Driving into the beautiful Cheshire countryside on a bright sunny summery morning was a great start to the day. The car park was a little gated field just next to Gawsworth Hall which was in a stunning English country setting. There was a walk past a church, an old country house with a lake and across a bridge with a pretty little river within the first 2 minutes.
I walked up into the field where registration was taking place and collected my running number. These had been sent out to most people before the race but mine had not arrived. The field was set up with a desk for registrations and a there was a small line of portaloo’s. There were two tents providing refreshments, a cake tent with cakes from the WI and the local scouts providing tea, coffee and bacon butties.
The atmosphere was really friendly, seemingly with lots of regulars attending this race. There was a 10k and a fun run (5k). The fun run set off 30 minutes after the 10k had started.
All runners congregated in the lane on the bridge near Gawsworth Hall entrance. The sun shone gloriously done on us as we waited for the horn to sound and the race set off at 10.30am following undulating country lanes for the first few kilometres. After a downhill section at around 4km the race turned off the country roads and onto the canal path. This was a single track path and it was difficult to overtake anyone. The canal path was only around a kilometre long before a set of steps up, a bridge and then steps down. People came to a standstill at the steps so there was so running here which was a little frustrating. After the steps was some woodland. The tree roots had been sprayed with paint to make them more obvious as obstacles. At around 6km the race climbed up into a field. This is where the fun runners (5k) and 10k runners joined together. I found this the most difficult bit in the race and it slowed me right down. There was no obvious route through the field and the grass was long with many bumps and plenty of mud patches to avoid.
After the field there was another couple of kilometres of country lanes until the final kilometre and then you entered another field. This field was quite flat and much easier to run through and took you through to the final finish, the field where registration began.
I collected my medal straight away and a nice bottle of water. I needed an instant sit down as I found the course really tough. The hot weather was also a real test. I quickly decided I needed a bacon butty and a cuppa to get my energy levels up. Within 20-30 minutes the results were already pinned up to the notice board and the prize giving was due to be announced imminently. I ran the course in 54:07.
The organisation of this race was excellent and I would highly recommend it as good for value for money. It is however a challenging all terrain course.
As a lovely surprise the photos from this race were free. A few days after the race I received an email saying they were ready and you had to go through them yourself but they were in timing sections. It’s the first time in a race where I had loads of photos to choose from. You could even contact the photographer to get him to send any original photo via email for free. Wonderful service.