The club championship race list was released and looking through it the Longleat 10K caught my eye.

That will be a lovely day out I thought so off went my entry form. Little did I know what was to come!

As 15 Cheddar runners arrived in convoy it was lovely to see so many of us at one race, all rearing to go even if we did debate footwear and the need for base layers or jackets for several minutes.

The weather was on our side for a change and the forecasted rain held off and the stiff breeze was most welcome on parts of the course.

This was an incredibly popular race but everyone was really friendly and encouraging.

I really should have cottoned on that this was going to be tough going when all the talk around us at the start line revolved around hills and where they were!!
The course described as undulating, was certainly that but it took  us all round the Longleat House grounds and surrounding local villages on tarmac paths and country lanes which were in good condition and generally made for good running.

When I hit Hill 1 within the first kilometer, I knew that this was a race that was going to challenge me. But what goes up must come down and it was a relief to quickly cover the down hill back to the start/finish  for the start of lap 2.

After a brief toilet stop (don’t ask!!) off I went for the second longer lap which took us past the children’s play fort and the petting animals. It was lovely to see the reindeer but all pleasure and enjoyment of being in the beautiful countryside soon evaporated as the second hill of the race reared its ugly head . It was massive and incredibly steep to a hill novice like myself.
It was at this stage that I regretted missing our Tuesday hill rep sessions! but running in a cheddar shirt drew lots of positive encouragement although there were a few comments that I should be used to hills coming from cheddar!

After a welcome water stop the route continued through lovely woodland and back towards Longleat House. Just as I got back into a comfortable stride and pace it was soon time for the 3rd and final hill which was a re-run of the first hill and loop. It really felt like the hills just weren’t stopping!

Never before has 8 and 9Km seemed to take forever to get through but get through it I did, knowing that the long downhill to the finish was just round the corner through the magnificent estate gates. My pace felt good but  I totally misjudged how long the run in to the finish was and just as I started to lose the will to live and was trying to dig deep I saw the yellow arrows approaching, never before was I so glad to see 4 of my CRC family running towards me – huge thanks to Gill C, Lee, Jez and Sam for keeping me going when I was ready to give up and to everyone else who waited at the finish to see me over the line – it was  very welcome and greatly appreciated.
3 tough hills in 6 miles made this a tough race for me but I have to say that I was pleased with my time which was in line with my normal efforts despite the hills. Whilst the hills were hard the CRCcamaraderie  made this a great event and the medal was an impressive addition to my growing collection.

Categories: Race Report

Joanna Rich

Race reporter and full time muppet fan

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