Wrington Woodland Tyntesfield 10

2014-05-22, Comments

At the start of the month I attempted the Wrington Woodland run. Conditions were warm and damp. The race starts with a gradual climb from Goblin Coombe. I was tracking the leaders at this stage. The rocky track became a river of viscous clay. A Frome runner slipped and slithered, his five fingers affording little traction. I moved past into second place.

WWR, theracephotographer.com/2014

My own shoes — my normally trusty Adidas swoop trail shoes — skidded on the fast tarmac descent to Wrington. I slowed down then pushed on, determined to hold my position. On the second climb, the steep one up Bullhouse Lane, my right calf went. I limped, then walked, then tried to run through the injury, then walked again. I was in some pain. Runners passed me. I’m fine, I said, it’s cramp. The woods on top of Wrington Hill were packed with bluebells. A kindly marshal gave me a lift back to the HQ once the race had passed. My first ever DNF. I felt lousy.


Yesterday, three weeks later, I showed up for the Tyntesfield 10 — a favourite event from last year. My calf still isn’t 100% but I needed to get round the course to put Wrington behind me. I could surely do that.

I started easily on the first meadow circuit. We looped back to the house, swerving round the croquet lawn and flowerbeds, then back to the meadow again. My legs felt good. I pushed on towards the woods, passing runners as the track rose. Watch out for tree roots! Go on Southville! The track twists and swerves, hurdling fallen trees, ducking under branches. I was glad to be clear and able to pick my own route. Andy Malloy cruised past. I drafted him, pulling me into contention with a couple of other runners.

Out of the woods and into long grass, nettles, thistles, rape. At this stage last year I’d been wiped out. Today, a more cautious start had earned me something in reserve. To my surprise, Annabel Granger was in range, plus another couple of runners I didn’t know. At last we reached the long descent bringing the route back home. I passed one runner. I passed two more, only for them to nip ahead when I misinterpreted a marshal’s signal and turned the wrong way. Down the steps and on to the tarmac. I dug in on the final short climb, regaining my earlier position. On the finishing straight, for the first time in the race, I looked behind me. My position was safe. I crossed the line.

Training mate Neil Williams was so close behind I didn’t see him finish. I cheered in another friend, Steve Swan, drank the water and ate the minuscule cereal bar in the goodie bag.

Tyntesfield 10k

I was 7th to finish and 1st in my category. My time, 40:39, was 22 seconds faster than at the same event last year. Next up: the Welsh Castles Relay.


Thanks to Rich Kenington, theracephotographer.com, and Sally Johnson for the excellent action shots used on this page.