The name says it all. The first 3 miles of this11 mile road race are more or less flat, but then there’s an unremitting 4 mile climb up to the col high up Twmpa (Lord Hereford’s Knob). The road goes up and down for about a mile, then there is a fast 3 mile descent back to the start.
I didn’t know anyone in the race, but I recognised the driver of the car parked next to mine as Alan Todd from Warley Wood Pacers, who had beaten me at the Bulmer’s Bash in May. So I decided to start near the front, so I could see who passed me. 60 runners from as far afield as Birmingham & South Wales began the race on the main road heading west out of Hay on Wye, (closed to cars while the race got underway) then turning left through Llanigon. Runners hugged the hedges, seeking every scrap of shade on a sunny morning while settling into their stride. The first water station at the foot of the climb was well patronised.
Sure enough, half a mile into the climb Alan passed me. My strategy was to stay in touch on the way up, hoping to make up ground on the descent. It didn’t quite work out. I could see him ahead all the way through to the beginning of the descent, but he was too far ahead, & he proved just as capable on the tarmac as he was on the grassy orchard undulations. I finished 32nd in 95 min 45 sec, one place & 1 min 7 sec behind my rival. Still, I was very pleased with my performance.
As we have come to expect from the Hotfooters, there was a relaxed, friendly atmosphere alongside excellent organisation. The prerace briefing was as entertaining as ever, complemented by the humorous little signs along the course. There were water stations at 3, 6 & 9 miles, most welcome each time The course was very well signposted all through with lots of friendly, helpful marshals. The Sky Blue vest elicited positive response from marshals no less than three times during the race. This year’s race T-shirt colour is a really attractive Pea Green & we’ve decided to paint our kitchen woodwork the same colour! Oh…did I forget to mention cake…..??