After enjoying the Hard As Snails 10k , I decided to look for another race to enter. Not wanting the pressure (or being in the right shape) of hitting a PB, I avoided looking at road races. I finally came across the Surrey Badger Half. In their own words:
This fantastic event in the beautiful Mole Valley in Surrey is in its tenth year. It offers a challenging target for those wishing to complete a scenic half-marathon
Perfect. My weekend long runs were just about reaching half marathon distance, and I’d been enjoying trail running recently.
The event started and finished at Denbies Wine Estate in Dorking, so was fairly local; looping up and around the hills of Norbury Park and Fetcham Downs. It was a fairly muggy morning, which soon gave way to an on/off drizzle, but fortunately nothing harder. The first mile loops around the Denbies vineyards before heading out of the gate and along the A24 for a few miles. Pretty uninspiring but at least it was flat, it also allowed me to settle into a nice rhythm. At mile 4 we turned off the road and headed up into the hills. A steep climb, with mercifully a water station at the top. From here on it was a mixture of trails and path, with some climbs, as well as drops.
I’d settled into a group of runners, regularly swapping places as a I coped better on the uphills, but not as well with the downhill stretches. It was by till around mile 7 and 8, following a few sharp climbs and a long downhill section that I began to pull away. With roughly 370 runners over a 13.1 mile course there was plenty of space, in fact from Mile 8 I had 5 mins or so when I wasn’t sure I’d taken the right path, running by myself. Luckily I came across another friendly Marshall who directed me up a steep slope, perhaps the toughest climb (between miles 9 and 10). The course than looped back to top of the hill from Mile 4 as we headed back towards Denbies.
Mercifully most of the last few miles are all down hill. The final stretch, briefly rejoins the A24 before heading back into the estate for the finish. Despite finishing fairly strongly I still managed to get caught at mile 13, which was a slight annoyance. Clocked stopped at 1:42:09, which put me in 33rd. Pretty pleased with that given the nature of the course.
No medal this time, which is a slight shame but a rather nifty t-shirt and a bottle of beer (which I enjoyed later that evening).
More details on this and other events run by Events to Live can be found here: Event to Live