Friday, 20 January 2017

The Ox Trail Marathon - Hills, mud, hills, rain and more mud..

This was my second encounter with White Star Running (WSR), and it was going to be a long day.  It had rained, was still raining and the fields, paths and particularly the hills were very muddy.

I drove down with Dave Warren and we quickly prepared ourselves for the race.  As usual Andy Palmer's pre-race brief was lightly informative and extremely funny. 

WSR race briefs are not to be missed!!

Ready for the "off" with Dave.
Remember that race strategy of not going out too fast, yea that.  Anyway by mile two I had steadied my pace and found myself running alongside Claire.  Turns out she had made the same initial error of following the pack.  We chatted and decided we ran the same pace.

As with many WSR the route twisted and turned around the surrounding countryside, using segments from their other races.  The hills seemed relentless, the mud more so.  The hill at 7 1/2 miles continued to climb for 2 miles.  We continued to chat and dragged each other up the hills and to pick up the pace on the flat.

With Claire - dragging each other around
At one low point in the race we were slipping every other step up a hill when I heard a woodpecker, my heart lifted and I remembered why I loved trail running over countless miles on road.

We stopped at the "Love Station" and filled our faces with water melon, flapjacks, cider and a shot of pear brandy.  We set off again with a few less cares.

At 22 miles the climb was serve, the mud made the going extra hard as we ended up slipping back a step for every few taken.  The last mile was also almost a constant climb.

Race over, I was glad I hadn't attempted the ultra.  I'll be back again Ox - I'll better that awful next time.
To the hills!

The bling!!
Shoes - Altra Lone Peak 1.5
Vest - Ultimate Direction SJ with soft flasks
DRC buff

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