As my pre-London longest run I decided that Cranleigh 21 seemed a good idea and duly entered a couple of months ago. What I didn’t realise at the time was that, not only was it Mother’s Day (ah well a Mother’s Day treat to myself – 21 miles of peace and quiet!), but it was also the start of British Summer Time so a nice 9am start was actually an 8am start (ah well it’s good to get these things over with). Being the start of British Summer Time the weather didn’t disappoint – a lovely warm sunny morning. Good job I remembered my sunglasses but not so good that I didn’t think to put any sun cream on – who’d have thought it would have been necessary in March!
The event itself starts in Cranleigh, a large village in the Surrey Hills. The course is made up of 1 lap of a 9 mile loop followed by 1 or 2 laps of a 6 mile loop depending on whether you are doing the full 21 miles or the shorter 15 mile option. I don’t normally like doing laps but actually found that I quite liked this format – once the 9 mile loop was finished 2 laps of 6 miles seemed quite manageable. The route was on nice quiet country lanes with a couple of short stretches along a main road. Apart from these bits there were very few cars so it was nice and peaceful and fairly flat.
I wasn’t sure if anyone else from Sandhurst was running but at the start I bumped into Lisa Hale so it was nice to have someone to chat to before we started. It was a very low key start and I didn’t actually realise we were off until everyone started shuffling forwards. It is a relatively small event so, despite being fairly far back, it didn’t take long for everyone to spread out and I was soon able to settle into a comfortable pace. I found I was running a bit faster than I had planned but it felt fairly comfortable so I decided to stick with it hoping that my legs wouldn’t blow up. Luckily they didn’t and on my second 6 mile loop I started overtaking people still on their first which was good for motivation.
Overall I thought this was a really lovely event with nice quiet roads and nice scenery – a perfect pre-London event. I would definitely do it again.
Ed: Modest as ever, Helen finished in a fantastic time of 2:40:28 for 71st position overall out of 349 finishers. 15th Woman and 6th in her age group. A fantastic performance to set her up for London in a few weeks time. Not bad for a long training run!