Sadly due to being injured I couldn’t run the Cheddar on Sunday, I had major feelings of guilt as the run had been my idea and she’d agreed to join me.
We travelled down with her mum and aunt as a girly weekend away that just happened to have a run on the Sunday morning. Unfortunately the traffic was horrendous and despite setting off from London at around 10:30 we didn’t arrive at our B+B until about 5pm! We’d picked where we were staying on the grounds that it had room for us, was cheap and had a pub near by – as it turned out it was a great pick. I’ve tried to work out who I booked it through, but can’t remember now! http://www.accommodationzone.co.uk/profiles/25301/EbborwaysFarmBedandBreakfast-Wells-Somerset.html
Either way we had a lovely warm welcome – which was great as it was pouring with rain and already getting dark. Shown to our rooms which were ‘country cottage’ rather than ’boutique’ Nikki and I got to share a double bed with a beautiful pink quilted duvet cover (I love pink) where as the ladies were across the hall in the blue room.
The owner was kind enough to phone the pub and book us a table and recommend the pie for dinner and what a recommendation!! The portions were MASSIVE at least enough for 2 people and the pie was AMAZING – beef and ale – go if ever you’re passing! http://butcombe.com/pubs_queen_vic.shtml
Quite how we also managed to eat a full cooked breakfast in the morning I’m not sure (although Nikki stuck to scrambled eggs on toast) but it was a good job we did!
The run was very well organised and although what followed was a shock, if we’d read our details more thoroughly and thought things through a little better it would have been no surprise…..
You had to go into Cheddar to collect your running number and then it was a 10-20minute walk up hill to the start….. (this should have been our first point of concern…….)
When they said ‘up hill’ they weren’t joking and if we’d have thought it through (and looked at the map) we were walking to the top of the Gorge….. a very steep hill not helped by its muddiness and the rain that morning. If you look on the blog post below you can see how steep it was
I was proper sweating at the top, it was dripping off my face! There was even a drinks station there!!
There was a half marathon, marathon, 5km and 10km race as part of the day, quite a few runners for each category, it seemed to be a mix of gnarly runners who were experienced at this type of thing and then the nervous ones who were wondering why they’d agreed to do this
The half marathoners headed off first, but we stayed and cheered the others on their way – having made the walk up there we were determined to make the most of it, so we went for a walk along the Gorge which turned out to be the reverse of all the running routes and got to cheer the runners when they were a mile away from home (or for the marathoners doing 2 laps, a mile from half way) and for added excitement had to make sure we were keeping out of their way as they bounded along
Walking up to the start you got to hear people chatting about the route and what to expect – there was a lot of chat about ‘the steps’. We came across the top end of The Steps and discovered disheartened souls who looked like really all they wanted to do was sit down and admit defeat, everyone we saw coming up was walking. But we didn’t allow them to give up so we cheered them along promising that they were at the top or as we walked down the way they came that they were getting close to the top – I think our efforts were mostly appreciated…… The photos don’t convey the steepness or the soul sappingness of the climb – it was hot and sunny with no shade (was feeling sooooo guilty at this point)
When we could see no more runners to cheer we headed back towards the start (we felt guilty to turn our backs on someone we could see coming) and then back down the steep slope to where the finish was – the poor marathon runners had to run up the steep slope we’d all walked up to reach the start, again they were all walking, gave us time to have a natter to everyone we passed!!
The finish was in a grassy area that overlooked the village – the finish line was up a slope with the top bit being super slopy – you had to give it a good run up to get to the stop – so mean
We knew when we were expecting to see Nikki, but nearly missed her as we were looking for her on her own, but it should have been no surprise to spot her running with 2 other girls she’d met along the way
Now, if you go back to the link to the other blog where I said it showed how steep the path to the top was – take another look at the photo – the girl with the purple rucksack – that’s me!! and Nikki is just ahead with a blue coat on. How spooky is that? They walked up the path behind us and then met in the race!!
Needless to say I am so proud of my friend, very sad not to have been able to run with her and so glad she made it round in one piece and still with a smile on her face