Hampshire Hoppit – race report

19th June 2016, Fathers day, I decided to have my next race! I actually didn’t realised it was fathers day until nearer the race. This was my second Trail race of the year after completing the New Forest 20 Miler in March, only The Hampshire Hoppit was a Half Marathon.

So how did it go…………

Taper week went as well as it should have gone, getting prepared mentally and physically, with only a 4Mile run but three Core and Strength workouts. I knew this beautiful countryside had something to hide, something called hills!

Race kit ready the night before, I had plenty of time to have a “race morning” breakfast. The usual trustworthy Brown bread toasts with crunchy peanut butter, a nice strong coffee and fresh juice. Gave myself plenty of time to get there as I like to register nice and early to avoid a last minute “stress out session”, which I’m sure we’ve all been there. It’s also not a great idea and time to have an off the scale heart rate!

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Race time, 10am, everyone ready to go and run across beautiful Southern England countryside on a beautiful sunny and warm morning. The countdown from 10 started and an orchestra of GPS watches resonated across the county. As I always do, I started in the middle of the pack, not too fast but not too slow. After about half a Mile, we arrived to a path in the woods where we suddenly stopped due to all 500 runners arriving at a single file path at the same time. But that’s ok, this race wasn’t a PB road race, it was a “take it as it goes and enjoy” Trail race. Another reason for the queue was this hill (picture below)!

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The event website described the hill climb as, and I quote, “barely walk-able”. And it was! towards the top, we were all crawling up, but it added to the fun. You have to call it fun otherwise you might as well cry, listening to burning legs crying out loud! Once at the top, everyone looked round to check the amazing view before moving on and start running again at a decent pace. For the next few Miles, we ran through fields, including poppy fields and then joined the Wayfairers walk path. By the way, I was glad to be wearing my Salomon Speed Cross Trail shoes. Although it was dry, it was very uneven under feet, and I came across many rabbits, even badgers holes. When you see the size of a badgers hole, believe me in saying you don’t want to fall in one or you might end up at the Mad Hatters tea party!

After a comfortable first seven Miles, which included 2 drink stations for water, (thankfully, I was prepared and was carrying my Kalenji Trail back pack with a bottle of Electrolytes, courtesy of Herbalife24, who I’m very pleased to say support me as an amateur athlete) it started to get interesting! As you can see in the Strava Map below, we had an incline between Mile 7 and approximately Mile 11. That was tough! My legs are not yet made for long inclines and it showed but I pushed on, determined not to walk and managed to run at a steady consistent pace. As we say, “One foot in front of the other”.

We had 3 drink stations with water & squash and 1 feed stations with the usual bananas, Jelly Babies & Pretzels. I used the stations to re-hydrate with water and used my Herbalife24 Electrolyte drink while running. I didn’t take any food with me for this distance, although I welcomed the Jelly Babies at the feed station.

Getting into the last 2 Miles, and not running on an incline, I started picking up pace a little to finish strong. But then we had to go down “that hill” before the final straight to the finish line. How dare they! There is no way you could run it without tumbling over with the burning legs I had. Although I didn’t think of that! It would have been quicker!

Finally, half a Mile around the corner was the finishing line. The sound of the race HQ was a sign of relief. Don’t get me wrong, I loved the race, great event and would do it again tomorrow but it was a challenge in itself.

Finishing time: 2:30:07

Race position: 159 out of 232

Pleased with result and nice to meet another @UKrunchat runner, Alison, best know as @menagerie42 who finished in a time of around 2:15 ! I recommend this event to anyone wanting a taste of Trail running.

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