A mile too far!! – Bedgebury 10


On Sunday was I was Adjudicating the Bedgebury 10 and 5 mile race. It was a pleasant change to arrive at Bedgebury on a lovely sunny but cool morning whereas it is normally cold and raining for races there.

The race Director and his team presented me with the paperwork for inspection and then said ‘’are you going to run?” My reply was “well I thought I might run round and check things” The next question was “do you want a number and are you going to do the 5 or 10 mile ?” Having not run very much of late I responded with, “give me one for 10 miles and I can drop out at 5 if I have had enough”

Having got the official bits out the way I spotted Elliot Chiles and his girlfriend getting ready and went over to say hello. They were both entered for the 10 miles. I then thought if  I am going to run I had better get into the appropriate kit and change my shoes. As I had a number I thought I had better run as a Harrier and so donned my vest which luckily was in the bottom of my bag (to keep Bob happy of course!!)

Very soon the start time approached so I disappeared into the trees for a comfort wee and emerged again as the race briefing was taking place. I spotted Mike Sharp so went and joined him. He said that 10 miles was too far for him and looking at my number I wondered if it was for me. Next the klaxon sounded and we were off. I deliberately started very slowly as with the 10 and 5 milers starting together it is very easy to get swept up in the fast 5 mile wave. Mike left me behind more or less straight away and I never saw him again. A short while later Maria Gandara came flying past, I mumbled hello but was puffing well at this point, I never saw her again. I had no sighting of  Elliot and given his finishing time he must have been way up front. I saw from the results Liu Jones ran but I didn’t spot her.

I have never run a course in Bedgebury starting in the direction we did on Sunday and although it was a lovely morning it was a tough start, climbing some distance before the trail levelled out and dropped down again. I cannot say the running surface at Bedgebury is my favourite as the course was mostly on the gravel tracks, one section was off road and although reported muddy wasn’t too bad at all. I wore trail shoes but I think you could have quite comfortably worn flats. For those of you that know the Bedgebury trails it has its ups and downs and although not hilly it has quite some undulations.

Well back to my run, I quite enjoyed the first lap (apart from being dazzled by the sun in places- not complaining though) and took it steady and returned to the start and 5 miles in about 48 minutes. At this point I felt okay, it was a lovely day and I knew what the next 5 miles involved including what climbs I was going to encounter. Blowed it, I’ll go for it. I have to say I felt fine till 9 miles then the wheels came off and it was a case of run walk for the remaining mile. It was definitely a mile too far. Still I finished, wasn’t last and live to tell the tale. Some of us ‘old gits’ never learn — other than Mike Sharp who sensibly did the 5 miles and won his age category.

Mark Taylor