The West Glamorgan cross country league visited Kenfig nature reserve for the first time this year. I was looking forward to both the race and to visiting somewhere new.
Shoe selection bothered me. Spikes were not an option on the multi-terrain course, but should I use my trail shoes (which feel clunky) or my light-weight racing shoes (barely any grip)? After warming up in both on the soft sandy trail I went for the trail shoes. I needed all the traction I could get.
Another first: the organisers led out the race on a quad bike. Runners did what they could to avoid the softest sand in the middle of the track, preferring to use the grassy verges.
After about a mile of this pacy dodging and weaving — stand back, dog walkers and spectators! — we took a turn to the left onto a firmer track through common land. Cows ambled along to their own agenda, not bothered by the event. I passed Charles Walsh and Will Munday. I passed Eamonn. Once again I had Alan Davies for company.
Another left turn and we were on a short fast section of rough road, the wind on our backs. Alan strode out and I stayed with him. The counter-clockwise loop repeated, and wewere passing runners still on their first circuit. Now for the hard part, the final mile on soft sand back to the race finish.
I scanned the horizon for some sign of the Kenfig visitor centre but could see nothing but sand dunes. The pace felt so slow compared to the high energy start along the same track. I was exhausted but guessed others would feel the same way. Don’t look back, press on. Alan pulled a slight gap and suddenly the finish was there.
I came in 14th, one place behind Alan Davies, closely followed by Will Munday and Eamonn Kirk.