So the weekend after Purbeck Marathon came the Black Hill run,which is 10K in distance. I was still leading the Trail Series overall and a good finish here and at Studland Stampede was the aim. When deciding to run the series, winning or placing was never my goal but now I had the opportunity it was quite exciting.
I had never run this race before so I asked a few at the club and the overall opinion was that it’s a great race but quite tough. Having now run it I would say that I’m of the same opinion but probably add the great local atmosphere and good cause.
So the negative is that my legs were still a bit heavy from the marathon and I arrived slightly hungover as it my good friends wedding the day before. I hoped this wasn’t going to affect me too much but in the warm up I did nearly puke.
There were a few other Harriers there so we had a good chat and team picture.
So we lined up and in the brief we were informed how this race had come about. It was created to fund money for the Local Scouts, rather than continously pester parents and risk not being able to take kids on activities they decided to create a running race. In their first ever race they only had 37 runners but 4 years on they had a field of 190 in the 10K plus runners in the 5K and runners/dogs in the Canicross.
With it not being a chip race I lined right up at the front. The 10K and 5k set off together and split about 2.5 miles in. As we set off I was desperately trying to not stand on the teenagers who were obviously doing the 5K but were a bit slower. Once the field thinned though I found myself in 5th spot within a tight pack.
You straight away start on an small incline before it ramps up and before you know it mile 1 is done and you’re running along the crest of the Black Hill overlooking the village of Bere Regis thinking wow this is nice,that hill wasn’t too bad either. Mile 1 6:45/mi
Over the next mile I was able to move up into joint 3rd place. This was helped by the decline in which I was able to gain back space I’d lost on the ascent. I really enjoyed this descent as it was quite technical so really had to have your wits about you. Mile 2 5:43/mi
I decided to just stay behind 2nd place unless 1st place started to pull away. Pace was consistent between the 3 of us so I was quite content. We then then arrived at the part where the 5K and 10K split, I was surprised but pleased to see the lad in 2nd place go left for the 5K route. I closed in on 1st with the intention of sitting behind for as long as possible. Mile 3 6:05/mi
Through mile 4 was the climb up Kite Hill, now this climb was tough! It was a steadyish incline of about 200ft over the mile distance. It was here you could clearly see the difference between me and 1st place, he an experienced elite trail runner was just eating up this hill and he gained 14 seconds on me through this mile alone (don’t you just love Strava!). I won’t lie I found this bit tough and so did my hungover stomach but with the chance to get my first ever podium I gritted my teeth and pushed as hard as I could to get to the ridge in a respectable split. Mile 4 7:11
The decline here again was fun and I really took a few risks down here to see if I could close the gap on 1st. He however took it quicker and extended his lead by another 7 seconds which is really impressive! I decided that 2nd was the best I could hope for and I now just needed to give it my all to cement that place. I didn’t want to lose a podium finish on the last mile like at Lulworth 10K. Mile 5 5:45/mi
We now had looped back to the point where the 10K and 5k split and joined the 5K route. This did then turn into a bit of a parkrun where you had to go past the back markers but just like Parkrun I cheered on all as I ran past especially the kids running with parents and got cheered on myself which is encouraging. I then hit probably my hardest part of the race which is climbing black hill from the other side. I don’t know if it was because my legs were tired or that the incline was greater but this really hurt!! The fear of getting caught kicked in and this was what powered me through it or in a way up it!
When you get to the top there is the wall of death which I just whole heartedly jumped down and found childishly fun!! Mile 6 7:21
You’re then on the home straight, you run down through the most spectacular tree tunnel and the surface is so springy you literally bouncing down like Tigger!
You then come out to the starting section, it was now that I looked over my shoulder to see if a sprint was needed and there was no one, 2nd place was mine! I finished the race in 41:57 and had achieved a personal goal this year of making the top 3 in a race! I ended a minute behind 1st place and 30 seconds in front of 3rd.
I got a really nice prize hamper with beer, Biscuits and tea! I was just over the moon with finishing 2nd particularly as I extended my lead in the Trail Series with one race to go!!!
So would I recommend this race? Yes and already have, this is a brilliant little race and while tough is very enjoyable.
Would I run it again? Unless it clashes with a DRRL or CC race I’m going to do it again next year!