Man Vs Girl & Daisy, Windmill Hill, Brutal 10K
So as my working week drifted by my excitement grew, Saturday was my first Brutal 10km run at Windmill Hill, Deepcut. Friday afternoon, my phone goes off with plans to be picked up at 0730 am. Right work finished home to pack, relax, set my alarm for 0630 and bed.
Race day arrives, nothing like the buzz of a race day especially when it’s a new race and you’re not really sure what to expect, Jo was picking me up at 0730 with speedy Daisy. As you can all imagine, 0730 went by no sign of Jo, 0735, 0740….Has she forgotten me? 0745 BEEP BEEP BEEP BEEP here she is and pretty content on waking up all of Westcliff and we are off.
Brutal races are a run series made up of mainly 10km off road runs with a few endurance races thrown in for good measure and are billed as “ they will make you wish you never took up exercise, and only use natural obstacles such as hills, steep hills and flat hills and some water features and yep some more hills” As you will discover later the term water feature is very very lose. This event was held in an Army base just outside Deepcut, Surrey.
So after nearly 2 hours of driving and a couple of toilet stops we arrive at the well signed posted venue, parked up and got ready. Nerves, not a chance, there was no time to get nervous we had 10 minutes to get sorted and to the start line. Number collection was easy, find your name on a sheet of paper, and get your race number simple. I could of just as easily got someone else to run this for me too and pretend to be me.
So we picked up our numbers from the really helpful staff and with Daisy shaking with nerves, to a ladies voice saying to Jo, get your skates on you’re off in a minute. The canicross group were set off about 10 minutes before the main field and I was shocked on how popular running with Dogs is!! Go Go Go the Canicross group were off with Daisy wanting to drag Jo in every other direction than forward. So off I went with a chuckle with Jo’s words ringing in my ears of “are you going to try and catch us?” She was convinced I would, I certainly wasn’t. How is that possible 10 minutes head start? But lets face it was going to try.
The main field gathered, about 600 people for the safety briefing and warm up, which was all a bit weird and included some star jumps, sprinting on the spot and roaring at everyone. Also did they not really care what happened to the canicross lot? Do they not need a safety briefing or a warm up? After all we were running round Army barracks with live firing ranges everywhere. Oh well. It was our turn to go.
The course was a well signposted one lap 10 km trail race that starts off as per every other trail race starts, jostling for position with some elbows out I picked off a fair few people of a flat fast start. One day I will start nearer the front. So I had two or three aims for today, enjoy it, stay on my feet and if I didn’t just don’t fall over in front of a camera and potentially try and catch Jo and Daisy. The first 3km were fairly fast and more undulating than hilly, how brutal is this race I thought? Not very. The track was fairly narrow so limited space for over taking made even more difficult by some people really insisting on dodging the mud. Then the first hill, oh its down hill great easy. Then you guessed it, someone clipped my heel and I fell over damn it, part one fail. I recovered to look up and saw the first uphill, I got up it and thought that was ok, but then they just kept coming one after another. Half way point I felt ok, where is the water feature? Then I heard girls screaming and shouting and as I came round the bend there is the water feature. For reference feature its not, river crossing it was, chest high river crossing too and it was freezing, like take your breath away freezing and there was three of them back to back, the second one was easier to swim, so using my new found enjoyment of swimming and the fact I’m 5”8 I just swam. Just to add I was later to find out Jo went round them!! So we got through them and I still had 4km to go of yes more hills and hills that were just impossible to run up, in fact scrambling up them hands and knees was the best option. I started to now pick off some canicross guys. Where are they? Maybe I can catch them? The last 1km then was flat and fast and covered the beginning of the course again and as I came round the finish line there was Jo with Daisy shouting at me to hurry up, I obviously had no chance and they’d finished 10 minutes before me.
The event itself was really friendly, well organised and had a very good buzz about it, the course was great, well signposted and challenging and made better by it being one lap so no need to repeat any part of the course. The only thing I thought was a little strange is the canicross guys seemed a little bit of an after thought (or before thought to be fair) and weren’t included in all the pre race safety stuff and weirdness, maybe that was a good thing there was a fair few people there and Daisy would of hated it. I’m not too sure they were that worried anyway.
After chatting with a few people we headed off home and for the first minutes of the journey being gloated at for being beat, but I didn’t, 56.33 plays 57.04 but lets face it though it’s not about the time on runs like that it’s about the enjoyment of running and boy I did really enjoy it.
What I learnt at this race, my balance is dreadful, I need to turn my auto stop off my watch, to tell people that your over taking them, people that run with dogs are fast and of my three aims, I completed one which was to have fun.
Would I do it again, yep in fact I’m booked in already.