Cathedral to Castle 10 – 7.4.19

Race Report by Brenda Lee

It’s 7.15 am on Sunday morning and myself, Cal, Sonia and Nicola are being kindly chaffered by the real Dave Lee to Litchfield to begin the Cathedral to Castle 10 mile race. I have never done this race but have had my eye on it for a little while.

The journey straightforward and we were dropped off near to the start line. Toilets busy as always but there was the option of “proper” toilets as well as port-a-loos. Nice atmosphere with the mayor and leader of the Rotary Club amongst the crowd and having photos. Music was playing and weather was good. There was a baggage collection which would take your bags to the finish line.

Race began and I have to say we started in a field and the first mile seemed uphill all the way. However soon out on the roads and the first thing we came across was a full view of Litchfield Cathedral as we ran past the front of it, beautiful. However, before reaching this point I had to stop. I had bought myself a bottle belt and had adjusted it to fit but, “note to self”, when adjusting the belt do so with full water bottles! So quick pit stop in the shop doorway to make necessary adjustments and Cal and I were then back on our way.

The race had been advertised as multi-terrain and this was quite right. We saw many beautiful locations along the route. There were many moments in the first half that reminded me of our Long Sunday Runs out at Corley. We passed an outdoor rifle range, pigs in the field (which Cal asked if she could go and roll in the mud with!), a canal and a lot of woodland.

My confidence with running has recently taken a knock and Cal had kindly agreed to stay with me, she did this and it really encouraged me to keep going even when it felt tough. I had already decided that I needed to enjoy this run and take time to “smell the roses”, so I glad I did. It really is a lovely run but hard going at times. I especially found mile 5 – 6 a difficult one as it was completely in the woods. Overall there were a few hills but nothing too overwhelming. There is however, one very steep downhill. Cal really enjoyed this but for me I find a steep downhill worst than a steep uphill!

At mile 7 we saw Dave who was doing a sterling job taking photos of us all. It lifted me to see him, as it always does.

Time seemed to go quickly and the nice surprise was I had missed the 9 mile marker and before I knew where I was I saw Tamworth Castle high on the hill above me. I did panic thinking they were sending us up around the Castle but thankfully no. It was quite a twist and turn route in the last mile, which I enjoy, and I could see Alison and Sam as I entered the field for the finish. A cheer from them gave me the last push and the finish line was in sight. Lovely finish greeted with a hug from Cal who had just crossed before me and a great cheer from the crowd and announcer.

We were presented with a medal, water, banana from a gorilla, goody bag and t-shirt. We soon found Dave and the other Massey’s and everyone was happy, safe and pleased with their mornings run.

Photos and a coffee and we were soon heading to the car. The final highlight was “hugging a tree”. Cal just couldn’t resist, made up for missing out on the pigs!

After having the horrible incident with severe cramp at Coventry Half I was nervous but I took it steady, used my new fueling and was delighted with the result. I so needed a good run and this race absolutely ticked the box and helped rebuild my confidence.

My overall opinion of the race is a good one. Well organised, good atmosphere, supportive locals and the most fantastic marshals. There were so many of them and they all cheered, clapped and supported particularly the marshal at the end of the tunnel after mile 8 who had the most amazing beard and was just brilliant. He and the lady next to him, with her tambourine, were just what were needed at that point.

Nice medal, t-shirt, free photos to download and an efficient race village. All in all a good event and I enjoyed it so much that I didn’t even mind missing out on ice cream at Gallone’s!