A fine turnout of Croft Ambrey runners turned up on a cold, wet and windy New Year’s Day morning to take part in the Mercia annual Morning After race.
A warm up was essential and there was much debate between us about how many layers to wear before we set off but the general consensus was that we would soon warm up once we got started.
156 runners started off the gentle uphill along Church Stretton High street, crossing a field and then into Cardingmill Valley. I hadn’t done this race before which did feel a bit liberating as I had no expectations of my time or position so was just able to keep running as best I could and I really enjoyed myself.
Not an easy race by any ones measure, lots of muddy paths, some steep ups and downs, very slippery in places and there were a few stumbles along the way but as far as I am aware no injuries more than a few cuts and bruises. There was one particularly steep hill, where it is more of a climb than a run and with a false summit, so I had to keep pushing hard for a bit further than I had anticipated, but the sense of achievement when hitting the top, knowing I got past a couple of runners along the way was great.
The end of the race was downhill for approximately one mile going back into town but down a different route. A downhill finish never works in my favour and I did try to hold onto my position but unfortunately one runner did get past me but that didn’t dampen my enjoyment at all, I will just have to try harder next time.
There was a real sense of achievement at having completed a tough run in tough conditions – there was even horizontal sleet at one stage and the wind was bitterly cold but very invigorating. It was great to put on some dry clothes at the end and there was warm soup and a roll to warm us from the inside too.
A fabulous run. A really big thanks to everyone who was involved in organising it, especially all the marshal’s who must have been freezing cold but who were all very friendly and encouraged us along with a smile.
It was great fun and my New Year’s resolution for 2017? To run more fell runs, especially around the Church Stretton hills.
1st man Paul Jones Mercia 30.07m
1st lady Sara Willhoit Mercia 34.58
Patrick Pearson 29 37.48
Neil Powell 30 37.54
Nigel Taylor 38 39.17
Glyn Williams 43 39.53
Gary Pearson 51 41.19
Dave Rouse (Jr) 52 41.23
Neil Taylor 83 45.02
Sam Harper 88 45.44
Tom Davies 96 47.04
Carol Powell 104 48.06
Gary Gunner 110 1st M70 49.05
Frank Luscott 116 49.41
Thanks to Colin from mercia for the photo – more can be found on his flickr page