Cwmyoy Horseshoe

Race Reports

What a glorious day to run round the Cwmyoy horseshoe ( following some of the Hatterall Hammer course), 9.1km with 383m of ascent, all of it laid out before us as we stood on the start line. We were told the course was marked, but that the route from CP1 to CP2 (the only two checkpoints) was up to us to choose. From the startpoint it appeared there was a ridge below the skyline that it might be possible to cut below.

Anyway, we were off, up the field into the village, past its ‘wonky’ church (no need to travel to Pisa, or even to Chesterfield, or Cleobury Mortimer) and then the real climb began, up onto the ridge. Once there we’d completed 99% of the ascent. Soon after CP1 the narrow sheep track met the wider Offa’s Dyke path, as we headed along the last stretch of the horseshoe. At a clearing before the trig point I reckoned there might be a shortcut path down to CP2. A naive runner behind me thought I knew the way (!) and followed. It was as we struggled through knee high gorse that her comments began to be a bit more accusatory! Small paths appeared occasionally, and then petered out, until finally we were stepping through swathes of dead bracken (a bit uncomfortable when a length somehow pokes up my trouser leg) as CP2 came into sight. A couple of fields, where I managed to leave a potentially angry young woman out of range, then a kilometer or so of road, a clamber over a stile into the finish field.

Greg (35th, in 55.31) and Emma (47th, in 58.19) had already finished, and they both had wisely stuck to the marked route. Will I ever learn to take the cautious, safe option? Looking at the split times, I reckon I lost three minutes on my ‘short cut’. I was 72nd, in 67.01. Both Emma and I were disadvantaged by being at the top end of our respective age categories. 109 runners finished the race, and a new men’s course record knocked three minutes off the old time.

None of us had a camera, so there are no pictures to record our feats. The weather and setting were fantastic, as was the mug of tea in the village hall, with a great selection of cakes.

Edit – I found some photos on facebook!

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