As reports sweep in about the flooding situation in the UK, we are busy packing our running gear and getting set to head down to some of the worse affected areas – for a race.
The race in question is the Endurance Life CTS in South Devon; there has been talk all week on their Facebook page about the morals of going ahead with the event. Runners coming for afar are concerned that they might have a wasted journey and others feel that it’s too dangerous going ahead, especially with the predicted 80 mph coastal winds.
We decided to go for it, so headed down to our hotel in Exeter the night before. This is always the worse part of the race. The evening before. Checking the race kit fifty times, going through the last minute details, checking fuel, distances, where to park…
With all that, I actually slept pretty well. The alarm went off at 04:30 and we were in the car, eating rice pudding, navigating our way down a few flooded roads to the start point at Beesands.
What a beautiful place – certainly one I will visit again in the slightly warmer (and less blustery) weather.
The Coastal Trail Series is 4 races in one day, so it’s pretty great if you’re a newbie (like me) attending with a old pro. As my running partner was setting out to do the marathon we were there nice and early for registration and briefing. The race has four distances – Ultra, marathon, half marathon and 10k. The distances are slightly off but the locations are usually amazing.
After watching all the other starts, it was finally time for my race – the 10k. By this point the weather was looking horrible – strong winds, hail and rain. I met a woman called Belle who I ended up running with for the duration of the course as we had similar times.
As we started, I stayed sensible and didn’t race off. The course started on a hill and we were very quickly exposed to the elements! I struggled to run along the hill as the wind was battering all the runners who, at this point, were very packed together due to the thin track.
Instantly, a lot of the runners appeared to stop trying to run and opted for power walking.
We then got to head down for a little bit of beach action before setting back up the hill until we could see the lighthouse at Start Point way off in the distance.
The rest of the race was pretty much a similar format – up and down hills whilst battling against the strong weather. The hills were incredibly slippery and I struggled to run down them as I normally would, which made my time suffer. At one point, the uphill turned into a stream that left everyone’s toes incredibly chilly. This race was starting to remind me of Hell Runner!
When you are running, its easy to forget to take in your surrounds but this is one race you need to remember to do so.
Even on the horrible wet, windy, muddy day the coastline looked beautiful and reminded me why I do this.
Not only am I getting fitter and challenging myself but I am also seeing some beautiful parts of the UK I would otherwise pass by.
I finished the race in 1:22:07 . Not a bad effort but also a time to try and beat in 2015.
For more information on Endurance Life events, you can check out their website.