Today was the annual Ridgeway Relay, which is an 89 mile club race along the length of the ridgeway. split into 10 legs.
I drunkenly agreed last weekend to take on the last leg, which was 9.4 miles. I've not run X-C since school and i rarely even run on grass so was really just expecting to go for a little potter. Which is why i spent the last 2 nights on the p1ss!
I had no idea the route but had scribbled down the instructions from the leaflet relating to my leg, which stated things like "Turn left off the ridgeway and follow the Herepath, across a grassy track heading towards some woods" - bit ambiguous!!
There's no official mile markers on the route and is signposted on the "ridgeway" bridalway type signs. Our team had done pretty well, only one of the runners had gotten lost - having to add 2.5 miles onto his leg! and the 9th runner came in half an hour before the mass start was to be sent off so i got a good start but this meant running totally alone.
I set off and realised i wasn't "pottering" i was in full competetive annab on a mission mode! The trail was fairly easy to follow, and was pretty hilly and uneven so had to concentrate on every footfall.
It was hard not having mile markers or knowing how fast i was going as it was hard to judge how ii was getting on. halfway through the leg it leaves the ridgeway and heads to malrborough and thereare the odd marshalls - just as well as i careered past them and they yelled me back to go through a gate and across some sheep (and sheep poo) filled fields.
There was a guy behind me, who i kept checking was still there to make sure i was going the right way. I managed to follow my instructions quite well and eventually the guy behind caught me, i said welll done as he drew level and we stuck togetehr for a while and ran together, i then fonud out he'd been following me as he'd not known the route. He overtook and i had to yell directions at him. He went the wrong way at one point so i stopped and waited for him to come back as i shouted "thhhiiiiis waaay!"
We then went flying down this amazing muddy hill, but up the other side was an equally amazing UPhill! Back down another hill and there was some more marshalls i asked how far and he said "about 200 yards" to which i "whhoooo"'d i tried to catch the guy who'd overtaken but he beat me through the finished by abot 20 meters (shoulda let him go the wrong way!) I finished in 1:11 and was really pleased with this as i'd said to my team mates 1:15 if i was lucky and having never done xc over this distance or hillyness i was super pleased!
I have to admit this was the hardest racce i recall but also the most enjoyable from start to finish. I was thinking in places "hats off to katiecom with her fell running"!! Weeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee! xx