Passchendaele Challenge

Shock, horror!  It’s been so long since I posted a blog, I’m not sure I can remember how to upload my scribblings!  Let’s see what happens!  (For the record it took forever – I really hate it when they change things, grrrh.)

This morning I took part in the six hour Passchendaele Challenge organised by Saxons, Vikings and Normans.  The event took place at King’s Wood, Challock, near Ashford and started at an early 8.00am.  Never did the homily “run in the morning before your brain realises what’s going on” seem more appropriate!  But as Traviss said, on 31 July 1917 the soldiers were sent over the top at 3.50am so maybe we had it lucky.  We were sent on our way after a reading and a minute’s silence by the eerie sound of trench whistles.

The route comprised a 4.4 mile lap of mainly fire roads through the woods and was described as “a moderately challenging trail run as it’s not a flat place but there are some lovely downhills to make up for the ups”.   That’s true, the first 2k at least is all downhill!  And having read a sign warning of adder bites at the entrance to the woods, I kept very much in the middle of the fire roads :-/

I’ve set myself a challenge this year to run 12 half marathons in 12 months and this was to be my eighth and so far only one (the ABP Southampton Half) has not been with SVN.  So I had to complete three laps to get my distance.  At the back of my brain there was a sneaky little voice saying why not go for six?  And on the second lap, I was thinking yup, I can do that, I’m feeling good.  One lap later, not so good, and I knew any additional laps would be far more walk than run so I threw in the towel (or in SVN’s case rang the bell to signal I’d finished) and collected my rather poignant medal.

Latest bling!

I think Traviss has magic powers as somewhere towards the end of my first lap, the rain started.  As I headed off downhill on my second lap, with the rain sending salty sweat into my eyes and leaving me unable to see from the stinging, I couldn’t help but think this is nowhere near as bad as they had it in Passchendaele, so don’t complain.  Also, my pain and discomfort was going to last nowhere near as long as those poor souls, so I battled on.

I’ve run at King’s Wood before, back in March, again with SVN but on this occasion it was the Book Day Challenge.  It was good to be back to see the venue during a different season but I missed seeing some of the sculptures in the woods – too many leaves on the trees!

Book Day Challenge bling

My next event is guess what, the SVN Darnley Challenge on 11 August running around Jeskyns Community Woodland, through Cobham, out to the Darnley Mausoleum and around Ranscombe Farm Reserve.  This time I only have to do one lap because it’s a 13.1 mile route but it does involve some orienteering so I could do more if I get lost.  But it does mean I should have completed my ninth half with four months to go (and in theory I have four potential halves booked for September – why did I think that was a good idea!)

Darnley Mausoleum