Little Round Lionheart

Longleat 10k – Longleat, Wiltshire: Race Review
Date: 7th February 2016
Start Time: 9am
Course, surface and environment: Chip timed multi-lap through the stunning Longleat estate in dampest, stormiest Wiltshire. Catering is one table, roughly halfway, with bottled water.
Ins and outs: The safari park and attractions were open, due to the Chinese New Year celebrations the previous evening, but were pretty quiet, due to Storm Imogen passing over the night before. Leading to damp and twig-strewn conditions.
Atmosphere: A bit chaotic, without the inflatable start gate as the organisers had been unable to set up the night before, due to the storm. But we all went off, after a shorty delay to allow those in the traffic queue to get parked up and make their way to the start line in front of the spectacular Longleat House.
Runners: smallish, typical of the event at around 250-300
Goodie Bag: TBC, they’d run out by the time I finished but took my race number and offered to post one to me, which was sweet of them. I heard rumours of chocolate from the other runners, so I’m looking forward to finding out (who gets chocolate in the post anymore?!?).
Bling: It’s all about the bling – the coveted Lion’s Head medal on a blue ribbon
Roundie performance: slow and steady with some walking on the steepest hill (all but the super-fit walked as it was basically a 1 in 5 steepening to a 1 in 3 climb), faster than expected but slow for me. Overall – relieved to do as well as I did after a week of horrendous lactic acid poisoning
What the Bear got up to: Cheering on the runners, taking lots of photos of the gorgeous Chinese New Year decorations and generally thinking about brunch
What I learnt: Lactic acid poisoning exists and gives you the most rotten tummy for a week, but you do recover and can run again if you just rest enough and drink enough water.
Ostriches will chase you and hiss like snakes, even if you’re just running alongside their field on the opposite side of a fence. This is because they are big, angry, territorial pinheads. Very funny.
Happy Chinese New Year – have a great year of the Monkey


Hilly Holly Puddle all the Day

Winter Holly Challenge – Telford, Race Review
Date: 30th January 2016
Start Time: a Civilised 10am
Course, surface and environment: Multi-lap through the glorious Shropshire countryside with a card which they punch as you go through the start/finish area, 16 laps for a half marathon, with a bell to ring to announce that you’re starting your last lap. You do your own timing (everyone has a Garmin or similar these days it seems) and they lay on the route and the catering, simple.
Ins and outs: Hot drinks available to buy whilst you’re hanging around, one portaloo, with paper and hand sanitiser, fine for the number of runners (just flush before and after using don’t look down the hole)
Atmosphere: jolly and friendly. It was damp and chilly at the start
Runners: a small field, not more than fifty, marathon and half marathon runners together. A jolly bunch, very friendly, simply too many nice people to list who offered encouragement as they streamed past me but the Kenilworth and Shabba club runners were very quick to say “well done lady” and “keep going, you’re doing great”. I’ve done a few races now and I have to say that the supportive atmosphere really helps to keep you going. Especially when you’re hurting and actually just fancy having a good cry. Really great atmosphere.
Goodie Bag: Two 9Bars: pumpkin and carob (hungrily munched) and a bag of chocolate coins
Bling: It’s all about the bling – a huge, good quality custom medal with Holly Challenge on it, depicting a barbecue and some beers, with black ribbon
Roundie performance: slow and steady with plenty of “training needs” identified
What the Bear got up to: my other half is a people person, friendly and sweet natured and loves a good giggle. So he ended up helping with the marshalling by clicking the cards and cheering the runners on by name.
What I learnt: I really love the smaller, local, friendly races in the countryside. A jolly and supportive atmosphere makes the race and the complete absence of negatrons (negative runners with misery guts attitudes) meant that this was a cheering and life enriching experience.