre-race photos.