Race Report by Helen Rowe
This was an inaugural race, organised by Jack Rabbit Events, who are known for their challenging event. There were 5 runners from Massey’s signed up to do the race. Cal had offered to drive, and so she picked me up at 8.00am, and we set off on the road to Moira, in Derbyshire. We passed some runners as we approached the venue. It transpired that they lived in the next village, and were walking there. Parking was in a field, and the grass was very long. There were quite a few cars there already, so there were furrows for the wheels, but we could hear the grass brushing the undercarriage of Cal’s car. Once parked up, we made our way to the start line, and the toilets. It was a steep climb, followed by a descent to the Race HQ. Thankfully we had taken everything with us that we wanted from the car.
Mark Blaszczyszyn, Emma White, and Steve White were also running the race. There were was a children’s 1-mile run before our 10K started, and we watched the children racing round part of the course. Then it was time for us to line up. It was a small field – about 350 runners in total. I had seen a couple of posts on Facebook the weekend before, where people had been on a recce of the route, and they were making comments like “Are they trying to kill us with those hills?”. We were soon to find out!
The first hill was very steep. I had to walk up, and even that was a challenge. There were people running, but quite a few were walking. Once at the top of the hill, I could run again, and soon there was a downhill section, back passed the start line. There was soon another uphill section, followed by a flat’ish section, more uphill, and then a downhill. The course was well and truly undulating, and it was two laps, so you knew you had to go round again. I had asked Mark before we started what time he was aiming for. He said he thought he would finish in about 44 minutes. I said “you will be just finishing as I finish my first lap – you will overtake me”, and guess what? I was right. He passed me just before I was about to finish my first lap. The second lap seemed much better. I think it helped knowing what was coming up ahead – both the ups and the downs. I even managed to overtake a few runners, which gave me a real boost.
Mark, Emma, Steve and Cal were all still there when I finished. My finishing time was slightly slower than my ‘normal’ 10K time, but given the terrain I was happy with the time I got. The medal was a whopper – well worth the hard work. The first man and first woman prizes were awarded, followed by the age category prizes – a nice carved piece of elm wood, and an envelope (we didn’t find out what was in the envelope, as none of us were winners). We chatted for a while, then Cal and went off to use the toilets before we left. When we got back, most people had left, and they were starting to pack away. We talked to the organiser for a while, and then set off back to the car. The only problem was – which way was the car?
I thought I recognised a path (uphill of course), and thankfully it was the right path. We caught up with Keith Astle, a runner from Centurion RC, who we had first met at Tamworth Gate Gallop last year. Cal had recognised him before the race, and we had had talked before the start. He had started ahead of me, but he was one of the runners I had overtaken on the second lap. We overtook Keith, and followed some other runners, back to the car, but when we got there, Keith was already there. It turned out we had missed the short cut that he had found!
We shared a chocolate recovery drink, and then Cal set off across the field back to the road. The grass was much flatter on the return journey. I got my iPad out, as the London Marathon was on, and I had already put all the numbers of our runners into the app. I gave a running commentary on the way down to Stratford-upon-Avon, where a number of our runners were running either the half or full marathon, including Dave Phillips, who was running his 500th marathon. We got there in plenty of time to see Dave Phillips finish, and afterwards we had a celebration at Cox’s Yard. I continued to give my running commentary on the London Marathon runners while we were in the pub.
Back to the Dragon’s Lair – definitely a run for anyone who likes a challenging trail run, with a hills. But I think I know of a few Massey Runners who would enjoy it!