The Purdown Pursuit very definitely counts as a home run. I’ve used Purdown as a training route for a good 15 years now. I love the short, sharp climbs, the mixed terrain, the urban views, the buzzing hum of the motorway. The communications tower. The WWII gun emplacements. The teenage parties when exams are over. The barbeques. The fishing lake. The joyriders. The abandoned vehicles. The other runners. Even the dogs.
Building works meant a couple of slight tweaks to the route. We started maybe 100m further back to give the race a chance to string out before the restricted access to the path, and later, after the short circuit, we had to skirt round a new fence protecting the landworks.
I felt energetic and ready. I attacked from the start and led the race over the first and longest climb. Then Chris Mcmillan hared off. Another runner in a blue vest passed me. Don’t let him go, I said, meaning Chris. I stormed down the first descent; I’ve been working on the downhills this year, and it’s paid off. I still felt fresh on the second proper climb. On the long, straight, almost flat section after exiting the woods I ramped up my pace and slowly, slowly closed on blue vest — Jeroen Bromilow.
If Jeroen had faltered I might have caught him, but he didn’t. Over the next winding and technical section, on road, steep descent, ragged ascent, steps, hole in the wall, overgrown pathway, he put distance into me. When I got to the top of the final open downhill, he was already at the bottom. I finished in 3rd with a time of 41:53, a minute down on Jeroen and 40 seconds ahead of Andy Hickman in 4th. Southville smashed the team prize with 4 runners in the first 5 places.
The end-of-series proze giving was held in the courtyard at the back of the Masons Arms. Congratulations to Chris Mcmillan and Clare Prosser, who took 1st male and female in all 4 races. I thoroughly enjoyed completing all 4 races and was delighted to end the series on a high.