Where’s the best place to be, when the temperature on a Sunday morning is minus 2? Three of us came up with an answer of sorts: on top of Caer Caradoc. Gary, Nicky and I decided that the roads were safe enough to get to Cardington and hoped the hillsides wouldn’t be too lethally hard and slippery. 200 runners lined up at the start, and set off across the field and up a boggy green lane, before tackling the snowy slope of the Lawley. Once at the top, one runner was heard to exclaim that it was worth the entry fee just for the views. He was strangely quiet when we had scaled Caradoc, slipping on ice and snow on our way up. Maybe said runner was still admiring the scenery – certainly the luminous white all around and the soft hues of the sky were impressive. Coming off Caradoc was quite an experience, probably fortunately not captured on film. Bodies were sliding, stumbling, doing balletic movements, belting down through the bracken. After that there was one final biggish climb up to the top of Willstone Hill, which would have been runnable if we hadn’t already climbed some 2,000ft and legs were beginning to flag. From there on there were ups and downs, snow to run through, stiles to negotiate and finally a frozen field to run down to the finish. Water at the finish was blissfully cool (!), and the soup in the village hall was much appreciated. Andy Davies (Mercia) was first home, nearly half an hour before we got in. I finished 99th (1st MV65) in 1.49.45, Gary was 113th (2nd MV60) in 1.51.49 and Nicky came through unscathed, 3rd FV50, in 1.59.46.
Photos courtesy of Alastair Tye (www.fellrunningpictures.co.uk)