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First of the Suffolk Winter XC Series – Nowton Park

Marie and Renée waiting to start

Marie and Renée waiting to start

Even though Parcelnet neglected to deliver my new cross country spikes in time the good old British weather didn’t disappoint as it blew and rained as hard as it possibly could for the hours leading up to the first race around Nowton Park in Bury. For nearly an hour we stood around under umbrellas only serving to delay the inevitable soaking we were in for, waiting for our start time of 11:10. Despite the sogginess the true hardcore turned out for I suppose the very thing that mad people like me enjoy about running cross country – mud. That and a fantastic couple of laps through pretty autumnal trees (that you don’t get to look at for fear of turning your ankle in a pot hole or tripping over the plentiful molehills).

I think the organisers broke us in gently for this first race as it was on a flat course with only a couple of very slight inclines, the gradients of which were only noticeable from a distance or by the fact my breathing speed increased as I ran up them. Only one slope at the end of the course had become sufficiently battered enough that my feet started to slip a little as I pushed up it. Akin to running on a deep layer of shingle stones.

On the last 100 meters or so I became aware of the finish coming up and felt a surge of energy to push me

At the finish

At the finish

to the finish at a little faster pace. My club mate Marie always manages these incredible sprint finishes when we run together on club nights so I didn’t feel too bad about leaving her a short way back as felt I’d soon see her rip past me in the last 5 meters to leave me chewing on mud. Just as I knew she would she made up some of the short distance I’d put between us to come in seconds after me and we finished feeling pretty good around the 51 minute mark.

Next Sunday it won’t be a little 5 mile jaunt around a flat park – it’s our debut in The Whole Hog race in Wantisden, 8 mile adventure race with obstacle courses! Marie, Melissa and myself have entered as a team of 3 and called ourselves ‘Crouching Runner Hidden Van’.

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Video from the XC Race at Nowton Park

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Plans………….Have Changed!

Don't want to compete for sunbeds with the Germans? Come to the Outer Hebrides..

For people who hate people....Holiday in the Outer Hebrides.

As I mentioned before Wil and I have trips away planned for the beginning and middle of August as well as a weekend I have planned away with Little Brother. Each one of these plans will include camping (in a tent), biking and/or walking. I know, not a holiday according to some but we love this shit.

Ok, the plans with Little Bruv are still the same but thanks to that man introducing me to TRAIL magazine Wil and I have, well, er,  actually I have convinced Wil that according to trail number 11 in the August issue we should go and do the bike route in the Western Isles. That’s right the Western Isles, the Outer Hebrides, Scotland. Or,to put it another way, drive as far as you can to the north western coast of Scotland, about 600 miles from here and then get on a ferry and carry on until you reach a small island out in the middle of nowhere. Somewhere so far north that in the Summer they barely get 2 hours of darkness and in the winter, the reverse.

As usual Wil isn’t sure why he’s agreed to this but I’ve assured him it’ll be great. We’re going to load up our bikes with the tents, sleeping bags and mats and a few other necessities and we’re going to go for it. And let me assure you, this decision was not fuelled by Gin – it was made during the day while no other influences existed.

The trail we intend to do on the tour of the hills above Tarbert on Harris is 23km long and while we’ll have a few hours to do the ride we’ll be around for 2-3 days before having to return home again via the ride to the ferry, the ferry to the mainland where we’ll have left our car and the drive back home via 600 miles.

For the last few hours Wil has been walking around the house making remarks about our choice of holiday destination. Things like ‘well, we won’t be bumping into the neighbours when we’re holidaying in THE OUTER HEBRIDES” and “We won’t have to worry about pitching our tent before nightfall, because there is no nightfall in August in the OUTER HEBRIDES”… I love it, he cracks me up, especially with his last comment….

“Nothing says we hate people like going on holiday in the OUTER HEBRIDES”

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