14 Croft Ambrey Runners ran the Crocodile 8 this year. This is a multi-terrain race, part road, part field, part woods and contrary to the name is actually nearer 9 miles than 8 (the consensus from most people is 8.9 miles).
I was really pleased to wake up and see the rain on Sunday morning but unfortunately by 3pm the cloud had lifted and it was a very hot and sunny race which made it really hard work.
The race starts at Burghill Primary school and goes up hill to the church. There is a narrow kissing gate into a field and you have to queue, which is a little frustrating and does mean for a faster start than I was maybe comfortable with, as we are all trying to get to the gate as early as possible to limit the waiting time.
An uphill run through the orchards and then across some fields, leads to the next road stretch again uphill to the first water station at mile 3. A few more stiles gave a little bit of a rest before going into the woods and up the famous steps. I am not sure how many of these there are (I am sure there are some who know) but they do seem to go on forever. I found the woods particularly hard work this time which was a bit surprising and this tends to be my favourite bit. Out of the woods there was a welcome spray of cold water from a young lad with a hosepipe and then a downhill stretch along some fields. There is a little uphill sting in the tail around mile 6-7 but at the top of the hill there is a little band of drummers to help lift the spirits. After that it is mainly downhill along some field paths, where I caught a glimpse of Jo ahead but I never managed to catch up with her as we turned onto the road. The final few hundred meters took us past the pub where there was a really supportive crowd cheering us on. On turning into the school I could here my name announced over the race commentry which was good, but I was really pleased to see the finish line.
Having run this race for the first time last year my target, as always, was to beat my time from last year. The hot weather and the drier course probably helped but I managed to beat last years time by 1 min 45 seconds so was very pleased with that. There were some good runners this year though so finished 8th in my age group.
Mark Lamonby 4th 1.00.06 2.09 min improvement on last year
Sam Mayglothling 6th 1.01.31
Neil Powell 19th 1.06.45
Nigel Taylor 24 1.08.11 winning his age category – well done Nigel!
Andrew Davies 30 1.09.26
Frank Luscott 94 1.18.30 3.5 mins improvement on last year
Jo Marriott 127 1.23.55
Sam Harper 133 1.24.13
Clare Evans 143 1.25.08
Tom Davies 152 1.26.13
Brian Davies 156 1.27.18
Carol Powell 179 1.31.02 an improvement of nearly 17 minutes on last year (wow!)
Crispin Marriott 188 1.32.21
Rob Wood 247 1.42.52