I decided to enter this as part of my marathon training, something different and I knew the scenery would be nice. This is an annual event which changes direction each year, this year it was from Windsor to Marlow along the riverside paths, with a few deviations.
I decided to drive to Marlow and leave my car at the finish and take advantage of the bus transport to the start £8.00 but well worth it and since I arrived at Marlow Rugby Ground at 07:45hrs was on the first bus to Windsor.
We arrived at Windsor with plenty of time to spare since we were starting in waves, albeit 5 minutes apart and I was in wave number 2 at 10:05 so lots of sitting around, it was a lovely morning and starting to get warmer. Since not many people were at the start toilet queues were non-existent and there was tea, coffee and snacks for sale, also a baggage truck (well a van really).
As I was wandering about I happened to notice a girl in a Sandhurst Joggers hoodie, so I approached her and asked if she was an SJ member and what her name was, turned out it was none other than THE Claire Rowse, who’s race reports and endeavors I had read about on the SJ Facebook page, so we had a chat whilst waiting for the start of the race, Claire and I were both in the second wave.
I had a bit of a problem with my right calf, prior to this race, but decided I would see how it went, nothing to prove and I do not like trail running, so nothing to lose.
Off we went at 10:05 on the dot and quickly started along the river path towards Marlow.
The weather did indeed warm up, pretty quickly, but when off-road there were bits of shelter from the trees, but other long spells where it was pretty exposed, Claire had shot off by this time as I said I wanted to take the first few miles steady to test my leg. I ambled along behind a girl for ages, she overtook me, then I went by her and on it went until we hit a stretch of road, it was my eureka moment, she didn’t see me for dust, there was plenty of that around, with 5 water stops and marshals situated at the road crossings, and bridges (yes stairs up and down) Purple Patch runners had done a really good job.
By this time my leg was starting to hurt, but I decided sod it! Just ignore it keep on running, which is what I did, then I realised it was not getting any worse, so whatever it is cannot be that serious.
The final couple of miles were through open fields, which were pretty rutted they were so dry and very exposed to the sun, which was scorching now, but we were nearing the finish so I got a bit of a spurt on to see if I could finish in under 2 hours, as a ran past a lad with “bins” on he looked horrified (not only was I of the female persuasion, but I was ancient) so he starting trying to catch me. I let him reach my shoulder then put another spurt on and he tried so come at me again so repeated the process, can I just remind people who run in head-phones when you speak it is louder than you think!
With a final 100m sprint that Usain would be proud of I made it in 1.59.33 and as I was crossing the line the announcer said “Alison Jones who wins the F60 category” I just hope that poor lad I beat did not hear this!
Although I do not really like trail races, I would do this one again, great organisation, lovely scenery and definitely one for many more SJ’s next year, almost on our doorstop.