Good ? – oh yes

Rich ? – plenty of prizes

Fell Race? – not really, but a cheeky 6 miler on tracks with 900 feet of ascent. Forest of Dean, near Symonds Yat.

A slightly longer course than of old (in the days when this was Damon’s stomping ground), had us stumbling through a field for a few hundred frantic metres, tripping over sugar beet and tiny little junior runners. The front three started extremely fast, in fact I never saw them again, so I tucked in behind another pair – grizzled and stringy enough make me feel like I was in a fell race after all.

Then up a sharp climb, over the fence onto the road, and then onto the first of two laps. This started along twisty fast woodland tracks back down to the river, then a long varied climb, where someone kindly called me back from a wrong turning before I’d gone too far, up onto the top a of long ridge (the ‘fell’). Very fast along here and back down a grass track, and I was feeling distinctly shagged as we hit a slight climb – I was seriously considering calling it a day and heading back to the pub. Too many people about, so I took it easy into the beginning of the second lap, letting the grizzlies get a lead on me, and then suddenly felt really stong again as we started to climb, and I left them for dead in the woods. But couldn’t get back to the 3rd chap, who was nearly a minute ahead.

The winner, in the horribly good time of 39 minutes, was the course record holder, a v40 called Billy Nott (I think) from Halesowen.

I was fourth just under 46 mins, winning a frighteningly large bottle of Lidl cider for my pains.

PS Sorry Damon – I couldn’t make it to the Blaisdon Jelly Leg (too much medicine last night), and they said this is its last year.

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