Race report – Wimpole half marathon

It’s a new month! Run number 10 needed to be done, and due to various other commitments it had to be done this weekend! So only a week after Ealing half marathon I set off this morning for the Wimpole half, up in Cambridgeshire. The weather was not promising at 7 o’clock this morning, rain pouring down, and the forecast pretty much more of the same.

The drive up (thank you Simon for driving me up there at such an early hour on a Sunday!) was quick and straightforward. It actually had stopped raining by the time we arrived. There was a nice friendly atmosphere in the race ‘village’, easy number pick up and bag drop, and queues for the loos were fine too (you might think that I’m a bit obsessed by race toilets, but it’s important!).

A bit grey and rainy at the start

Wimpole Hall and estate are owned by the National Trust. It has an interesting history. There is evidence of settlements going back at least 2000 years. As is often the case with these big houses and estates fortunes rise and fall. Owners have poured in cash and rebuilt the house, built up collections of books and manuscripts, landscaped the grounds – only for the next owner to gamble it all away! Now it can be enjoyed by everyone. Today we didn’t visit the house but I would definitely like to go back one day when I’m not running round the estate and see the Hall.

I don’t think I was quite so happy looking at mile 10.

The estate itself is huge, and very varied terrain. We set off at 9.30 and after a mile encountered the first hill, which was very muddy. One poor chap just in front of me managed to slip and get covered in it! Another 12 miles to go all muddy 😦 – I was careful where and how I stepped… And then it started raining. However it didn’t last too long, and the weather actually continued to improve right through the race. There was sunshine by the end!

The muddy hill – it really was a slippy, slidy mudfest.

Apart from some short sections along roads or gravel paths most of the route was cross country, through woods and across fields. There were more hills than I was expecting, and going down the muddy hill was interesting as I picked up huge clods of mud on my shoes! I was glad I was wearing my trail shoes that’s for sure.

Up another hill. The sheep totally ignored us.
And down again – amazing views. Unfortunately we had to come back up this hill!

As usual around mile 9-10 my legs began to really complain. In fact my feet also started sending ‘stop!’ messages to my brain. And then at the next water stop they were handing out gels and jelly babies! It’s amazing how much it (sugar) makes a difference. And the last bit went through the woods which I always love.

Through the woods, and the sun was out!

The support was fantastic considering we were out in the countryside for so much of the time. The marshals were lovely too. And at the end we were given a beautiful medal, and a good chunk of flapjack. However, for about 6 miles I had been thinking about a nice cup of coffee and a big slice of cake from the National Trust cafe. For those who don’t know, National Trust cafes are famous for their cakes. My slice of coconut and lime cake did not disappoint.

Official time 2:12:52 (8/20 in my age category) I’m ok with that! It was muddy, it was hilly, and I took a few photos!
Coffee and cake – just what I needed.

This run was so different from Ealing last week, and confirmed my feeling that trails are the way to go for next year’s running adventures. I just love being out in the countryside. (But Ealing is still really special 🙂 .)

I have a bit of a break now until the next, penultimate, half marathon of 2019 – the Grand Union Canal half marathon on 10th November. And a heads up for December – on Sunday 29th I’m doing the Frozen Phoenix 6 hour timed run where you can do as little as 5.3km right up to however many kilometres you can fit into 6 hours! If you feel like joining in – sign up now! It would be great to see you. Or you can just come along and cheer us on. Happy running everyone!

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