It seemed very odd to drive for an hour to run a 5km race particularly when it’ll be over in less than 20 minutes but this was the Trail Series and it had to be done. I wasn’t the only one who thought this, my wife words were “what you’re going do a 2 hour round trip for 18 mins of running when you’ve got Parkrun on your doorstep?!”. It was for this reason I decided to make a day of it and convinced her and the boys to join me, with the intention of having a bbq after on the beach. Unfortunately the weather changed and it was now going to be light showers, they still came though but I think that was mainly down to my offer of a trip to a country pub.
As we were driving across it dawned on me I had forgotten my watch!! While initially annoyed, I realised it wasn’t really that important as it’ll be undulating and varied terrain so the in race lap splits wouldn’t be of any real use.
So we arrived an hour before and the drive across particularly when we got into the Purbecks was very enjoyable with lush panoramic views, an exciting reminder of why I had signed up to the Trail Series. The car park (field) was well signposted and marshaled with the race village a nice 10 minute walk along a pathway away.
It was all set up on the little village green and they were on arrival they were frying off the bacon and making tea for spectators, such a tease!! I picked up my number and pinned it to my vest and then rejoined the family who by this time were all enjoying bacon rolls, I was very jealous…. even the dog was getting some bacon!!!
I went for a warm up and decided to run the start of the course, it turned out that the first mile would be all up hill…I just hoped the rest of it wasn’t. I gave the family a kiss, who were having fun on the village green playing a racket game, and made my way to the start.
I had hoped to try and get 3rd spot finish after Lulworth 10K but quickly realised that was out of the question. The race must of featured in a couple of clubs Championship as there were a quite a few vests and some good runners wearing them too!
We received the race brief which highlighted this would be a tough one, “You’ll be running on mud, gravel paths, sand, heath, a ford, tree roots and a bit of road”.
I lined up at the front, the signal was given and we were off. You run round a small field to start before exiting onto a track, this track then started the long slog uphill through a tree lined path.
I settled in behind a pack of three which featured a Bournemouth AC runner and Purbeck Runner. We overtook a couple of runners on the way, mainly I’m guessing inexperienced runners who had perhaps set off to quick and whose quads were now burning on the ascent.
The front pack of four had now begun to pull away which left us three to battle it out. On entering the heath the view across the bay to Sandbanks was quite something and while I was giving it my all I kept telling myself to look up and take it all in, afterall this is the joy of running trail!!
The surface had now changed and we were running on sand which was quite sapping, at every opportunity I was looking out for firmer ground to utilise. The good news was that mile 2 was predominantly downhill so now the fun now began!
We ran past the renowned Agglestone Rock which just looked bizarre in the middle of nowhere.
There were some great descents you could really hit and get that extra boost of speed. It was here the BAC runner and I pulled away from the Purbeck Runner. I loved this part of the course and felt like a big kid again, even jumping a few of the descents.
Mile 3 starts the climb back up but it’s more gradual, the BAC runner began to pull way here so I settled on my position and just made sure I kept enough space between me and the Purbeck Runner to prevent a late surge.
The race ends on the village green and I crossed the line in 18:41 and 6th place overall. It was great to see the boys cheering me through and I went for the customary high 5s!
Even better news is that this result placed me top of the Purbeck Trail Series with 992 points, closest competitor on 982. There is still another 4 races to go so I’m certainly not getting carried away but it’s a nice feeling all the same.
Each runner receives a raffle ticket at the finish and I luckily won a nice bottle of Merlot, so all round this was a great day!!
Will I do this race again? In a heartbeat, while a 2 hour round trip sounds mad for a 5km race, this race is awesome. The course is great fun, the scenery is just wonderful and I quite like the quaintness of it! Races like these are what running is about 😀