Saturday, 28 November 2015

Run, Forest, Run

Getting my feet wet at the river jump
The River 'Jump', Run Forest Run, November 2015
It feels as though I've been building up to this for ever, because it has been a year since the idea of taking part in this event occurred to me. A year ago I was part of the support team, serving bacon butties and cake to around 40 runners who had run 5k from the village of Chiddingfold to a nearby bit of woodland, then gone round an obstacle course before running 5k back to the start. This event was named 'Run, Forest, Run' which is a reference to the classic movie Forrest Gump - you'll have to look it up if you haven't seen the film. At that time, as you can read in my contemporaneous report, I dismissed the idea almost immediately.

Run Director Bruce
and Timekeeper Freya
Back then I hadn't been running for very long, but as I continued to surprise myself by keeping up with the running program I decided it would be a challenging but achievable target to work up to. Also, because the organisers are my friends, it would be less daunting than a public event run by strangers. So at the weekend I packed a wide range of clothes to address as many types of weather as I could imagine, and took myself down to Surrey (stopping en route for a quick visit to mum and dad, who are remarkably well at the moment).

Lola II and Mr M were there too - naively I thought it was for the social aspect and as a public-spirited gesture to our organising friends. In fact, I found out it was only in order to support me, so I am very grateful. They were allocated marshalling duties in the forest obstacle course at the log pickup and deposit.

Log pickup marshal Lola II

Race Relations Officer Mr M
The weather this autumn has been unseasonably mild - until the weekend arrived and forecasts were for plummeting temperatures. Knowing how Lola II fares in the cold (hint - not very well) I was slightly concerned for her, and also for myself, not wanting to freeze during the running either. In the end we were both fine, and it was the mud rather than the cold that slowed me down. Although it didn't actually rain, the going was 'soft' underfoot. At the point where the mud came over the top of my shoes I decided that I would focus on remaining upright rather than clocking a fast time.

The Forest Marshalling Team
So now I've done a competitive 10k plus obstacle course race, and in fact my time was perfectly decent especially taking into account the sections where it was so slippery that I could barely walk let alone run. We had a good laugh about the obstacles afterwards - my short stature put me at a significant disadvantage when it came to climbing over bars and jumping across streams. I'm planning to carry on running, but I think I'll stick to 5k Parkruns for the time being.

Me and my log in the forest

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