Third Time Lucky at the Third Trailscape Series as Flyer finishes First Female!
The Tailrunner branch of the Southend Flyers are not having much luck in terms of getting to run together. The winter has been marred by injuries of our leaders Amanda and Diesel and terrible weather has meant that our local ‘trail’ at Belfairs has been off limits for several weeks now.
The third of the Trail to Rail series this Saturday saw Amanda pull out (too soon after injury) and Emily Spray out of action. It was touch and go for me; although I managed a comfortable 5 miles on Friday evening, I’ve been suffering with knee pain since the 12 miles of Rayleigh Hills. I paid a visit to an old friend (Southend United Physiotherapist, Ben Clarkson) on the Friday evening at his Matchfit Physiotherapy Clinic at Elite Fitness. He confirmed as I thought, that it was just a case of pushing things too far too soon, but otherwise I was in ‘good shape’ and clearly following a good programme (Thanks Keith!). He put some tape on to provide a little extra support with the trail the next day.
I got up early, tucked into my ‘Grape Nuts’ as recommended by Rich Pryor after his crazy unplanned marathon a few weeks ago, and headed off to Kent. The roads were eerily quiet and I was wondering if my sleep walking habits had extended to sleep driving! I turned up in time to see the half marathoners off. And then I waited for Josanne and Daisy. And I waited. And waited. It was now 11.15am and we were all heading in for the pre-race safety briefing. Where were they? Suddenly they came tearing up the hill! ‘God I feel dreadful!’ shouted Josanne. ‘Hung over?’ I replied having witnessed her and Emily Sprays drinking capacity at my Christmas party! ‘No just a bug!’. Josanne ran round trying to find the drop in for her tescos bag for life she was dragging around and then, after an almost identical briefing to that I had heard an hour before, we were ready for the off.
There were a number of fellow canicross runners at the event, and as per instruction, we started at the back. There was a lady with 2 very excited dogs who I tried to cautiously keep my distance from, but she ushered me forward. The start was much wider than that at Cuxton, which was pleasing. The start of cuxton had been single file and it meant my first mile was over 16 minutes!! As the race got underway Josanne and Daisy ran off into the distance, over taking pretty much everyone. They were rapid. The two excited dogs however were lunging straight towards me, and as I stepped aside on the gravel to let them past I felt a clunk. ‘Oh that hurt! Oh, my knee’. Right there and then I should have probably retired (without so much of 0.01 miles on the tomtom!) but I didn’t. As the 2 dogs zoomed passed me they then knocked a lady in her 70s to the floor, ripping her jacket and cutting her hand and they ran on.
I ran for as far as pain would allow and would walk. Then I would start again. It gave me an average pace of around 14 minutes, which given the hills and the pain in my knee wasn’t too bad. About a mile in there was a fallen tree to climb over. I was thankful that Rafa is an expert at climbing over baby gates; there were a lot of farm gates! And little slippery bridges. When I climbed over the tree trunk there was a large open field. The pink jacket of Josanne was nowhere to be seen. I knew at this point she was on for another outstanding performance. However, the ground was more like a shallow muddy pond than a field- at one point the mud was up to Rafas belly! One man in an Aston Villa shirt nearly took me out with a sliding tackle down a hill worthy of the premiership! At the 3 mile point we had to cross a road, which went over to a beautiful road run through some farmland. ‘Thank goodness’ I thought, as the twisting and turning of the wading through mud was killing my knee. But the hard road was just as unkind. I really felt like crying at that point! But I kept on, and a small rain shower came down, making the already muddy fields even worse!
When I finally made it back (and there was the most brutal of hills just before the end which Josanne admitted she had to walk some of so what chance did I have?!) Josanne and Daisy were waiting. And they had been waiting so long poor Daisy was shaking with the cold!
We went inside and I saw the times; I misread it and thought Josanne was second lady in 6th place. ‘Well done Josanne! You were second lady!’ I beamed with excitement. ‘Oh, I thought I was first?!’ I looked again ‘Oh yeah! Oh my god! That’s amazing!!’.
Then I spotted the trophy. ‘Oh my god you are going to get a trophy!!! Oh my god that’s so exciting! Oh my god!!!’. Josanne had to tell me to sssh, and that I was like an embarrassing proud mum! But I was really proud of our girl! The conditions were awful. I don’t know how she managed to get in that quick! A speed boat perhaps?!
I then saw the elderly lady who had been knocked over at the beginning. Her cut hand looked nasty. Sadly she said ‘she didn’t even stop to apologise or help, its things like that which make non-dog runners want dogs banned from running events’. It was a sad closure to the day, but wasn’t going to let anything take away that excitement for Josanne. What a result for her. She was only 4 minutes off winning too! Maybe overall win will be hers in the final race of the series in Buckinghamshire in February. And maybe we will have Emily and Amanda back too.