Friday 24 July 2015

North Downs

North Downs Way  Surrey  5:08
Ready for the off

This was approx 45 mins from Basingstoke and the weather forecast was reasonably warm (24 degrees). It was the first running of this race and was being promoted and organised by Hermes running. This was my first event with Hermes.

The start and finish was at Reigate Golf Club and the club had given over its facilities (parking, rooms, bar and showers) for the event. Everything was run perfectly and the course was fantastically marked and marshalled. There were 9 aid stops en-route that were very well stocked with everything you would need.

There was approx 120 in the race and I settled in near the back as I was taking it handy today.

Great high vistas
The first 2 miles were steadily uphill as we quickly joined the North Downs Way. Taking it easy I walked some of the hill. This brought us up to some beautiful vistas over somewhere or other. We were then quickly into undulating tight trail for a few miles before plunging steep steep steep down. I kept thinking, My GOD we have to come back up this later. A couple of miles later we hit some steep steep steep trail steps down. This again was going to be tough coming back.

Stepping stones
 This eventually finished and we crossed a river over some stepping stones. We found ourselves now on the A24 and had to navigate across via an underpass before getting back on the trail.

From now to the turnaround (about 3 miles) was up hill through a vineyard but runnable and I caught a lot at this point. I was quite shocked about how far back in the field I was. I was obviously taking it too easy. The turn around came in 2:35 which meant that a 5 hr run was probably out the window as I knew what I had to go up on the way back.

We retraced our steps and I over took around 10 people on the way back.

The up hills were incredible. The only time I experienced anything similar was on the Vanguard Way marathon which wasn't too far away in Croydon.

The steps took for ever and the really steep steep steep bit was barely climbable.

De-hydration and fatigue were kicking in big time but I did run for all bits that were runnable and was even passing people right up to the last km. I was absolutely delighted to come back in 2:33 for a negative split and 5:08 in total.

The bling was huge and special.

Massive bling

Polar stats for today

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