Running for the pies

Running for the pies

Saturday, 27 December 2014

18th October: Brutal Woolmer

Mud, mud, glorious mud sang the duo of Flanders & Swan… And when it come to singing a song about running they must have had the Brutals in mind, and the Woolmer 10k was no disappointment with that regard.

Still feeling in good form from the Glencoe Marathon and not too sore from the riding of last weekend I decided to drive down to the race rather than cycle it as in previous times with the event base being moved a mile or so further away and deeper off-road in the midst of the army training ranges down at Longmoor Camp.

Some Canicrossers striking a pose.
All registered I watched the Canicrossers start off on their run before readying myself for the main event and the fun and games of 10k’s of pure unadulterated filth, all good tempo work for the Rivington Trail Marathon I’ve booked in for next weekend.

I had looked at the course and compared it to last year’s and in the way that the organisers love to get the best out of the features of the terrain - leading us up some evil hills and through some ‘wades’ it was to pretty much the same as before, although with a twist: With the increasing popularity of the Brutal’s the event base had moved a couple of miles further towards Longmoor and a far larger area for parking of the massed ranks and the logistics of the event. With the start shifting locale, the course loop was to be joined at its southerly tip rather than the westerly extreme.

Warming up.
After the massed warm-up we all gathered for the off before trotting along on the metalled track from the base back to where we had driven on to the site and over the bridge crossing the A3 (I had wondered what the cones blocking some of the road in were for!) and now we hit the course for real!

A fairly solid start.
The initial uphills.
Looking back down the slope.
Underfoot it was fairly easy going, with grass covering the sandy soil with a bit of ankle deep mud and puddle to contend with - letting us in gently, very gently, because soon we turned a corner and started to do some of the climbing, in particular the sharp concrete hill of the vehicle testing track and its constant gradient from bottom to top… Once traversed we had the brief recovery of a downhill before heading back up again and a forestry section of undulations and ‘moguls’ before emerging out the other side on to the heathland; all warmed up quite nicely ready for our first dunking of the day to cool off.

The wait for the dunk.
Feeling brave and jumping in I found my feet disappear from beneath me and my chest hit the water as I struggled to get upright again, nearly swimming to get to the other side… A precursor of things to come as today was not going to be my lucky day crossing the water: It seemed every time I entered water today I found a submerged log or something to trip over on entry leading to me getting proper dunkings.

Second splash.
Scrambling out the other side it was onwards in anticipation of the next dunking… The good thing about the fording of ditches, the wades through them and trying to cross the ponds is that they tend to give you a bit of respite as the entries are bottle-necks, so you can catch your breath for a few seconds before it leaves you again with the shock of the cold water on your body! Aside from the ditch crossings with their scrambles up the slippery muddy banks we had one long wade along a ditch and two crossings of lakes to contend with, all three of them being waist deep.

The trench wade.
A coupla happy chappies behind me.
The first pond crossing.
The second double-pond crossing.
Those still wading.
After a few more hills and the final wades at the end, we found ourselves back by the first turn and the return over the bridge back to the start line.

The last wallow before heading for the finish.
After drying off, changing and calming down I waited around for a couple of the canicrossers I know to finish before heading off myself, having completed the run in a good time I was happy with, some good preparation for Irvington, the next one on the schedule.

Stumbling across the finish line.