I signed up for Weald Challenge 50k a while ago. A group of us signed up together and as the race approached I wasn’t looking forward to it. I wasn’t worried about the distance- there had been an email sent out with maps & course descriptions as part of the course wouldn’t be marked. This worried me as I have never done self nav & wouldn’t sign up to a race that was heavily self nav (unless I’d had some map lessons 1st lol). Another email came closer to race day saying they’d have books with the map etc on the day plus extra markings were being put up so this put me at ease.
The weather was predicted to be cloudy all week but on the day it was sunny & pretty warm. I’m quite happy in the sun so I got the sun cream on (Nivea Invisible factor 50- easy to apply & lasts all day & Boots Soleil face factor 50….I don’t normally go that high but think it’s sensible for long distance running).
I packed my running vest up. I carry more than I need thinking it’s better top be safe than sorry. Plus some races have essential kit lists so it means I’m used to carrying it- especially when I’ll have a packed bag for Race to the Stones. In my running vest I packed:
- Foil blanket
- 1st aid kit (plasters, bandage, antiseptic wipe, ibuprofen, sports tape)
- Sun cream
- Long sleeve top
- Spare socks
- 2 x bottles with tailwind
- My bladder willed with water
- 2 x extra packs of tailwind (used 1)
- 1 pack of Shot blokz
- Charged Mobile phone (with Race Director number they sent in an email)
- Pack of tissues
- Lip balm
- Spare hairband
Natasha & I arrived in time to get our numbers, use the toilets, dump our bags at the bag drop & then it was time to start. Natasha, Emma, Chelsea & I all started out together. I soon realised they were going too fast for me- we did the 1st mile in 9:34 so I dropped back so I could do it at my own pace as keeping up with them would have soon worn me out.
The race was brilliant. The scenery was beautiful- I took quite a few pictures. I met lots of other runners. I met people from Germany, Bulgaria, Zimbabwe & various places in the UK. It was great chatting to people- and, as another runner had said to me, I felt truly lucky to be able to run & experience places like this- sounds sentimental I know but it was such a beautiful place I was having a great time.
Now, as I didn’t have much spare time at the start I forgot to pick up a map book although I did have it stored in my phone should I become lost. There were a couple of tricky points but I was with a group of other runners & we all figured it out together….or should I say 2 of them figured it out & the rest of us followed. Most of the route was really well signed but there were a couple of bits with very little that were a bit confusing. A group of us ran over a big puddle in a car park, past a big yellow sign & along a path….soon after that we were going back over the puddle & back past the sign…ooops!
I was glad to be with a group finding our way. In the last part of the race I was out on my own & was happily following the signs but there was quite a big gp between signs where I started to wonder if I was going the right way but then there was tape on a tree! I did a big ‘woohoo’ when I saw it.
Let’s talk about hills….my god there were a lot of hills. I swear most of the course was up hill-I don’t know how but it really was. I walked up the hills so as soon it was flat/ downhill I was happily running along- I wasn’t too happy to see all the hills….
There were also a lot of stiles but I didn’t mind them. Some of them were a bit wonky/ unsteady so we had to be careful. As it got closer to the end my watch gave up so I didn’t know how far there was to go- I don’t use my watch much but it should have lasted longer than 5 hours on a full charge. I thought I’d missed the finish line after running through a busy area with heavy traffic but soon realised I was on the right track & was close to the end. I leaped over the finish line with a big smile on my face. I took a bit longer than I would have liked but it was very hot & very hilly so I was delighted to have finished & got my medal & mug. I felt strong at the end which is a great confidence boost with Race to the Stones coming up (far too quickly!!!).
It was really nice to just hang around the finish & chat to other runners & see other finishers. There was food but unfortunately they’d run out of veggie food so they gave me a salad roll. Not quite the post race burger I’d been hoping for but was grateful I got that.
Natasha gave me a lift to the train station but I’d just missed one so naturally we went to the pub for a bottle of Prosecco to celebrate & I got a later train home.
I would recommend this race. The organisation was great, the scenery beautiful & a there was a lovely atmosphere. Although we were well warned I would prefer more signage at some parts of the race (I don’t like maps) & they needed more veggie burgers- but they are small things that wouldn’t stop me from signing up again. The mug & medal were fab & all the volunteers at the well stocked check points were lovely.
I had a fabulous day & went home feeling great, I checked my fitbit (steps & floors climbed below) & hung my medal on my ultra & marathon hanger
Then I ordered Dominos & watched the Britain’s Got Talent Final on catch up- perfect J