Ultra running is great. For me it involves quite a lot of miles, a few dark early mornings and a lot of time on my own. There are advantages to taking in the sounds of nature and enjoying a solitary retreat into the mud and tree roots of my local trails. But at times it can be dull; there are only so many conversations I can have with myself, any constructive thoughts are often washed down the drain of a post-run shower and motivation is occasionally an issue.
How excited was I when a friend suggested a bit of a muddy run the day after a Burns supper. A whole, glorious 10km, three other people to run with, some weird sculptures to run past and some technical trails thrown in; my version of legoland.
So, bleary eyed, feeling a little bit red wine’d, four of us set off for a Relish Running race just outside of Bath.
Relish Running organise a great, small scale, friendly race. Everything we needed was provided from a change tent, wonderfully upbeat volunteers, through to decent post race snacks. In addition, they provided lots of things we didn’t need; quite a few medics, mountain rescue and mud…lots of mud. Oh my goodness, the mud. It was billed as a muddy run and in that area, the race organisers delivered with excessive exuberance.
It was a day for fell shoes; trail shoes didn’t cut it, nor did the flat trainers our road running team member braved it all out in.
The other element guaranteed was absolute hilarity at every turn, we laughed so hard that one of our team couldn’t get up some of the hill, doubled over, tears streaming down her face.
It didn’t matter that we took our time and soaked up every slip and stumble the course threw at us. The marshals were as upbeat and encouraging for the us at the back as they had been at the for those at the front and seemed to enjoy our smiles and jokes.
As is so common on good trail races, the runners were loving the experience and enjoying the banter. I’m always struck by people who make this an inclusive sport, celebrating all abilities and this race had those people in bucket loads.
After 1 hour 58 mins, we found the finish with a jovial medic and race official cheering us in. We passed on the hog roast, changed our mud soaked kit and found the bus which the organisers had sorted to get us back to the park and ride.
What a great race. Well organised and friendly.
Most mportantly for me, I got to run with three fabulous runners who slipped, squished, encouraged and laughed for 10km. It’s recharged my ‘needing-company’ batteries and got me ready to get back into the trail a slightly less lonely soul.