On the better day of the weekend, when there was scarcely any more mud around the Wrekin than there was on the roads of the Elan Valley race the day before, six Croft runners prepared to be wrecked by the Wrekin, along with 189 other competitors. The day had dawned sunny, but cold, however by the time of the start the sun was behind clouds again.
The start is along a narrow, undulating, part stony track, so runners were stretched out right from the off. It was soon very warm, carrying full FRA kit, and quickly coming to the first serious climb through the woods up to the rocky main track. Gary P obviously negotiated the first steep descent without mishap (no casualties at the track side), which Tom decided was best dealt with sitting down. Having caught my foot on a root at the very top, I was lucky to be able to grab a tree to save me from hurtling down out of control. Then came a long steady climb along the south base of the Wrekin, before the seriously steep climb up to the trig point, where Colin Williamson so artfully caught runners on camera in a state of exhaustion (well Tom and I look exhausted, and Gary P looks positively menacing!). Then down again, before up again (good old grand old Duke!), and then down again, and up again to the trig point, down the west end of the hill before catching the mile long track that takes us back to the finish. It’s there that the fitter (younger?) runners can make a lot of time up, leaving those of us that stagger in their wake.
Gary P (just returning to running after surgery) was first Croftie home, in 68th (81.30), with Emma having another great race, not so far behind in 98th (3rd Senior Lady) (86.49). A gel midway through the race sustained me to the end, as I crossed the line in 89.11 (109th, !st MV70). Sam was 150th, undefeated by the Wrekin, in 97.43, and Gary G hobbled in 163rd (102.13) and Tom, also handicapped by injury, was 180th (112.48).