Idyllic, lots of character and a BBQ for everyone at midday.
What an idyllic race! We began at the little village green, surrounded by cottages and ended just round from there at the bridge over the brook, where the children paddled as they waited. We crossed the bridge past the little church with its stumpy tower to the playing fields, where all the facilities were joined by a queue-free BBQ and ‘bar’.
My boys declined the 2.5 mile fun run and came along for the BBQ. They kept themselves happily entertained on the play area and field for the 55:23 it took me to get round this lovely course.
On the way round we were welcomed by painted banners on the verge, a householder ringing a bell, another banging a gong, a bridge decorated with streamers and three water stations. It felt like a real family occasion for everyone!
The route began in narrow lanes, hiding the views with bank and hedge before turning uphill for a long, sapping climb through beautiful woods, much like the approach to Croft. The road turned to track, still climbing, and onto common land where a wide swathe had been cut through high bracken. At this point the front runners, including Glyn, reached a junction that had lost its arrow and slogged it up to the top before realising their mistake and finding a way back.
I followed the lady in front and turned into woods, along a sticky path to a river crossing dappled in shade and stepping stones. The track finally led to a long straight hill-top run, giving us those stunning views. Turning back towards Dorstone we descended down a long, grassy bridleway which became increasingly steep and stoney, requiring some concentration before hitting the road at the bottom. Then it was an undulating pull along the wider lanes into Dorstone.
I had hoped for a Sunday dawdle, but the small field turned out to be mainly club runners, and green vests at that! Forest of Dean AC might as well have hired a coach! Rhayader and Malvern Joggers added to The Wiz effect. Glyn and I flew the flag in blue and a few from Presteigne, Hay and one from Wye Valley mixed the colours a little!
A small group did the fun run and everyone got a medal: red ribbons for the 10K, blue for the 4K. The winning boy and winning girl in the fun run also received a prize at the adult presentations which I thought was a nice touch.
Afterwards we spread the picnic blanket under the tree, enjoyed our excellent food and enjoyed the space while the presentations were made.
This was a lovely outing, enhanced by perfect conditions. In wet weather I would wear trail shoes, as the tracks and river crossing could get quite exciting but the road allowed me to motor along at a comfortable speed without having to think to much. Brilliant!