What a wonderful evening to be part of a mass start once again, 15 months after the last one at Presteigne. After the previous days’ rain, the air was clear and the hills were green beneath a blue sky. And runners were mostly in shorts and vests or T shirts.
91 runners set off from the start in the less congested finish area in the Batch valley, all dutifully wearing a mask until we thinned out as we approached the first climb. Surprisingly there was little sign of all the recent rain, apart from the wider streams, that I for one didn’t attempt to leap across! The greatest hazard early on was the low evening sun in our faces. Because the change of start shortened the course, we did an extended climb towards the golf course midway through the race, but that spared us the boggier bits we usually had to negotiate at the top of the second climb. The descent towards the last climb up the Novers included a very narrow winding path, with the risk of a slip into the gorse below. From the top of the Novers, with a view of the finish in the valley below, it was a straightforward hurtle down the grassy slope, till the last drop onto the path which involved some caution over small rocks.
Timing was done via a small chip on our wrists, which we had to insert into a dibber (?) at the finish. I was given the same time as another runner, who was either the runner 10 seconds or so in front of me (she may have found difficulty recording her time) or the runner some distance behind, so not a very precise system.
Matt Yapp, maybe competing for the first time in a Croft vest, did himself proud, finishing 4th (27.29), behind winner Daniel Connolly of Mercia (25.26), and 3rd senior man. Tim J was 56th in 39.51, narrowly beating his namesake Tim Jones, who finished a few seconds behind. I was given 70th=, in 43.14, with Steph M (45.11), enjoying her first Batch Bash, managing to keep in front of Gary, 15 seconds behind her. Gary and I were the oldest runners, so no competition for the MV75 positions. We did though manage to keep a few runners behind us.