Wow, where to start. I’m writing this in the hotel bar (I work away a lot of mondays) drinking a cool Carling, legs feeling battered after an absolutely miserable run. Not that the run was bad (Well, it was quite tough) but the weather was utterly abysmal. I may as well have just got in the shower fully clothed, I came back utterly drenched. I was only meant to do a nice easy run, but with the weather the way it was (And because I forgot my sodding waterproof) I thought I’d better inject some pace – the sooner I finished the better!
The problem is, the pace is off the back of:
- Thursday – 5 x1km Intervals
- Friday – 5 miles at Threshold pace
- Saturday – 8 mile cross country race as part of the Parrett Trail Relay
- Sunday – 12 long slow(ish) miles
So the last thing I wanted to do was cane it around the back lanes of Coleshill at 7.30 minute miling! But I managed it.
The most interesting run was the Parrett Trail Relay. My running club were looking for last minute inclusions to a couple of their 4 teams due to dropouts. Due to my parkrun commitments I wasn’t sure I’d be able to make it, but when I found out a vacancy was available at Leg 4 which stated at 11.45, I thought “Why not!”.
The Parrett Trail is a public footpath which runs from the mouth of the River Parrett, back to its source. It has this interesting looking trophy for the winning team!
The race itself is loosely based upon relay rules. There is no baton, each stage starts and finishes at another start/finish, except each leg is run in its own individual “wave” and the teams combined times make up the final result.
What makes this race interesting is that its entirely self navigated. There are no marshals, no aid stations. Just the start point, the end point, and the expectation you won’t cheat! The majority of the route is well signed, but some areas are distinctly lacking! I plotted my route on Endomondo to try and ensure I didnt get lost – but when you try and find an accurate plotting of the actual parret trail, nothing compares to the route itself! I referenced 3 sources to plot my route, yet still in many place it was just incorrect. The map below references the actual route.
I went really wrong just the once, and it definitely cost me a couple of minutes. Thankfully many others went more wrong than me! I finished in 6th position, but happily, I was the first finisher from my club out of the four teams we entered! So I was very pleased with that.
The leg itself was pancake flat, following the banks of the Parret. But some of the ground underfoot was treacherous. I nearly rolled my ankle, nearly twisted my knee, and ran through some horrific mud and puddles. My lovely Asics were covered in mud by the end! But it serves me right, I should have wore my trail shoes!
It was a completely different experience for me. My last race was Bristol Half with 11,000 odd people and this one had just 17 teams. SO I was in a race with just 20 people. It was most bizarre. I got chatting to a nice guy called Dan from Maiden Newton Runners toward the latter part of the race, but as it was a race I put a good kick in toward the end to nudge him out by 5 seconds or so.
I’d definitely have a go next year though, and would recommend it. It was a FREE event, and had a goody bag of water, banana, chocolate and a commemorative mug!
Thanks to Crewkerne Running Club for organising it.