This is my fourth year of running the Tach summer series, four multi-terrain events held on Thursday evenings in May through to July. These races play to my strengths — hills, uneven footing, twists and turns; long enough to require level-headed pacing, short enough to race the whole way. And when you look up, the scenery is spectacular.
The Wrington run starts with the steadiest of climbs on a woodland track. The leaders accelerated up the gradient and were soon out of sight. Some quality runners there, but did they realise how long this climb was, and how much tougher the following climb would be? Their enthusiasm carried me and I picked up my own pace.
In wetter weather there’d be a section of energy-sapping clay towards the top. After an unusually dry spring, we danced past any remaining mud on the course. I had picked off Matt and Paul by now. I could see Mark Ducker, Southville captain, not so far ahead.
The downhill transitions from footpath to farm track to tarmac. Then there’s a level section along Ropers Lane. I was running just behind Keiron Summers and just ahead of Ben Anderson. We turned up Bullhouse Lane, a rocky path littered with leaf mould, branches and loose rocks. I passed Keiron but he was having none of it. The route swerved, the gradient sharpened.
Back on tarmac again, along the top of Wrington Hill. Views of the Severn Estuary. Ben passed me. The bluebells glowed in the evening sunlight. I could still see Mark.
I caught and passed Ben when the road surface deteriorated. Keiron was still in range. We hurtled down the final woodland descent, shooting across the narrow bridge, over the stile, then stumble-running across the meadow to the line. I finished 4th with a personal course record of 37:52.
Thanks to John Cooper for the photos