Lulworth Castle 10K – Race 1 in the Purbeck Trail Series

So after my first marathon back in April I decided upon a new challenge which was to compete in every race of the Purbeck Trail Series. 

I enjoyed the couple of trail races I had run in the club championship, particularly sense of freedom it gave you. Trail races for me is about enjoying and overcoming the challenges of the surroundings it gives you the opportunity to explore. 

Oh heads up, all the photos I pinched off Facebook so imagine lush green trees 😀

So race day….I got up and watched the magnificent Mo Farah in the 10, 000m while downing my porridge. Such a phenomenonal athlete and all round nice guy who inspires so many.

I arrived a bit later than I would of hoped, all my own doing, race numbers were pick up on the day and was an absolute breeze. The toilet queue was quite long and with the increased numbers perhaps a couple more next year would be beneficial. 

Unfortunately this only gave me 5 minutes to get warmed up which just wasn’t enough time and possibly psychological I felt the impact of that throughout. 

So we had a nice friendly racing brief and lined up, race field was about 300 and I think featured in some club championships as there were quite a few vests. 

I lined up at the front we were given the go and we we were off, I tucked in behind the lead runner. You fly down a slope into the first corner and then you’re faced with the first hill which is about 100 ft in elevation. On hindsight I took this too hard, while it felt the right pace on fresh legs I took 1st place on the hill when perhaps I should of just remained tucked in to conserve energy. Shortly after you reach the top you pass the original entrance for the Lulworth estate. 

Then you hug the tree line and it was here I was passed by the eventual winner. The views here were beautiful and in a way it was a shame we cut in to the woods. Mile 1 6:03

The ground was firm but quite a few loose stones so I kept my attention on my foot placement. I lost 2nd place through here, the runner put a spurt on so he was 15-20 yds in front but then slowed to a similar pace. I decided to stay behind rather than getting in a cat and mouse chase and then chase down at the end. You come out the woods at Mile 2 6:04 and head down a hill for half a mile which feels great!

At about 2.5 miles there is the first water station which fantastically was in bottles, much easier to handle than cups. I don’t normally take on water for a 10K but with it being warm I decided to have a few mouthfuls. Now the station is on a corner at the bottom of the hill and while I was successful in retrieving the bottle I took the bend to quick, stumbled, windmilled a bit and then…..kept my balance and carried on running, now if the water was in a cup I would of been drenched but I took a couple of sips, dropped the bottle and carried on up another incline. When you reach the top which is the end of mile 3 6:09 you are greeted with the beautiful Lulworth Castle.

It was built in 1609 as a hunting lodge but seized by the Round heads in the English Civil War and used as a garrison. Following the French Revolution, the surviving members of the French Royal Family were allowed to use the castle as one of the residences-in-exile.

You get a better view of it than this photo

You reenter the woods thinking that was the castle just popping up and before you know it you come across and run through another landmark which is the former gates. 

This was lovely to run through and what follows I can’t really remember, other than it was undulating through the woods but I hit a 6:04 for mile 4 so  happy days.

Now mile 5 I was still 15-20yds behind 2nd place and confident that I could catch him. I just needed to maintain the distance and then close him down on the last mile  OMG look at that hill!!! 

It was now that I realised it was going to be a brutal finish, while it was nice to see people coming the other way as you started to ascend it wasn’t long before you were just digging deep and dealing with the increasing pain in legs. 

Disappointingly it was here that I lost 3rd spot to a Poole Runner, I decided to let him go as I could still get 3rd spot. Mile 5 6:37

My decision to not follow the Poole Runner turned out to be a stupid mistake. When I got to the crest of the hill, which cranked up again near the crest, 2nd and 3rd place decided to have a battle and the 20 yds they had on me had more than doubled. I know it’s all relative but mentally I was defeated and it was here I knew a top 3 spot was lost.

After a quick run through a field you hit the first hill bit now it’s a lovely downhill. It’s quite loose so you need to keep your wits about you but you can hit it with good speed. Mile 6:33

I checked with a marshal just after the downhill if anyone was close and he reassured not if you maintain you’re current pace. I did that and finished 4th in 39:31

So a good points score for the Purbeck Trail Series Championship and I think I can do better so pleased overall….although still disappointed I missed out on my first ever top 3 finish in a race.

Would I do this again? In a heartbeat!! My first words to Phil who runs our Club Championship was this race has to be in the CC next year!!

It’s a fantastic, challenging course with beautiful panoramic views and I’d recommend it to anyone and everyone. The event is well organised and relaxed, the only way it could improve is if it had a bbq and pimms tent after and that would be perfection. Come to Dorset and experience this race, you won’t be left disappointed.


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