Hadleigh Legacy 2012 10K - Sunday, 27th January
|Robert and I before the run|
This weekend I've completed my first off-road challenge at the Hadleigh Legacy 2012 run. Despite the terrible weather conditions the week before, the race day started out drizzly and damp but eventually turned into mild, clear blue-sky day with a slight easterly breeze. Just the perfect conditions for a winter run.
Robert and I arrived at Hadleigh Country Park in good time before the race to pick up our race numbers (mine was 299) and have a look around the course. Being prepared for rain or shine, I was nicely wrapped up in three layers of clothes, finger gloves, rain coat and trekking shoes. Many runners decided to go for normal running shoes, but I had a feeling that good, waterproof shoes would be an essential addition to my kit for today's multi-terrain race.
Slowly all 350 runners arrived at the County Park and just before 10:30 everyone was lined up at the start line, jumping and stretching, anxious to wake up their tired muscles for a different kind of endurance test.
Then, the shot gun went off and 700 feet started their move along the gravel and downhill to the mountain bike course. Stretched in between the hills of Hadleigh Park, the race track is tight and windy, making it difficult for runners to keep up a constant pace. It is clear that this won't be a hunt for a new personal best. In between long up-hill stretches we have to climb big rocks, while rewarding down-hill ascends become more of a mud slide. Slaloming through trees, I have to force myself to slow down and catch up with my breath.
The race track was well sign-posted with kilometre marks along the way. However, runners might have been confused seeing a 3km mark at the second lap. The race marshals were very attentive and ever encouraging, claiming that the finish line was just around the corner (I know now that was a lie).
Playing football regularly, Robert build up quite a running stamina and left my side past the third corner. I saw him again once more running past me at the half-way water point. He crossed the finishing line at about 01:08, 10 min before I could call this challenge my own. Climbing out of the mountain bike pit, I paced up the hill back onto the gravel to pass the finish line at 01:18:00. Robert was there to welcome me with a winner's hug and my runner's medal was handed to me.
My verdict and race score: 4/5
This run is nothing for the light-hearted, mud-phobic runners. It is a tough endurance run with long up-hill stretches and steep downhill passes, but indeed very enjoyable for nature lovers. Even though I was worried of the demanding task ahead of me, I'll definitely be there in 2014.
|Robert and I at the finish line|
|My race number and well-deserved medal|
|Yep, it's been a muddy race|