2011 Ridgeway Challenge
About 15 mins before the start of the race, we made our way from the car park to Ivinghoe Beacon, which marked the start of the race and spoke briefly to Anthony the Race Organiser. A few minutes later, as the runners were milling about and chatting there was a blow of the whistle and we were off. I don’t think people were clearly aware whether the whistle was a signal to start or just a call for attention before the start as there looked to be a bit of uncertainty as people hovered about but as soon as a few people went everyone followed and the run was underway. One chap ran out like a man possessed and took an immediate lead ahead of everyone else as he got further and further away literally after a couple of miles he was gone. (The winner finished in an amazing 13 hours, so I am assuming it was the same person)
The second Checkpoint was a short one at 6.3 miles away and took us over Coombe Hill. Unfortunately it started to rain again and I got wet and at that point regretted leaving the rain jacket behind. There was some cover from the trees at points of the run but I couldn’t spend all day waiting under the trees for the heaviest rain to pass and so gamely carried on. I took a great photo of the path we were following leading to a gate in a wood, the sky all around us was clear apart from a dark cloud above the wood we were running to, it looked like more rain ahead.
The next stretch I recall as being a slow almost gentle uphill part onto the ridge and then a long fairly direct path up and down over various slopes but nothing too severe. I walked for a mile or two to let me food settle and felt much better after that last stop and then despite planning on walking this leg, started a slow jog in the hope of catching up with someone or a group for some company at night. I really enjoy the excitement of a night run (i.e. “what the hell am I doing here in the middle of the night” type feeling) but I do tend to feel really sleepy in the early hours. Usually, I run these events with my buddy Stouty who keeps me going but I was going solo at the moment so there was a slight risk I might stumble over or fall asleep. I was armed with a few pro-plus tablets but I was also going to try out the High5 zero extreme tablets which were armed with a caffeine stimulant. I chugged down my recovery shake (strawberry flavoured) which was delicious and refreshing but probably over-priced at £1.95 a packet and carried on with my slow trot until I could see the twinkling of a couple of flashlights ahead.
Thanks to Anthony & co for putting on a good event and that’s another race distance category ticked off the list for me and thanks to Adrian for meeting me at the Checkpoints and supporting me along the way.
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