The Brown Clee Burn race is one of my local favourites which I was really pleased to see back on the race calendar. With so many races being arranged for September there were inevitably some clashes with other races but we did manage to have a reasonable sky blue turn out with 9 Croft members taking part out of 83 runners.
As always it was very well organised and there were plenty of very friendly and supportive marshalls out on the route giving and encouraging shout. Registration and the start line are at Stoke-st-Milborough Village Hall. There was a very easy to understand one way system to maintain social distancing, and everything felt very covid safe throughout.
The race is just under 7 miles with the first 2.5 miles uphill from the village hall to the top of Brown Clee then an undulating but predominantly downhill to loop back to the Village Hall. It starts on a tarmac road for a mile or so before a left hand turn up a very steep, and at times narrow footpath. Personally speaking, this was psychologically my worst point. I have done this race at least 3 times before and not had to walk nearly as much as I did this time. It may have been the very hot and sunny morning – a big contrast to the cooler weather of the previous week – but more likely a loss of fitness on my part, something that needs to be worked on!
Once getting to the summit there is a very welcome downhill along a gravelly tarmac track – not too steep so enough that it can be enjoyed and runners can take a look around to enjoy the stunning views of the South Shropshire countryside. Coming off the track the route goes around Nordy Bank hill fort – nice run on some grassy paths – leading to a gravel driveway with a slight incline. On to the road again before detouring off across some fields into the village again for the final three quarters of a mile back on road back to the Village Hall.
There is a final straight up the road before turning right into the field for the finish line and there is always a small spattering of spectators and a commentator with a loud speaker to announce your finish to everyone so a bit of incentive to put on a final push!
Eric was the first Croft runner home in second place, only 46 seconds behind winner Oliver Perratt. It was as hard fought race position with Alex Logan of Ludlow runners, Eric beat him in a battle to the finish line with just 2 seconds between them. Jasper Robinson was the next Croft runner home in 6th place, 49.53m. Dave Millichap, 20th (60.4), Ashley Robinson 39th (68.41), followed very closely by Flora who this race was so well suited to -21st (68.52, 5th lady), 47th Sam Harper (71.54, 8th lady), Garry Gunner 48th (72.26), Hugh Williams (74.50), Steph King 56th (75.2, 12th lady).
Prizes only for first man, Oliver Perratt and first lady, Monica Baptista, but a bacon/sausage/vegan butty for all finishers was very welcome!
This is a great race – lets get more Crofties for the next one!
Race photos can be found following this link BrownCleeBurnphotos
Full race results Browncleeburnresults