A freezing fresh morning with sun shining and ice glistening greeted up as we drove into National Trust car park at Avebury, Wiltshire. A really local race and last of our club championship races for the year so there was a good Calne Smartt turnout.
We walked past the slightly less famous than Stonehenge stones & the Avenue on to the village hall. This is a low key grass roots race organised by Marlborough running club. Only 150 runner capacity.
Registration was a breeze, an uncluttered none branded or advertising filled bib number and a coffee whilst hugging one of the radiators in the old village hall. We got there half an hour early, my fault I misread registration deadline as start time – duh !
There was a ten minute walk to the start on the edge of the village, passing flooded fields, brooks that had burst their banks and frost crusted grass lands.
Bang on time we headed off, the first mile and a half was uphill along a grass track after a few hundred meters of road. The sun was out, the temps crept up to 3c all was good.
Dropped sharply downhill into a beech forest running along a carpet of copper leaves. Then out and around the fields along grass track, paths and lanes. There was 4 stiles to clamber over and being nearer the back than front of the field they were quite muddy when I got there.
There was water station at 5 miles and plenty of smiles from the marshals guiding us around.
A kicker of a hill after gun club but hardest part was staying upright with loads of slips while negotiating the rutted tracks. The views were spectacular when I dared looked up from the ground ahead. You needed to concentrate on foot placement.
Back up,the beech hill then it was heading into the sunshine and downhill back home to the finish.
I was greeted by a few club mates at the end, I’m hoping the fact I was their driver wasn’t the only reason they stayed out for me ! Avon Valley Runners & Wootton Bassett hounds were a sea of yellow waiting to bring all their runners home. Both clubs had runners in top 3 and last 3 plus covered the age range to 70+ brilliant.
I rumbled over the finish line mud splattered but upright all the way in 1:24
Outside the village hall were approx 100 pairs of discarded very muddy trail shoes. I clipped mine to the metal fence as the Adidas shoes were very popular, even though in a hundred colour ways they were all mud brown now 🙂 . Maybe the old school habit of writing names in shoes is a good idea for future races.
We packed into the village hall for presentations and clean clothes and of course coffee and cake in our lovely handmade pottery mugs for all finishers. It’s perfect for a mug of tea, tastes great and will be kept as a great reminder of a great race. Well done Mo-Martin for overall 3rd place and Penny & Jason who gained bottles of wine for 4th !
I’ll be back next year for sure, I want a set of mugs.
Race mugs! What a great idea. I bet tea drunk out of that tastes all the better for your hard effort! Great post!
Wow. What an experience! Well done on sticking it out over a tough course. I admire your achievement, so much.
Thanks Greer, I really have found a love of trail running – love the mud !