So far the summer of fun has been going well. After a shaky start I have entered and run a couple of 10k’s and got some consistent sub 50 minute times. One thing missing though has been a jolly good day out with friends style run. Well that’s been taken care of now. Last weekend a whole gang of us ran the Bewl 15 together, and when I say together I mean, we all started as one big pack and we all finished at the same time. When I say run, well there may have been some walking involved. It was not quick, it was not easy but, it was beautiful and it was fun.
Four of us piled into a friend’s car at about 8:30 and set off for the reservoir we were going to run around. We travelled for about an hour down twisting turning roads and eventually arrived at the race HQ. Parking was miraculously easy on a street opposite a pub close to our destination. So far it was pretty perfect. The four of us, myself 2 running club members and a young lady who I had not met before were rearing to go. We found our way into the HQ picked up numbers and used the loo’s. We were also aiming to meet some more friends from the running club there, which we did.
The course was definitely an off road trail and, despite being dry the day before, we had been warned that it could be muddy. I was not going to make the same mistake that I made at Polesdon so after a little debating with other club members on went the trails and we made our way down to the start line. On the way we picked up another running club friend who had a couple of others with her and, with the addition of two more club members our over excitable and happy band was complete. There were now 9 of us ready to face 15 miles of hills and muddy trail.
The start was crowded and slow but we did not mind, this run was not about getting a time, it was all about getting together and enjoying a day out. Within the first mile it was obvious that trail shoes had been a good choice there was certainly mud about om the first downhill stretch. We crossed a field only to find that a gate meant everyone bunched up. On the other side was a trail through some woodland and the uphills sections began. With such a large group it was inevitable that we started to spread out, but periodically those who were a bit quicker waited for us to regroup. Feeling sociable and not worrying about racing I spent time at both the back and the front of the group chatting and having a laugh. Before we had got to the end of the second mile we had spotted the lake and the whole gang regrouped for the first of our running selfies.
After the photo op we set off again and a pattern was established for the rest of the race. The 2 fastest ladies drifted off ahead and the rest of us strung out along behind swapping places occasionally with the same two girls acting as back markers. It was an excellent way to run, a kind of mobile party, minus the sound system. At the first water station we regrouped and after a brief chat and giggle set off again. Time for another selfie by the water.
Up and down we went for the next 8 or 9 miles and in that time the 2 in front drifted far enough ahead that we thought we would not be seeing them till the end. We passed another bloke from our club who was struggling a little. He stayed with us for a while and then tailed off the back. The weather was good the views were stunning, and despite the ‘undulations’ the whole day was fantastic. Eventually we arrived at a very quiet road section which shall forever be known as the hill of Jelly Babies. It seemed like every half mile was manned by a volunteer with a bowl of the sweet treats and halfway up this hill we found our two friends who had vanished into the distance. They had been adopted by a water station and were handing out bottles to other runners as they waited for us to catch up. It was a beautiful moment that summed up the spirit of the day. All there together a little gang who might drift off but always regrouped and tried our best to be universally supportive.
From then we stuck together till the end, waiting for each other when necessary, offering encouraging words of advice such as ‘fucking hurry up, the best cakes will be gone’. One of our number did ask to be left as we approached the final hill. She had ITB problems and knew she was slowing everyone down and didn’t want to feel guilty, so we made our way up the last half mile or so, crossed the line and waited. Big cheers when she arrived. All that remained was to grab a T-shirt, medal, cake and a half pint of beer that was supplied
An excellent day was had by all. Three new running friends made, another experience to unite odd bods of all types and more bling for the collection. Every now and again you need a no pressure race, just a bit of fun where the taking part is more important than the time taken. Such moments are especially needed if you have a self styled summer of fun to indulge in. It wouldn’t be much of a fun summer if there was no fun involved at all. Next Wednesday though it gets a bit serious again. I have a 10k to run in the evening, and this time I am looking for a specific time.