We were once again blessed with a mild autumnal day for racing, what we weren’t blessed with were parking spaces!! According to the organisers they had enough spaces based on last time arounds attendance and had hoped for more car sharing. These things can’t be helped and they did delay the start so everyone had a chance to run, walk, limp (that was me) the mile from the other end of the park to the start. Sadly this did lead to no team photo time, but don’t worry Neil C took some rather creepy close ups instead!
A small contingent of TRC supporters clustered at the bottom of the track to cheer you all on and the race was off! And while you all did the hard work we stood around drinking coffee and having a gossip! As I can comment no more until the end I now hand over to Andy Warren who lived the experience with you….
Hosts made a sensible decision and delayed the race start a little due to the mentioned kerfuffle. In the briefing it was mentioned the route changed from previous years with some elements from past RR10 course. It did not disappoint, also was mentioned that it was approx. 4.2 miles which pleased most – especially the runners that ran previous day in Hampshire Cross Country. Was a great gesture to do a minutes silence before racing to remember those fallen in pastime, it was an eerie one with watches syncing and beeping but still most were in respect and bowing their heads.
We set off at 09:38, on the 3rd siren after the minute’s silence, along the hedgerows down the path towards the manor farm. Our contingent of supporters Helen with her children and Neil C with his, Emily & Virginia all shouting encouragement before we entered the farm. We then proceeded to run through a working farm, this was a first for me and guess for everyone else during a cross country race. Firstly greeted from the staff at Manor farm all waving and clapping. Then there were small piglets, couple of giant pigs in pens, Shire horse in the stable, llamas in the field with an inquisitive black llama at fence wondering what was going on. Luckily I had running commentary to my side with Neil W otherwise I may have been oblivious to some of the animals there. Next up was a right towards the cows shed & past where we went through the muddiest (or do I dare say other elements) part of the course.
Once through the farm we proceeded to branch left and back on a circular track with hedgerows back towards to where we started and then proceeded to head in direction of Barnfield park/café area. Before Barnfield car park we turned off to the left and headed towards the familiar Copses that are run through at RR10’s. Fiddly section at around the half way section of 2 miles going down the steps and across the bridge and up steps again, requires some concentration at this part. The course comes into some lovely sights of the river Hamble on the left as it flattens out a bit. As suspected with quite a bit of downhill in previous sections, the uphill was coming – this is a regular feature at the end of the race summer RR10 events so with it being at about 2.5 miles made a welcome change. Marshals from Netley, Stubbington & Hamwic were fantastic as always and motivated to keep you going throughout the course.
After the hill instead of going into the Barnfield field with play area we proceeded to go through copses and head back towards the hedgerow paths that we went down before and back-track to finish. There was a nasty little teaser of a hill to go back up about 600m from finish, luckily however the finish was on a downward slight slope which helped with some fantastic sprint finishes from the Totton massive with help from our cheerleaders. Such a great course and one that would I hope would be put on again.
The finish did not disappoint there were some cracking sprint finishes as you came in and some great grit and determination to gain places or ensure the pesky person behind stayed behind you! And in great news the ladies team is currently in the Top Spot!!!! Great effort!