UPDATE: Well that was tough! I am pleased to say I finished and wasn't last - although I am disappointed that I was last in my age group and didn't break the target time I had set myself. I did, however, set a PB of 1:24:01, not exactly setting The Hills alight... I am afraid I allowed myself to get caught up in the rush at the start of the race! I actually reached The Beacon @ 15 minutes quicker than I have before! However, I then paid for this finding the climb back from West Malvern onto North Hill almost too much. I must thank Jim Griffiths of Birchfield Harriers who's words of encouragement at this stage really picked me up. The descent to the finish couldn't come soon enough and I made it back, beating my previous best time by just 30 secs. Many thanks to all the people out on The Beacon for the support they gave to all the runners, it was much appreciated - and many thanks to the person who called out my name at St Annes Well - I heard you but didn't recognise the voice!All that remains is for me, with your kind help, to pass my donation/sponsorship target!
Once again, many, many thanks to everyone for their very kind support - THANK YOU.
The race is over an @ 7 mile course which leaves Rose Bank Gardens in a southerly direction, crosses Foley Terrace and continues for a short distance along this minor road. The course then takes a narrow zig-zag track which winds its way uphill through the woods to St Anne's Well, on to Happy Valley and across a further hilly, wooded area at the bottom of North Hill. The course then runs back to St. Anne's Well along a wide, flat(ish) track until it ascends (steeply) on a fairly good path up to Earnshaw Quarry and on, up, through the woods to the Goldmine where the course joins the tarmac track up to The Beacon. The Beacon track is a hard climb (and the rest isn't?) to the summit. The course then descends initially over rock, then grass and on to a wide track down to West Malvern. Don't be fooled as the climbing is not over, the course rises again along a track around the end of North Hill and onto a short length of rough track down to a better track which continues around North Hill entering a steep descent to St. Anne's Well. From here the course continues south along a mixed track and, eventually back to the finish in Rose Bank Gardens. The course is @ 7 miles in total with a maximum altitude of 1395ft. Apparently, there are magnificent views over the surrounding counties, I have never been able to raise my head at that stage! In 2008 the winner completed the course in 43 mins 21secs and the slowest runner took 1hr 42 mins 24 secs - now, I may well be breaking one of those times, I will leave up to you to guess which... the worrying thing is the entry form concludes with "Please ensure you are fully fit and able to cope with this run. Remember this is NOT a fun run!" Now, I know, 7 miles is by no means a great distance, however you will notice the words 'hill', 'up' and 'ascent' are used quite a lot and for a fifty one year old, fat photographer who gets out of breath running a bath... I just hope it is still daylight when I finish... My aim is purely to finish... and not be last... Oh, and as the Warriors' match that week is on the Thursday, if you are at a loss on the Saturday afternoon at 3.00pm - come for a nice walk on The Beacon, your support and encouragement will be welcomed by all competitors (approx 300) and if you own a 4x4 maybe you could give me a lift around the course....
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