Sam and Mike’s long-awaited time trial around fields and orchards next to Shobdon airfield finally took place on Sunday (May 9th – Sam Juson’s and Huw’s birthday), and the rains had waited until a couple of days beforehand, leaving some of the ground covered in heavy, sticky mud. It was a deceptively fast early part of the course, with short uphills, but about halfway we found ourselves running head into the wind on an exposed gravel (?) track, before heading east (left) into the shelter of trees. It was here I experienced seeing a plane that had just taken off, only just clearing the trees as it flew overhead and being moved firmly sideways by the wind. That was I supposed the lowest point of the course, and there were then a number of short, but demanding slopes to tackle, some with longish, tufty grass, giving tiring legs more to cope with. But between these climbs there was also a variety of path, track and field margin, constantly turning 90 degree angles so as to disorientate us! As we started on a climbing path between hedgerows though it felt like we were approaching the finish and indeed at the top there was a mere 100m to go to the Finish sign (one runner mistook Start for Finish, and stopped 10m short. I think he should have gone to the barbers, rather than to Specsavers).
Once again, Eric proved the fastest round the course, with Jasper who had started a minute ahead being caught just before the finish. And likewise Kelly was again the quickest female, quite literally by a mile (well 6 mins 40). I think Huw enjoyed his birthday run, despite his comments about the demanding courses Croft lay on! The finish photos (courtesy of Kelly, who’d rushed back to take them!) show fine sprinting from Ashley, Lucy and Flora particularly, but spared Tim’s blushes for his early finish.
It was a good, interesting course, well marshalled (no one lost their way!), and once again Theresa was able to gather together volunteer helpers to enable the rest of us to run. Thanks to all involved in planning, setting out and officiating on the day.