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 http://www.codrc.co.uk 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.

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