It was with some trepidation that a bunch of runners awoke Sunday morning for the clubs second outing to The Titsey Trail in Oxted. The weather forecast warned of heavy rain and even thunder storms just when the race was due to start. So, with fingers-crossed, four leaf clovers to hand and lucky pants pulled on (ok maybe the last one was just me!?) everyone met up just outside Oxted at Limpsfield Chart and joined the gathering throng of runners.
In the end, 23 of us were in attendance, a large increase from last year and soon were stripped down to our race gear and entering the start pens. After a very entertaining warm-up which involved a lot of reaching up, reaching down and star jumps we ready for the gentle walk to the start line and the start of the race. Despite being warned that there actually was a start gun, it still scared the ‘bejezzus’ out of me when it went off and we were suddenly on our way.
The first part of the race was down a narrow path enclosed on both sides and slightly down-hill. Those that had run this race last year knew that the nice downhill start meant a gentle uphill to the finish but that was 10km away and there was just a little running to do in between.
The narrow pathway soon opened out and threw us out onto the golf course which continued downhill and soon we were back in the woods along well-trodden footpaths, the first hint that there may be a little mud on the course. It wasn’t long before we hit the first little hill that was just a taste of what this years course had to offer.
For the next 10km the trail wound up, round and eventually down through some superb scenery and lovely trails with 99% off road. There were some short steep hills and some longer not so steep hills but once up, we rewarded with some fast downhill sections. There was plenty of mud on the course which made certain parts of the course a bit tricky and tested our ability to corner at speed. The hills provided everyone with an opportunity to put into use all the hill practice we’ve done and from what I saw, everyone was killing those hills today!
Towards the end the downhills got longer and for those that realised where they were, the finish was near. Coming out of the woods we hit a head wind, which certainly made the legs and arms work a bit harder and then before long we were back on the golf course and the end was in sight. The narrow path up to the finish seemed to be a lot longer on the way back but was interrupted by a local drumming band which was noisy and loud enough to drown the cheers from the finish, making you think you had further to go than you actually did. Suddenly the finish arch was in view and a bottle of beer, T-shirt, medal and most importantly a banana awaited us. Phew it was done!
For some it marked their first trail race, for others there were lessons to be learned but for most it was another ‘bloody good run chaps’. Soon after finishing everyone had a smile on their faces even if they were accompanied by a few swear words….but that’s normal for some, isn’t it Pam???
From my point of view, it was yet another strong turn out from East Grinstead Runners as the club goes from strength to strength, especially after another strong show at the East Grinstead 10km the week before. What was also really heartening was that no one left before everyone had finished and everyone was encouraging and supporting runners from the club, ensuring that they all were cheered, and in some cases, shouted across the line.
Well done everyone on a fantastic morning, enjoy the beers and the recovery and I hope to be able to cheer you on at another event very soon.