Race Report by Alison Lowe
This was another race I booked last autumn when I was planning my marathon training long runs. I remembered seeing that a few Massey’s had run its inaugural event the year before and the distance was perfect for this point in my training.
The race starts in Naseby and goes through the area where the Battle of Naseby took place in 1645. The race organisers have made the event unique in that they used this to determine the race length – 16.45 miles ! This was to be the longest distance I have ever run – I’d never gone over 13 miles before. I also knew that the course was really hilly.
It was an early start – and I drove to Wendy and Chris Foxall’s to get a lift for the second half of the journey. It was extremely foggy in Coventry but it still did not take us long to arrive in Naseby where there was no fog at all – just clear blue skies. Race number pick up was quick and easy but having been let down by a portaloo company the toilet queues were long – but we made it to the start line on time. We were all made to feel a little apprehensive by the race director describing the course as challenging and warning us there was thick fog at the 10 mile point!
Naseby itself is on a hill and the route would take us (via a number of undulations) down 650ft of decent before then climbing back up to Naseby. From the start we were off into the countryside (Naseby only being a small village) and at first we were on the flat. Already the views were stunning even in winter but we could see the mist ahead at lower level. At mile 3 there was the first of four water stations – which had water as well as electrolyte drinks which was a nice touch. The route at this point was more on tarmac farm track than a road with quite a bit of mud on the ground so care had to be taken. We did see various signs to the viewpoints and monuments in the are connected to the Battle and it did make me think it would be nice to come back here one day and explore at a more leisurely pace!
At Kelmarsh we turned onto a better road but it was back up hill again. Although the map has a lot of down hill for the first few miles I don’t think I made the most of it ! At mile 4 we arrived at the village of Clipston. There wasn’t much support in the village but it was quiet with little traffic and very pretty. From there is was a straight run – although undulating- with a water station at mile 6 with gels on offer and past another battle viewpoint and into the village of East Farndon – again very quiet but pretty, before reaching the 8 mile mark and starting the journey back. At this point we were going downhill to the lowest point on the run but I don’t remember it being as easy to run!
We then ran towards Marston Trussell (lovely name !) and shortly after there started going up the big hill at 10miles we had been promised . The fog had cleared but it might have been easier though not to see how long and steep the hill was. The views from there were stunning though and it really felt like spring now. From here until the end the route was mainly up hill but with some undulations. At mile 13 just before the village of Sibbertoft there was another water station and this was from this point that I was then running further than I had before. I just thought of it as ‘just a parkrun’ to the finish ! After many more undulation we finally reached mile 16 – but now was the hard part the last 0.45 miles into the village – all uphill ! After running along the pavement in the village I could finally see the finish line where I met Paul, Wendy and Chris.
I would really recommend this event – not only is it just a slight step up from the half marathon distance for anyone wanting to run that just bit further but it’s a very well run event in a fabulous location – despite the hills and especially in great weather!