Two years ago after starting exercising for weight loss I decided to enter the Relish Running Cheddar Gorge 10km after seeing my neighbour was running and haven’t looked back! Last Sunday was my third spring Cheddar Gorge 10km which is always a relaxed and friendly event with a kids 300m run beforehand and a 5km run starting alongside the 10km.
Starting at the plateau at the top of the gorge it’s a fair climb just to get to the start but with an 11am start there’s no real rush. It was extremely humid and close but just as we started off heavy sheets of rain lashed down for over 15 minutes cooling all the runners while making the course very wet, muddy and slippery.
The course starts with an incline for the first km before opening out to exposed farmland complete with disgruntled cattle. It then heads along potted track before descending down a fast slippery gravely path to the Black Rock water station. A left turn takes runners out and back along Velvet Bottom which rises gradually with several steep rocky banks to traverse. Back past the water station it continues down a wide track before turning right up quite a steep rocky hill into a muddy narrow footpath. I saved some energy for the infamous ‘hell steps’, a double flight of steep steps with a blind landing, bringing you back to the top of the gorge. The rocky track continues along the gorge edge requiring careful footwork before leading to a winding descent to the finish.
It was a muddy, slippy, thoroughly enjoyable run where I placed 25th overall. Relish Running always seem to have interesting medals and this year they are triangular; collect four and they link together to form a pyramid! Recommended run with 1/2 and full marathon yet to come over the coming months.