No Ego Challenge: or, my dad physically pushed me up the hill

This was my first foray into an actual trail run as opposed to an OCR. The most running I have previously been capable of in my adult life is running for the ice cream truck, so it’s safe to say I pretty much suck at it.  I also really hate running, which as you can imagine, is a bit of a barrier to progress.  Nevertheless, a girl’s gotta try, so I badgered my dad, who is a serious, serious runner who owns more Lycra than I’d care to admit to go on a trail run with me.  I knew he’d motivate me, and true to form, I turned up in a pair of trainers and some tights, and he turned up with his Garmin space watch which would tell us our elevation, rate and which horse to back in the Grand National.

The Course

The run was at Hamsterley Forest, Durham.  It’s changed a lot since my primary school trip nature trail days, and seems to be a pretty cool trail and mountain biking venue.  The terrain is really varied and the route was, it’s safe to say, well off the beaten track.  It takes bloody ages to drive into though.

Without much of a build-up, really, the lovely organisers gave us a quick rundown of what was going on (which I couldn’t hear, because I was at the back. Again), but the general gist was to follow the white signs, because the blue ones would take us on a ten MILE track as opposed to a ten K, or something.  The course began on a totally cruel uphill slog, and didn’t really let up onto a flat bit for about a hundred years.  The tracks took us past some beautiful streams, which I’m quite disappointed that we didn’t wade through, but hey-ho, can’t have it all.

My legs always feel like I’m just dragging bits of lead around with my pelvis until about 4k, so my dad was busy running away and back to me like an overexcited spaniel.  This was both endearing and intensely irritating.  The tables turned when we had to make steep descents through the forest, because I can pretty much throw myself down those with gay abandon.  My dad rather gingerly picked his way down past a load of squealing girls who probably didn’t realise that if you go up a hill, there’s only one way off it.  But he soon caught me up, because as a crap runner, I am a disappointment to my family name and may as well just fall on a set of running spikes to prevent further dishonour.

I can’t think of a way to jazz up the fact that we ran around some tracks, some fields and some soily bits.  So, basically we just ran around some tracks, some fields and some soily bits but the view was lovely.  I realised that I was smashing my own 10k PB and got really excited about the encouraging things that dad’s space watch was telling me.  I also came to realise that the run was actually a K or two longer than 10k, which I was okay with, I suppose, because I could really up the pace on the downhill towards the finish.  I felt pretty epic, if I’m honest.  Dad’s hopes of beating a PB were utterly decimated because he was a) running with me and b) totally unprepared to run through a heather-strewn bog that meant that he would have to really look where he was going.  Seems all the Lycra in the world can’t streamline you through brambles.

Down some steps and we were back in the welcoming arms of the chipper organisers.  We got us some nice tech shirts and some juice and were on our merry way without much ado.

The Goods

A nice tech tee, timing and a spot of juice.  (The entry was about £20), so decent value, really.

The Kit

  • Salomon Fellraisers
  • More Mile trainer socks (are you sensing a pattern here?)
  • Inov8 Merino baselayer
  • Under Armour heatgear tights
  • Tech Tee
  • Obstacle Race Magazine Wrag

No complaints here!

The Verdict

Lovely, small, local train run.  Would certainly do it again.  No obstacles, but the course was just as described and the team behind it are lovely.



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