Alarm set for a Sunday is pretty extreme in our house but that should have been an omen for what was to come, writes Andy Young.
Kit all packed, check of the weather and yep that still looked pants no matter what site I looked at – I really wanted the option of choosing the best one ! Need to have a chat with Carol Kirkwood.
Off to Widecombe in the moor and there was certainly a buzz in the sleepy little village nestled in a beautiful valley dominated by Hameldown Tor.
We were early enough to park in the main car park , grab a Coffee and bump into John and Cath Wisner, Dave and Helen Gray, Jodie and Steve Jarvis and John and Angela Yelland – a right merry crew all huddled up behind Johns car trying to keep warm. Registration beckoned and that revealed a very minimal Fergie dressed in shorts and vest and Dunc – at least he had a base-layer on.
Dawn, Dave and Angela all lined up at the start for the inaugural Hameldown 7even, a long 10k out of Widecombe and straight up onto the moor for a seven-mile lollipop route out along Hameldown ridge and back. Rocks, bogs ,streams, boulders, rain and wind so strong and cold it took your breath away and stopped you in your tracks.
In Dawn’s case blew her off her feet and splat into a Bog – she was very black. Angela and Dawn helped each other through and all 3 managed it back safe if very knackered.
Half hour later the main event – Fergie, Dunc, John W, John Y all buzzing near the front and waiting to go… Jodie and I a little further back and maybe not buzzing quite as loud. Off we went up the cruelest hill start ever and I just watched as everyone ran off and I walked (can’t do hills so think something went wrong in course selection). Up onto the moor and it was stunning, beautiful and brutal all at the same time.
It was a long track across the top passing the quicker runners of the seven on their way home, lucky b******ds . We then dropped down to a road and I caught up with Jodie which was great to have a chat. Jodie is much stronger than me going up so we saw each other quite a bit and I expected her to come past at any point.
The route is pretty cool being Hammer shaped and follows stream beds, farm tracks, the rough moor and an orchard, with tough descents followed by really tough ascents.
The last three miles was probably the biggest test in my running career, just trudging into a gale force icy wind. It was impossible to run and so cold. Pulling out was not an option as there was nowhere else to go. At the end of the ridge you drop back down to Widecombe. I was absolutely done in but so pleased with the cheers from our valiant supporters complemented by all the fast boys and into the finish for a cracking medal – probably the most hard earned 1/2 marathon medal ever.
Highlights of the day, finishing, Black Dawn and a big hug with Jodie who came in two minutes behind me – a fab day and fab effort from all. Oh and next time (!!!!) a roast and a pint in The Old Oak Inn in the village after!