Man v Horse

Race Reports

Man v Horse 2016 was had a real Croft Ambrey team feel to it this year.

We had two mens teams, consisting of the vets team – Tom, Neil T, Dave Rouse  and the younger males, although technically maybe still vets – Dave A, Neil and Pat. We also had 2 ladies teams – Liza, Jo and myself and Carol, Sarah and Helen (sign her up Tom!) – who ran under the team name Close to the Border Babes.

Sue P and Nigel were also in a team and Robyn took a team space with Ed Collins and Kate from the tri club.

Gemma, Sam M, Gary P, Dave G, Matt Moffatt, Dave Rouse j and Gary G all ran as individuals.

So not a bad Croft turnout!

I can only describe the race from my perspective and I ran the third leg of the relay. It was a really good race and everyone really enjoyed it and I am sure some of the others would like to share their day – so please write another report!

I have never run in a relay event before and it was a bit tricky deciding who was going to run which leg. We had registered on the race a couple of months ago and information had been conflicting as to the lengths of each of the three legs. We decided to wait until the morning to sort out who was doing what and finally decided on me for the first, then Jo and then Liza would do the last leg. Jo boarded the bus for the first changeover at 10am. Liza and I then made our way to the Neuadd Arms for a drink before the start at 11. One of the marshalls near the start had a chat with us about the course and told us that the first leg was mostly road and the last completely off road so Liza and I switched bibs so she was now running the start and I would do the finish to hopefully play to our strengths. It meant that I was able to cheer off Liza and the others at the start before making my way with Sarah to the bus to take us to the second change over post.

We were able to see the horses starting from the bus as we drove through town – they set off 15 minutes after the runners. There didn’t seem to be the 60 which is the number of entries and on looking at the results I think there was 37 horses, with 35 finishing.

There was not a lot of communication when we arrived on the bus to the second relay point. The bus just stopped and it wasn’t until we saw people walking off the other buses that we thought we must be in the right place. A short walk up the road and there was a portaloo and a man setting up the chip mats so we were in the right place. There were no marshalls to tell us what to do but luckily lots of the runners had done the race before so we found out where to go. One toilet for 170 runners waiting for over an hour was not ideal either. It was a bit strange not knowing when I was going to start running and a bit of speculation as to when we would see the first runners – or would it be a horse?

I am sure we saw runners before horses but the results page disputes this – I think this may have to do with the timing mats being further down the hill than where the actual handover point was – this does also mean that the times for the relay runners are not accurate, it was a shame the timing mats weren’t further up the hill or the changeover point further down the hill.

The change over point was actually very exciting, the first runner coming past at about 12.40. The atmosphere was very upbeat with lots of cheering and clapping and I would hope was very encouraging to those doing the whole 22 miles. The slight downhill and the gravel meant that the horses were going quite a pace as they went past us, those riders are very brave. The racers coming towards the change over can be seen coming down a hill about a quarter of a mile away and trying to figure out if it was  a Croft runner was a challenge.

We cheered Sam, Gemma, Gary and Dave, had a chat with Neil after his handover to Pat and then I could see Jo coming and it was my turn! I shouted a well done to Jo, took the wristband (which was acting as the baton) and then I was off downhill.

There was a downhill road stretch for about half a mile before turning left up a steep stoney bank. I did start off feeling a little guilty passing runners who are I would assume are much better runners than me but had obviously already run 13 miles. It was easy to spot the runners who were doing the relay – they were the clean ones.

A few horses went past me but it was not as intimidating as I thought it might be, I just had to move to the right. Being on the third leg they were fairly spread out. There was only one stretch along a narrow wood path where a couple of horses had to be led that slowed up the runners a little, but it was only for about a couple of hundred meters and the rest probably did me some good.

There were some steep ups and some steep downs a bit of mud and a few stetches on road but a really enjoyable run. It is very unusual for me to get past runners towards the end of races but I soon found I was feeling less guilty about it and was enjoying myself.

I could hear the end of the race a long time before I could see where the crowds were and I knew there was a bog coming up about a mile from the end – thanks to Tom for letting me know to stick to the right, it was a little tricky to negotiate but I didn’t get stuck. Off that path and down onto the road then a left hand turn to the river crossing which was actually deeper than I was expecting – up to the top of my legs, and was very slippy. I managed to stay on my feet and headed for the finish line.

I got three medals at the for me and my team mates. A great feeling to have been part of a team and a group of people you know well at the end makes all the difference as we all chatted and waited for us all to come in.

There was a good spread of sandwiches and drinks at the finish and a jar of peanut butter from the sponsors.

The weather was a bit strange, there was no rain until I started running which I was grateful for, it would have been a bit miserable waiting in pouring rain for over an hour but Tom did say in previous years they had sheltered in the nearby barns. While I was running there was a mixture of hot sun and rain and after all the Croft Runners were back heavy rain began to fall so we didn’t stay for too long after the race.

Well done to all the Croft Ambrey runners, we did brilliantly.

Gemma is continuing to run amazingly and was 4th lady in a time of 3.32.11. Sam was first Croft male home in 3.12.08, then Gary P 3.19.41, dave G 3.29.17, Matt 4.00.18, Dave R 4.06.52, Gary G 4.19.38.

The Croft Ladies (Liza, Jo, Sam) were 5th ladies team in 3.45.31, the over the border babes (Sarah, Tom, Helen) were 11th in 4.08.45.

Croft boys (Dave A, Neil P, Pat) were 6th male team in 3.10.30. The Croft Vets (Dave R, Neil, Tom) 4.05.09.

Sorry but I don’t know the team names of Sue and Nigels team or Robyns but please let us know how you did.

Well done to everyone who took part. I think I am right in saying there were 160 odd teams and over 600 individuals, which shows how well Croft did. A very enjoyable day – I did take a few photos and thanks Neil T who has sent me some too.


1-Running pics1 1-mvh 16 collage 1-Downloads7

Back in the spring hot on the heels of a good ladies turnout for the winter league, Tom Davies suggested that we put together a ladies team to represent Croft Ambrey in this years Man v Horse.

This lead to 5 of us being keen to enter but with 3 to a team, it was a little difficult to sort out who was going to do what. Gemma offered to do the first leg and then continue to complete the whole race and Carol had a word with a couple of friends and so we had enough to enter 2 teams and Gemma as an individual. Jo, Liza and I were the Croft Ambrey ladies, and Carol, new member Sarah and soon to be member (if we can persuade her!) Helen were the more adventurously named Over the Border Babes.

Tom Davies had organised a Croft vet team of himself, Dave Rouse S and Frank but unfortunately Frank is injured so Neil Taylor was able to step in. Dave A, Neil P and Pat were the all male croft team. I don’t know the circumstances but Sue P and Nigel were also part of a team. Robyn was also able to enter in another team for someone who dropped out.

Sam M, Gary P, Dave G, Matt Moffatt, Dave Rouse j and Gary G all ran as individuals.

So not a bad Croft turnout!



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