What to do on a wet bank holiday Monday? Having missed the races on Sunday due to family parties (two on one day!) I thought I would give the Purslow Show race a go and what a treat it was.
Only 25 minutes down the road to a part of Shropshire I have never really been to before. £5 entry to the show included race entry which this year was being organised by Ludlow Runners. Of the 54 runners there was a high proportion of Ludlow Runners with Tom and I running in Croft colours and Toms nephew Andrew George and his boys Will and Tom helping to represent us. There is an under 16 age group in this race, good to know as there are not many races at this sort of distance for youngsters.
I arrived with about 40 minutes to the start of the race which gave me a chance to look around the show. There was a pony event, dog show, donkey races, circus skills, various stalls and the show tent. There were some giant vegetables in that tent the likes of which I have never seen before. I am in awe of the carrots which must have been about 2 metres long and cabbages almost as big as the table they were on with not a caterpillar or slug hole to be seen.
Any way I digress. The race started and finished in the showground, across a field of cattle, a short stretch along a road before turning onto a track with a steady uphill. It then follows a grassy footpath still uphill before levelling off along the ridge of the hill with stunning far reaching views. It then descends through fields before meeting the road again and going back through the cattle field, into the showground to the finish. 3.7 miles in total.
The uphill was tough but fairly short lived. I managed to get past a couple of ladies on the uphill and then managed to stay in front of them on the descent. At one point I lost sight of the runners in front and was a little concerned as I have been known to go off track in the past but this time I think it worked in my favour as I met three men who had taken a wrong turn as I came out of a field. Not sure how they managed to go the wrong way though as the route was well marked with marshals at strategic points.
I crossed the cattle field leading a little group which had to slow down to allow the stampeding cattle to cross before us. The three boys then overtook me in the final sprint but I did manage to keep the grown-ups behind me!
I finished in a time of 32.45, third lady and second vet. As the winning lady was also a vet, Amy Fulford (Ludlow Runners) 28.58. I got to take home the vet trophy – so 2 medals and one trophy was a real boost to morale and an afternoon well spent!
The overall winner was an unattached local runner Jack Blackburn in 23.19. Will George finished second boy in 28.54, just in front of his Dad Andrew in 12th place, 28.55. Tom won the battle of the three boys passing me at the finish to be third boy in 32.34.
Tom Davies has run this race lots of times and got a mention over the tannoy as he came in to finish in 42nd place in a time of 37.03. Fantastic he could race, having taken part in the tough race that was the Offa’s Dyke (15 miles) just 24 hours earlier. He is on track to complete 66 races by his next birthday at the end of the month. Brilliant.