2nd Season Syndrome for Trailscape and comes back even better

So I’m sure you all know the race weekend drill by now, or at least the people that have read my reports before will. I get told where to meet Jo, what I need to get for her, calm her race week nerves, me getting excited about race weekend blah blah blah….Well NOT this time. I get a text Thursday from Jo stating she is really looking forward to Trailscapes first race of their series and what time should we meet, this alone was enough to throw me off my work for at least an hour. Where is Jo? What has this person done with her? she’s excited, and I’m nervous. My nerves though are all my own doing.

Trailscape is back for its 2nd Rail to trail series and has three disciplines, 10k, Half Marathon and full Marathon, Jo was booked into the 10k but after a successful and enjoyable Saltmarsh Half marathon she upped the distance to the Half Marathon. I on the other hand was already in the Half. Ah Cute she must want to run with me. Ha ha not a chance, my nerves came because I had looked at last years winning time of 1hr 46mins, I thought I could go for the win, after all I was comfortably running 18/20 miles and going through 13 miles in 1hr 45mins on training runs.

Friday night, I get another text from Jo blaming me for a 6am alarm, my reply being the gent I am, set it later we can leave a little later, nope you are in charge….Right now I’m really getting concerned with this person pretending to be Jo.   Anyway after a late night at a friends playing the picking up the cereal box with your mouth (wish I took up yoga by now) my alarm goes off, Jo’s text me after being convinced she was being burgled the previous night and she’s had no sleep and she will be with me in 20 mins after dropping Fat Head off at Nans, (That’s George and Nan is Jo’s Mum) and we are off Daisy in the back looking as ready to go as ever…ASLEEP.

The first race is in a Northern (I think) Essex town called Newport, seemed really nice very peaceful and not to hilly and we park up and arrive at the little town hall, with loads of friendly looking people with a great trail running atmosphere but oh, there looks like some serious fast people here, we register and I message a few of the flyers lot advising of the fast looking people, to be reassured by Sean that people may look fast doesn’t mean they are. They probably just earn loads of money. I then took a call from Scotty whilst trying to hold Daisy, Pin my number on and talk, Scotty for his credit had busted his foot and was on the way to a meeting but took time out to call and wish us both luck. We then saw a few of the Canicross crew, headed for the briefing and the start. I must say at that point I really noticed how much work had gone into the organisation and wow everyone was super friendly.

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1030 and the race was starting but the Canicrossers had to start 5 minutes behind. We were off. The race headed out of the town straight over a bridge and then into the countryside and round some open field and up hill but was good you could see your position and I was already in 12th and yeah them fast looking people…They were fast. The course headed in and out of woodland, fields, across some roads, through public footpaths and farmers vehicle paths so it was really varied and nice and hilly but nothing to major but I was finding it tough going today. Probably because my taper run on Thursday with Elliot and Matibini descended into a 7.09 min/last mile. I started picking a few people off by just running straight through puddles. It still amazes me why people dodge puddles on a trail race; maybe it’s the big kid in me still.

The course was a Half Marathon loop that cut across for the 10k run and if you were doing the Full Marathon you just do double.   If I’m honest I never really settled in today at 10 miles I wasn’t planning to either it got a bit tough under foot, sticky clay kind of mud then bang at 11.5 miles a huge hill, thanks. I walked, later to find out as did everyone else.   Then as you come back down the hill you head back into the village and crossed the line. The course was really well marked out with hanging tape on the trees, arrows for the right way and if it was at a cross roads there would be an X, simple. It was well marshalled but obviously know crowd which is normal on a trail run.

After the race I went and picked up all my gear, my race goodies, a medal and a t shirt. The T shirt I can confirm is really good, the medal is even better, it forms part of a bigger medal that joins together when you complete the series, great great idea. As I head back out Amanda comes smashing through the finish line with Diesel for her 10K, which I believe was 1st Lady and Canicrosser, then Jo comes through, 3rd Lady overall in the half and only by about 4 seconds and first Canicrosser. Great results.

All done we potter about for a bit really soaking up the environment and we see some other Flyers which we didn’t see at the beginning as the 10k started later, Lucy and Elizabeth who both had huge smiles on their faces. I then nearly pass out and get forced to eat the worst veggie burger every, Kale RANK!!! Tip for organisers maybe a real burger van too????

I’ll cut it short on wrap up, no such issues with 2nd season syndrome, I have it on good authority it was better than last year and last year was good. People had come back and spread the word and they way they are going it will get bigger and bigger. A friendly team, really really well marshalled and marked out.

Will I be back for Cuxton on 5th December, I’m already booked into the Marathon. If you like running off road, get booked in.

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