Running in the Chiltern Hills

What a view!

Today I ran the third of my half marathons of 2019. It was very different from the first two, and was in fact the first trail race I have ever done. Wow! It was hard work with all those hills. But a lot of fun and I think I have found a new passion!

It was the Maverick inov-8 Original Buckinghamshire – and it was really well organised, with easy parking, ok toilets, a choice of 3 routes (8km, 14km and 22km) – fun for all, great marshalling and on-course signing.

A great selection of cakes available!

I was running with my friend Steve, who is training for an ultra marathon in the South Downs later in the year. When I say running with him that is not quite right, as he very soon went ahead. The course was amazing – through woods, across fields and definitely up and down hills! There was also quite a lot of mud. Running in this type of terrain is very different from running along a towpath, or in a town. First I had to accept that walking was going to be quite a large part of the experience, but that’s ok because it is for most people. Also I really had to concentrate on the ground because it was so rough. I almost fell twice – tripping on a tree root, and turning my ankle. Luckily both times I saved myself from serious mishap.

This bit was very steep – one false step and I would have somersaulted down!

One of the best things about running is talking to people. I met a lovely lady called Caroline who asked about my connection with JDRF. It turned out that her daughter has Type 1, and others in her family. We had an interesting chat about Type 1, research, artificial pancreases, postcode lottery for equipment, raising funds etc. It was great to meet you Caroline, and I will look up the Pisa half marathon for December!

I also loved the whole scenery thing. Woods, views, brimstone butterflies, red kites hovering over the landscape, violets tucked in the leaf litter, celandine shining brightly…It was great. The local parks might seem quite tame now!

This bit was uphill, through the beech woods

The thoughtful organisation was also in evidence along the course at the 2 OutPosts – tables laden with bananas, watermelon, orange sections, drinks, sweeties, energy gels. I don’t usually eat much, if anything, out on runs, but today I was very glad to help myself to something to keep me going.

I have done a couple of more traditional half marathons in under 2 hours (yay!), but I soon realised that today anything close to 2 hours was a total impossibility! In fact I began to think that it might be over 3 hours, as my legs ached, my feet were sore, my core muscles creaked and groaned, and even my arms were hurting! In the end I finished in 2 hours 55 minutes and 41 seconds.

Back home – post run treats! The beer came with the medal, but I’m saving it for later

All in all – I loved it! I’m hooked on trails, and looking forward to May when I do another in the Peak District with my son Tom. Bring those hills on!

Don’t forget – I’m raising funds for JDRF so they can fund research into finding a cure for Type 1 diabetes. If you would like to donate here’s the link!! Thank you for your support.

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