9th September 2023
It’s 09:37, the race should have started seven minutes ago. It’s hot and the runners are getting impatient. The race director loves to talk and we are a captive audience. Someone is typing out a race review on their phone to express their frustration. Enough is enough, we are going to storm the start line and get this race on the road. Well, we would have done, but we had to clap for the photographer and then each other.
It’s nice to talk but it’s even better to run, especially when the route showcases the beautiful scenery of Bewl Water. It was the third time I had done the race at the 800-acre parkland and largest reservoir in the South East.
I was glad I was running the half marathon rather than the full or ultra marathon as the sun was beating down on us. Someone started walking after half a mile. I wanted to ask if they were okay but thought it might appear rude. I just sucked on my hydration pack tube and kept my feet moving.
There were only 157 runners and we were spread out which meant I did not feel too stressed about competition and could enjoy the experience. It’s an undulating trail race with tough hills and big steps but enough flat paths to help you find your flow.
You share the course with the public and thank you to the people who cheered me on and even assured me I was going the right way when I lost sight of the runner ahead of me.
You are not allowed to swim in Bewl Water unless you are having fun on the Wipeout-style inflatable obstacle course, but the heat made me want to break the rules.
Runners were absolutely soaked through with sweat. For the first time in years, I caught up and overtook other runners. It was not a mirage, I was not deluded, I was doing okay and proving to myself that I can still handle the distance. Although I was smiling, I kept checking my watch as I was desperate to finish because my energy levels were depleted.
At about 600 metres to go, two runners suddenly appeared behind me. I tried to hold them off, but they ran past me to expose my distinct lack of a sprint finish. I finished 22nd and drank about ten glasses of water as I sat on the grass and listened to music over loudspeakers. If it makes you happy, it can’t be that bad.
I recommend this race – give it a go and you’ll enjoy it too.