I ran this race last year, when it was called the Skechers trail run. New sponsor this year, so new name - Salming trail run. The course had changed slightly, bringing it to 10.5k (with 2 and 4 lap options added if you wanted to run a half/full marathon). There was also a 5k option, and before the main race started, a 1km kids route.
The weather was warm and dry and sunny! Last year I ran the (downhill) first 3km a bit too quickly, and this year I intentionally did the same as I knew the hill in the second half would slow my pace.
I was running with my soft bottle so didn't stop at the first water station. Grabbed a cup of what I thought was just water at the second, and it turned out to be something vaguely lemon flavoured. An unpleasant surprise. Yuck. Good thing I still had a bit left in my bottle to wash it down with...
After about 7km my right achilles/calf decided to start being a bit niggly, so I slowed my pace. My time for 10k turned out about a minute slower than last year, which is a bit annoying but I'm not unhappy about it!
What is disappointing is the lack of photos of me. Especially as the photographer took half a dozen or so of the lady who crossed the line just ahead of me..... Maybe I looked particularly sweaty and awful or something
Anyway, once again I had an ice cream afterwards. Does that make it a tradition? Let's see what happens in 2019!
We started from the car park at Saltergate, a short drive from the campsite. Here there are some information boards which I didn't bother to read - but did take a photo just in case I wanted to later. Besides, Jenni had come armed with fun facts about the area, and I didn't want any spoilers.
Heading north along a path just next to the main road, we soon learnt our first fact of the day - how the "Hole" was (and wasn't!) formed. It may be some sort of geological settling due to underground water erosion, or it might be an angry giant chucking mud around. Take your pick. Either way, it's an impressively large dent in the landscape.
that path is steeper than it looks!
Other fun facts included things about burning the heather (which we saw lots of evidence of), and grouse - including a very accurate impression of their call.
Our otherwise circular route included an out-and-back detour to Skelton Tower, an old hunting lodge/folly. I'd done a bit of googling before hand and for some reason was expecting this to be at the top of a hill - but actually we had to drop down to reach it. That said, it does tower above the steam railway line, where everyone took the same photo.
As we walked back from the tower another group was heading there to watch the steam train go by. So we missed out on an even more cliché photo opp, but never mind. I tried to take a few more detailed shots of the tower itself, though I didn't quite manage anything too artistic.
We stopped at the Horseshoe Inn in Levisham for lunch - and I'm quite pleased I was too lazy to pack my own lunch as their chips were absolutely delicious.
On our way back we passed what at first seemed to just be an abandoned old farmhouse. As we got closer, we noticed that the boarded up windows and doors had holes in them for birds and bats, as it's now a bit of a wildlife sanctuary. Excellent use of a building that would otherwise just continue to decay.
It's April, which means the clocks have gone forwards, my skiing kit has been packed away until next winter (boo), and I can slowly drag myself out of semi-hibernation.
This year I've set myself the challenge of getting the Strava 10k run badge each month. So far so good - four down, eight to go! April's was also my first race of the year - the Kymin Dash.
Having grown up in Monmouth, I know the Kymin pretty well. We used to walk up it quite often with Scouts, including in the dark, and I still look out for the white tower if I'm driving back from Wales along the A40. That said, it's about 4 years since I last walked up there, and I remember the footpath (Wysis Way/Offa's Dyke) being rather steep and leaving me out of breath. So running up it? Yeah, that'll be a great idea...
waiting to start
So many people in running club kit! I did feel a bit out of place as a non-club runner, and I think this is probably also why I had a recycled Gloucester marathon number/chip instead of the ankle tags that most others had.
I started near the back as I knew I wasn't going to be sprinting the 2km of uphill! Instead I did a mixture of slow jog and power walk, which seemed to be a popular technique. The road isn't as steep as the footpath, so it wasn't actually as bad as I was expecting. Along the way they'd put out plenty of motivational signs - "it's only a hill" etc, and I was very pleased to reach the top and the first water station - complete with jelly babies!! I ran carrying my soft flask because that's easier to deal with than paper cups.
Once the hill was out of the way I was able to speed up a bit and, as the paths widened and the crowd thinned out, even did some overtaking. I did have to stop and wait at the road crossing, which lost me about 3 minutes but isn't exactly the end of the world.
When we entered Highmeadow Woods we were greeted with a lovely muddy bog, which gave me flashbacks to doing Forest Warriors a few years back. *shudder*. There was also a downhill section that was reasonable muddy and narrow, but apart from those bits (and the walk to the start line!) the course was all tarmac and hard forest roads. I'm still pleased I didn't wear my shiny new shoes though, haha
A rare photo where I am actually sort of smiling - and overtaking the lady on the left! Photo by Rod, from facebook.
There weren't medals (unless you actually won, of course) but I do now have a lovely purple technical tshirt. We were also handed a Wild Trail bar at the finish line, but that's long gone... continue reading »