Billed as approximately 5 miles, this trail race is perfect to start the year. Expertly organised by Belle Vue Racers, it winds back and forth in the valley of Reddish Vale Country Park in Stockport and hides a cruel uphill sting-in-the-tail to the finish line. It is all-welcoming rather like the Parkruns, with all speeds and abilities catered for, which is great to see and be a part of.
A short cycle ride, including a high speed chase down New Zealand Road, soon had me there. With bike stashed at the finish line I went back down to the bottom to wait for the start and chat to other runners. The temperature was nudging the teens Centigrade and felt amazingly balmy. Shorts and vest were warm enough even while standing around. Sweating brows would be wiped once the race got underway.
Although the day was dry there were plenty of puddles and mud this year as we slogged our way out to the loop under the viaduct at the far end. The return leg involves a brief climb up some steps. Others less blown-up run this. I use it as a chance to walk for 15 seconds to stave off collapse. Then the run continues, zig-zagging back and forth on the other side of the river presumably to make up the distance. Most of the overtaking has been done by now and we find ourselves swapping back and forth with one or two other runners as we climb and descend the little hills to the right turn and final climb. I expect to get overtaken but manage to be the one doing the overtaking instead as we shuffle, lungs bursting, up to the line.
35:48. Phew! Another PB, by 3mins 10secs this time. First weekend of the year and two PBs already. Can't be bad.
'snogardnet' was hiding in the trees near the finish line to capture our suffering. Below is an example of the handiwork. SportSunday were also there to capture somewhat more intimate images of every runner in glorious high res.
Photo courtesy SNOGARDNET