Once again your intrepid club mates ventured off the beaten track to another White Star Running event on the Dorset/Wiltshire border. This time the Sunday Chase Half Marathon, an out and back route starting in the village of Six Penny Handy, the home of Chase ciders tap room.
It’s worth mentioning that the previous day was the Chase Marathon, and Strava plots of 29.5 miles looked the norm, and the WSR ish distances looked a bit further out than normal, and our Langport second claim Mike Norton had a fab day, enjoyed some time in the love station whilst out in some pretty grim weather, so well done to him!
Anyway..during the race brief Race Director Andy Palmer announced a 22.5km half marathon route… no worries we can cope with that!
The BHAMily in attendance for the half was a replay of the Crafty Fox a few weeks earlier, Mark King, Lou and Will Irvine and myself Neil. After hiding in the village hall from the rain, and a race brief from Andy, we lined up on the road outside for the off!
With the instruction of stay going ahead ringing in our heads we were off.. unfortunately the marshal on the first turn had missed the memo… half a km up the road a support truck screamed past to turn us around… oh well that’ll be another bonus kilometre.
For a short time, Lou and I were ahead of Mark and Will, but they soon overtook us as we set of up the first footpath out of the village, trying to keep my pace up a little but gradually seeing the boys ease away from me. After some nice farm track, we hit a mile of road before climbing up into the woods, and popping out on the top of the Ox droves, an aid station and a pretty steady 5k or so along the drove before a right turn, that I managed to get to before the leaders of the race were on the way back which is always good! This took us into the outskirts of Berwick St John, before climbing back out the village through some more woodland… getting lost once again for a few hundred metres in the woods (a sign or a follow the path to the right at the log from the previous marshal may of helped) and then a good muddy uphill slog to get back on the drove.
The infamous Love Station was back on the top of the drove, a little lack lustre in the miserable weather, I just bypassed and got back on the drove, had a squeeze of ginger drink and a sweet and set off back!
I really enjoyed the return journey, the rain had started again and my feet were already wet, so no more dancing around the puddles, plough on through! The woods were even more fun on the way down, loads of routes and low branches to duck and dive on a great flowing bit of single track.
I hit the road again just before the half marathon distance, and the tarmac was definitely not my friend and my calves gave me a bit of a bollocking for wearing Trail shoes! Returning to the trails alongside a few ploughed fields dropped us back into the race car park, HQ and finish area and a 23.9km distance total. As expected from WSR a fab bit of bling, a bottle of Piddles beer and a flap jack was our reward.
Mark and Will had been back for 50 and 40 minutes respectively, and had wandered of to buy coffee and chocolate cake and missed me getting back, but we regrouped in warm clothes and umbrellas waiting for Lou to get back a bit later on.
All in all a great day out, not a hard route by WSR standards, and a few minor marshalling errors didn’t dampen a damp day out in the sticks!
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Good Photos by Rob (Dirty Bertie) Hannam
Post race note.. one of our fellow runners suffered a cardiac incident early in the race, with two regular WSRers jumping in to deliver CPR, the onsite paramedics getting to him quick and getting the chap off to hospital meant he survived and is recovering in hospital. Puts a few extra Km’s into perspective… get well fella!