As we enter May it’s time to take on a few more challenges. This month I have three lined up, the first of which being Grim Series Beast in the East.
This race came to my attention through RPCC who posted about it on Facebook, suggesting an “RPCC takeover”, It doesn’t take much to persuade me to do a race so I signed up straight away.
Beast in the East is a 10km trail run based at Canada Heights, Swanley, which takes you round a motocross course (twice) as well as a run though some woods. Their website says that you will plough through mud, sand and hills, and also warns that you will get muddy and wet.
With a large number of RPCCers doing the race, there was a great atmosphere to start as we waited for the off. The sun was shining and it was shaping up to be a good day.
The race kicked off at 10:30am and after a ten second countdown everyone surged over the line, the course almost straight away took you up a steep hill that we had previously driven up to park, across the top of the field where we had parked the cars and then onto the motocross course. You could see the front runners powering up the hills, but unfortunately I very quickly began to tire and slow down. I had been struggling with a cold all week (I even lost my voice completely at one point) and this really affected my ability to run.
The motocross course was brutal, huge muddy hills that were almost as difficult to run down as they were to run up, and I’m ashamed to say that I did a lot of walking on the ups, rather than running them.
Once you had managed to navigate the motocross circuit it was back off across the car park, for a stretch of trail running through a field, then a token set of tires to hop through before heading into the woods.
The run through the woods and fields was fairly pleasant, although there were still some more hills to navigate. I had expected that this section might include some rivers or streams to wade through but I was disappointed in this. After this stretch you begin to wind your way back to the dreaded motocross circuit for a second time.
As I ran round, feeling very unfit and out of breath I just kept telling myself “it’s for charity, you are doing this for Sooz” (My friend who is the inspiration for this year of challenges and who sadly lost her cancer battle in March). I really didn’t want to do those hills again, but I pushed on, still walking more often than I would have liked and by now my shoe had started to rub and in all honesty I was feeling pretty miserable.
After covering a section of the course we were diverted into some water – finally! This was by far my favourite part of the race and I had no hesitation jumping into the muddy water, the bottom of which was very squelchy deep mud that was difficult to wade through, then up out of the water and under a cargo net, now I was nice and muddy, which didn’t make the running any easier, but felt more like the races I’ve grown used to!
Just when you thought that must be it, it was back onto the motocross circuit for a few more ups and downs, before a stretch back across towards the finish, once I saw that finish line I put in one final effort for a sprint finish, probably the fastest I ran the whole race in fact.
Once I crossed the line, I was give my event Tee and grabbed my DryRobe. My whole body felt like it hurt, my knees were aching and my heal was throbbing from a blister, I was really glad to be finished.
It is always lovely to do the races with so many people from RPCC, the support is fantastic and everyone did such a good job, it’s a real privilege to run and train with these guys. Getting cheered on when you are tired really helps to push you on.
Once home I wanted to know my race time, unfortunately though when the results were published I was missing, along with a lot of other people who raced. There had been a glitch with the timing systems so no time was recorded, using the photo of me finishing though I was able to use the numbers of the guys ahead and behind me to work out I finished in 1h9mins and would have been in the top 50 girls. I’m quite pleased with this time as the 10km trail run I did in Januaray was not as tough as this one, and I did that in 1h15 so despite feeling ill I beat my previous 10km trail PB, and you have to be happy with that.
I didn’t enjoy this race as much as some others, but I think that was more to do with feeling I hadn’t done my best, than anything wrong with the race itself. For me, I would rather do the obstacle races than just running, and I would have liked more water.
On a final note I would just like to “big-up” the DryRobe, although pricey it’s a fantastic bit of kit for anyone who runs in these kinds of races, I was warm after finishing despite being wet and hanging around for a while before I got changed, and they are big enough to get changed inside of too. I definitely recommend them. Now time to gear up for my next race, next weekend!