On Saturday September 14th part of Run Alcester, namely Marcus, Agata, Tuula, Becky and Mark assembled at Henley in Arden school to begin the Heart of England Forest Marathon 2019.
As you can see booking office was a pretty low key affair :-)
Trees not Medals
Don't hesitate to click to zoom, but essentially for every entrant 2 trees are planted. 10 for us total, and yes we did Carshare. There are no medals and no timing chips, the modest race entry fees goes towards this conservation effort.
There were quite a few checkpoints according to the map but we were not prepared for how comprehensive they were. So 4 of us turned up in full trail running rucksack gear stuffed full with food and bladders and fluids. We would find they were not needed!
Our brave team, we are all Run Alcester members. Hint: If you live in this area you should come and join us!
The walk to the start was quite casual and this is inline with our ethos for the day and indeed that of the race. You could actually walk this marathon distance (starting an hour earlier) but we would be running it casually
A Running Experiment
Marcus and Agata have often said quietly and politely that we should now be at a level of fitness enough to complete a daily marathon. But most importantly to do so without tearing our feet to shreds, or exhausting us for the next day. We would test this today
Full team at the start
Let's Go and Stop
Ordinarily in Swiss mountain trail races, Marcus is known to grumble loudly at congestion of people stopping runners from actually running.
But today we are taking things easily, so the big jam within the first 5 minutes, to get past one (of what would be many) kissing gates, was taken with just a smile.
Food and Stops
I've tried my best to capture the spirit of the event. It was in general, slow paced running in beautiful English countryside. Oh, and it was sunny (upto 20 degrees C) and dry, something that is not as frequent as I would like.
Other major pluses were evident in that we did not have to negotiate i.e cross many / multiple prickly hedgerows, something that England (and for example unknown in Switzerland) is absolutely full of
Kissing gates and styles were a major pain in the arse. But considering that we were not racing we took it in our stride.
We spent our hours just running with each other, chatting, smiling and soaking up the delightful countryside.
I hope this is evident this from our happy faces.
So many stops equipped with delicious food. I wish we had known and we would not have brought all those food items with us.
What these gentle stats show Marcus, is that with an average Heart rate on the day of just 103 bpm, it was time to head our post race for a celebration cream tea. And with the 2000+ calories spent, I am still calorie negative for the day. Wonderful.
Really All Good?
So it is a few hours post run now. And yes Marcus' and Agata's bits are still in 100% fine condition. Not tired. No aches. No Pains. No blisters. Feet as above in A1 condition. We quietly appreciate that our lives and fitness levels have now reached a decent level. Took dedication, but we are at last there.
Take it away Woolfy