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Max Woods keeps seeking out those magical yet challenging events – how about a trail marathon on the North Wessex Downs?

Today I have earnt this, it is my right and nobody is going to deprive me of it! It is cider – that constitutes at least one portion of fruit, so it must be good for me. In any case apples are known to be good for your lungs.

I have just got back from a fabulous day out, running a trail marathon in the North Wessex downs, starting and finishing at Pewsey scout hut.
I have to say that the variety of scenery in this country never ceases to amaze me. The area is just gently rolling green hills and escarpments, with some cracking running in between the few gut busting climbs that conspire to keep things interesting.
The route was pretty much all off road, and bracketed quite a few of the famous features of the area- Giants Grave, Wansdyke, The Alton Barnes Chalk Horse, Avebury Stone Circle and Overton Hill.
The weather was out of this world, clear skies, excellent visibility and bright sun all day. The temperatures were unseasonably warm – 15 degrees by 9 o clock and hitting 25 degrees by the time we finished. Fortunately an early start and a cool easterly breeze kept things manageable, but I could not pour the fluid in fast enough, and was very nearly tempted into several hostelries en route for refreshment. Only the small matter of time targets and a fellow runner hard on my heels kept me in abstinence, but I ended up fantasising about cold cider for the rest of the route.

Max's cider
I made the very wise choice to wear road shoes – the ground was like iron, and I needed all the cushioning I could get; come the end I had just one small blister – I was unable to get my feet wet anywhere to keep them cool. I managed my pacing strategy reasonably well, keeping to 10 minute miles, even early on when fresh, and managed to delay the inevitable ‘fade’ until about mile 25, when a relentless and uninspirational section of canal towpath got right inside my head, and all my circuit breakers pooped. Having held off my challenger for about 15 miles I caved in and let him pass, with not so much as a whimper. Still I was very happy with a 3rd place in 4 hours 36.

I can confirm that the prescribed anaesthetic tastes like cold cider!!


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