Sunday, 16 January 2011

The Grim

Despite the Race number stating the event date in 2010, It actually took place today 16th January 2011. Due to the adverse weather conditions of last month the race was postponed and rescheduled. But with the recent down pours over the last few weeks, the course was very well prepared with a few surprises along the way!!!

The 8 mile course takes place on the Army Vehicle Training ground in Aldershot, Hampshire. Fortunately only a few short miles from where I live. With this being the case it meant a relaxed preparation and being able to get up and have breakfast at a sensible time.

I was running the race with my friend and work colleague Brian and boss Bert. Brian lives local too, so we arrived together. We were surprised by the amount of participants, and when we arrived most of the 2500 race field were here, this meant trying to find our boss was like finding a needle in a haystack.

We made our way to the start line for the 10.30am start. The main area and start was very well organised, plenty of portaloos,changing tents,food stalls and more importantly plenty of medics!!

The count down began and we were soon on our way. The start of the course was fairly narrow and trying to make any head way proved difficult. The early part of the course is best described as undulating, with the first signs of water appearing in the form of large puddles, about ankle high that gave you a nice cold wet reminder that this was not going to be your normal Sunday morning run.

Brian had done well to get ahead early on, so I was left to do battle with the course that lay ahead on my own.

It was difficult finding any sort of consistent pace in the race, the crowds early on caused problem, then there was a series of cattle grills across the route where you were forced to carefully walk or risk breaking your ankle between the grills. Then of course there is the water that slows you down.

By now the puddles were coming thick and fast, and deeper, getting nearer knee height. At this point you did have the option to pussy foot around the edge, but I like most got into the spirit and ploughed through.

Around mile 4 there was quite a steep hill although fairly short and also a rather pointless cargo net that you scramble under, before continuing.

Now the puddles were becoming deeper and soon was the Daddy of all puddles!!! From what I can remember, I think this was called 'The Crater' The course dipped down and another cargo net, this time forming a canopy to hang onto overhead, and the water? Oh this time it was above waist level! Bright Orange water from the clay ground underneath. This stretches for several metres and by now anyone who had avoided the water before was in for a cold muddy bath. With the ground uneven and slippery below many people (Brian included) went under! You could clearly see all who had been submerged later in the race, They were the ones with bright orange clay faces.

Eventually the lakes puddles became less and then the course for a couple of miles consisted of wide pleasant trail through the woods.

After that it was quite a hilly and undulating couple of miles across land at the back of Farnborough Airport.

The last mile seemed to go on for eternity and there were rumours at the end of the race that the course was nearer 9 miles according to distances on peoples GPS watches.

Of course before crossing the finish line there is one more stretch of water to plough through and then it's all over before collecting a very nice T shirt and decent Goodie Bag.

One last Water Stop before finishing!
Did I mention there was Water En route?
 I didn't take my Garmin watch with me. The organisers warn you before hand that Ipods and watches will get wet, so I relied on the Chip Timing and finished with a time of 1:22:07.

Race HQ and Finsh

"Goodie Bag Anyone?"
To sum up the day, I was glad to experience the event, It is different, fun but it's not a run that you can set yourself a PB as it is impossible not to have to stop in places to wade through the many water spots.
I went into this treating it like a good training run, which it is both mentally and physically. Now I've done it and got the T-Shirt (literally!) I don't think I will be back again but that said I had a great morning doing something a bit different. The course is well marshaled, There is a Water stop half way and the overall set up and organisation was very good.

Brian and Me at the end (I'm the good looking little one on the left!)
The Water DID get as high as my number and as you can see DID reach Brian's head!!!

Knackered Faces!

Gladiators Ready!

Turn your Reflective Lights Down!

Grim and Bear It!

1 comment:

  1. Good on you for doing this water-logged course in January mate! Think I'll still with wet roads for the time being :-)