04 June 2007

Springtime in Shropshire

After a few days back at home, working and resting (and coming 2nd in a fell race - results here), I took part in a fairly local 3 day competition. It was far enough away that I camped with some friends rather than driving every day though, and unfotunately the weather was awful. There weren't a lot of elite runners at the competition, but there were a couple of former / current GB runners and over 1000 people in total.

Day 1 was a completely open hillside, mostly covered with heather and bracken, but with some really bushy areas. The course was a little trickier than expected, and everybody made mistakes. I missed about 2 minutes at the 15th control, but ran quite well apart from that to win by a couple of minutes.

Results here

Day 2 was very cold, wet and windy. Luckily it was in a forest, but it was a long way to the start and back from the finish. The planner must have had reasons, but I don't see why the start couldn't have been much closer and the finish actually in the assembly area. The forest was really steep, and there were some good route choices, although the forest was a bit featureless. I didn't have a great run, with small mistakes at 8 and 15 looking for platforms on slopes. I missed 5 slightly and came out of 12 the wrong direction. My route choice to 14 was also a bit dodgy. The worst thing was leaving number 8, I got stuck in a pile of broken branches which had been covered by moss and nettles. I tried to climb over and fell through to get stuck up to my waist. It took me about a minute to climb free and then go around. I finished second to Mike Sprot who seems to be running pretty well in the build up to his GB debut in Finland in a couple of weeks.
Results here

Day 3 was my favourite area of the weekend. I thought both the terrain and the course were the most enjoyable and challenging, despite some brambles in places. There were some really good route choice legs, although I felt that both control 13 and 20 could have been placed slightly better to make the route choice even better. I lost 1 minute at the first control as I couldn't understand the change in vegetation, but after that I was almost perfect and won almost all the splits. I had my cleanest run and felt best in my running, especially on the hills.
Results here

A really enjoyable weekend despite the weather, and there were even some fun and games at the campsite including a 3 legged score event (I came 2nd). See the video on youtube here.
Overall results here

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