I’ve fancied running the Adderbury Three Spires trail half for a few years now but after suffering a lot of arm pain during the back end of Otmoor I think 13 miles is just too long for comfort at the moment, however slow I run it. So spotting that fellow VRUK member Sarah had entered the 10k version I submitted a late entry and 9am Saturday morning was to be found driving down a farm track to the allocated parking on what promised to be another blazing hot day. I was knackered as usual with maybe five hours sleep if you add the bits up and an extra dose of ibuprofen to shut my arm up so I could enjoy the run – nothing new there then 🙁
The farmer asked that we line the cars up in just half the field so there was plenty of room left for the sheep we were sharing with, I notice he’d left them the shady half – good man. We cut through down the side of a house and then crossed the road to follow signs to the start. I kept my eyes on the couple up ahead which maybe wasn’t the best idea as we ended up somewhat lost. After a bit, guided by the sound of race preparations, four of us followed a narrow path over a disused railway embankment and found ourselves at the wrong end of the start field. Youth races were already in motion and already warm runners queuing to collect their numbers, I grabbed mine then sat about on the grass till I caught sight of another Vegan Runners vest and introduced myself to Sarah. As we were chatting one of the half marathoners came and said hello – also vegan but running for Witney Road Runners.
Sarah said she hoped to get under the hour, I made the usual excuses about bad arm, lack of sleep, lack of training and lined up right near the back. We all set off together with the half runners doing a lap of the field but us lot heading straight for the exit at the other end of the field. I positioned myself right near the back so I wouldn’t get dragged along in the heat.
As usual I’d done my homework and checked the route profile based on a route gpx I’d downloaded so was expecting small hill at 1.5 miles, bigger bump at 2.5 then another small one about 5. Unfortunately the route had been changed rather late in proceedings due to some other event so instead we had gently rolling on farm and field tracks after we’d left Adderbury with a visit to Bloxham about halfway. It was nice but I’d no idea where I was going 🙂
It was really, very hot. I was glad it was a morning event and even gladder I wasn’t attempting the half marathon. I passed a few early on and was passed by many of the half marathoners as they caught us. What with stiles and gates and narrow paths it was never going to be a fast course which suited me fine. There was water after a couple of kilometres and I made sure a full cup went down, more water at Bodicote by which time some around me were noticeably wilting and I was quite glad I was obliged to take it easy. We joked with the marshals that the queue to cross a stile was really just an excuse to have a walk in the shade. Glancing at my Garmin showing time of day only it seemed from the distance markers that I was 10 minute miling or thereabouts which was fine by me.
Around mile 5 I took a short walk in the shade as I was beginning to feel just a little faint and sick. I was yoyoing with a couple of walk/run guys and I think we were all keeping our eye out for each other in case there was any serious heat problems. Fortunately I didn’t see any. I wasn’t expecting more water but really appreciated it when it arrived near where we split from the half marathoners. Nearly done and glad of it we passed a gang armed with powerful water guns and three good squirts left me dripping and in much better condition for a not too slow finish.
Back through Adderbury, no idea where I was heading, it did seem to be going on a bit. Then a marshal says next left and your on the finish field. I heard footsteps behind and felt an unusual urge to speed up a bit and hang onto my position. A bottle of water handed to me as soon as I crossed the line, a medal (which I had to untangle from the bunch as the young lad was struggling to separate them). I was pointed to the goodie bags which contained more water, a welcome banana and an interesting water bag type thing. I’d enjoyed myself and didn’t feel too overheated as I sat and drank my water. Someone asked me what distance I made it and I realised I’d not bother to check the Garmin so saved the run and the data suggested a bit over 6.6 miles in agreement with other runners so we’d had a bit extra at no additional cost. Got lost trying to find my way back to the car afterwards but it was a nice day for an extra tour of Adderbury.
I was surprised to find my 1:04:07 had got me 33rd of 76 runners, I think this probably reflected my coping with the exceptional heat better than some as I’m not able to run flat out. Sarah was much more impressive, 4th lady and 10th overall. I must return and run the half marathon sometime – a great local event and very impressed with how well Adderbury Running Club kept us comfortable in that heat!