No preparation. No target. No pace monitoring. No sunglasses (I left them in the car). I said Yes.
The horror stories ensued very wuickly from fellow runners and the familar Orpies, including Dave B who assured me my shoes would be sucked from my feet in the boggy mud, the hills were so steep they were near vertical and that never to get impatient, wait for the easy root or you may be lost forever! Hmmm, could this have been a mistake? As we lined up to start the race starter reminded us that it was indeed 10 miles and not 10k and then off we went.
Apart from being cross-country which I find altogether, much nicer to run, more interesting and less pressure on times I was glad to have made the effort especially when I discovered that parts of the route had names which were signposted throughout which only increased my enjoyment. The first lake we ran past was just beautiful, bathed in sunlight the water glistened and I knew I would enjoy today regardless of time, speed or pace. I had opted not to use my garmin but just to run to how I felt. After a couple of miles and when I was starting to gasp from the hills we reached Heavenly Hill, some water beforehand and then off we went downwards and ever downwards (possible about a mile) gradually picking off few runners - this would change later as I am much stronger on a downhill then uphill (this seems an obvious thing to say but it is surprising how many runners can be very hesitant on the downhill stretch).
A couple of miles on, through open fields and sheltered woodland we passed through a gate where a marshall called out 45th lady to me... oooh that was interesting and kept me entertained for some time as I eeked my way to 39th and then a massive hill saw me fall to about 50th where I stopped concentrating and had no idea of my placement. Kept my mind busy though! We ran onwards... running where we could and walking where necessary, up to Coronation Clump and the to Watership Up all the time with great encouragement from all the very friendly marshals.
Some rather worrying signs came up soon enough, the Leap of Death and the Tomb of the unknown Harrier were a little concerning to say the least. More hills accosted us the weary runners 'before the long (and we mean long!) climb to the delightful 'damsel-in distress' tower at Saxonbury 659 (the highest point of the race)'. Where we were delighted to see another water station and jelly sweets to give us some extra umph!
Up and down we went for the meaning 4 miles, up up up and a very steep up before some meandering down through a wood lined gully. Onwards and ever onwards, by now I was wondering about my time, with no great concern just interested to know. soon eneough there was a sign for 400m and then 200m and then the finish line was in sight, my fellow PWRs called my name and shouting encouragement as I put in what was left and ran across the line to where beer and cake awaited me. Declined a pint after the race I grabbed some coffee cake and went to congratualte the rest of the team and get a picture with them.
Great news followed later that day when we discovered that our ladies had come 3rd in the team placings!! Hooray!!