Dundry Thunder, third race in the Tach summer series and I’d say the toughest.
It had been raining during the week and during the day. The skies were heavy as we lined up to start. The race tore down Littleton Lane, runners ricocheting across the damp, uneven surface, each of us trying to find our own racing line. I was wearing my lightweight race shoes, which are fast and comfortable but don’t have much grip. I skidded in the slick mud like Djokovic on a grass court.
Knowing what was to follow, I eased up a little and must have been around 10th by the foot of the hill. The meadows heading back up hadn’t been mowed or grazed. We were wading through long damp grass, stopping for gates and stiles. Getting into a rhythmn was impossible. I’d climbed to 3rd by the top of the hill and pushed hard along the level section through Dundry, getting a gap on my chasers. By now Chris McMillan was way out in front, but I had the second runner in my sights. Running through a field of oil seed rape, the rain bent the heavy pods across the track; they wrapped and trashed at my legs. Back downhill, this time through long damp grass, scanning for route markers.
James Killingbeck, in second, must have been about 20m in front of me at the foot of Littleton Lane, which we would now climb to the finish. I dug in, but he must have done the same. I wasn’t closing on him, and settled gratefully for a third place finish.
By now it really was raining, and within a few minutes the downpour had us racing for the shelter of the pub even though slower runners were still out on the course.