The weather had not been good all week. It rained, then it rained and then it rained again for good measure. It was, therefore, no surprise to find that on the morning of the Three Forts Challenge it was raining.
The good news was that it was nothing like as heavy as the last time I'd run it.
The bad news was that the tracks would be slippery and I was a bit anxious as I had a nasty fall in the final couple of miles the last time I did it.
In common with most trail marathons it's a lovely friendly sort of race with runners of all abilities. Being a back-of-the-pack runner I enjoy seeing the speedy whippets dash off and on this course there is an out and back section so you get to see both the people in front of you and those behind too.
I'd taken a variety of outfits with me so that I could make a final decision when I saw the conditions. It was cold and wet so I opted for long tights and long-sleeved top and I didn't regret that decision at all as it got quite cold up on the hilltops. Someone told me that the total ascents were around 4000ft.
|Here I was snapped by the lovely Anthony from Sussex Sports Photography as I ran up one of the many hills!|
As I'm not a sure-footed runner I took great care on the slippery bits. Even so I managed to do the splits on one of the claggy uphill sections. I chatted to several runners en-route which always helps to pass the time. The marshalls were very friendly and supportive and provided us with water, squash, cake and biscuits.
Although I was aiming to beat my previous time I wasn't unduly concerned as I was feeling strong and when I reached the last 2 miles I still had 45 minutes in which to beat it. However, there was no time for complacency as these 2 miles were all downhill and I was scared of falling over again. So, I let the cluster of 5 runners who were around me go ahead and I watched them hurtling down with gay abandon. I didn't! I picked my way down really slowly and still managed to slip and slide although I didn't go right over again.
However, my extra caution meant I took 30 minutes for that last section and one of the ladies I'd told to go ahead without me had waited around to check I was OK as she was worried that I might have fallen over again. How kind!