Maverick Dark Series – Surrey and Hampshire

To finish off November and Kick off December the hubby and I had two more of the Maverick Dark series races to run. In between these races and my previous race I have “come out” as being pregnant, which explains why Phil has agreed to drop his pace to run with me, and why I’ve slowed down quite as much as I have, making a concerted effort to not over exert myself.

The first of the two races was set in Surrey at the Denbies Wine Estate. We signed up for the three dark series races before we knew I was pregnant so we had already opted to do the long distance for each of them. This race was advertised as 15km for the long distance, but eventually came up just a little short, around 14.5km by my watch, a little less than that if you believe Phil’s.

It was freezing cold on the evening, and we were lucky that we could use the main building of the Denbies Wine Estate, including the warm indoor toilets prior to the race, eventually though we had to head out into the biting cold to take our places by the start line. we set off into the dark at 5pm, in the glow of our head-torches, and pretty much straight up a hill.

Cresting the hill
Photo Credit: Sue Hill Photography

The hill felt never ending, I found it really tough going, and had to give up and walk despite it being so near the beginning of the race. The views out over the estate were amazing though, the lights of Surrey twinkling below us. As the path levelled off it was easier to run again, but it’s fair to say I found this race tough. It was really hilly and I was suffering somewhat with fatigue. I wasn’t sorry It came up a little short.

Despite being a trail run, underfoot the ground was good, sometimes on paths and sometimes on wooded trails, and much less muddy than the previous race in Sussex! This was a good thing as we had to swing by a family charity event on our way home, and it also made changing in a freezing cold car park much easier too!

The next weekend we packed up the car and headed to the New Forest for the Hampshire race. This time we booked ourselves into a hotel nearby, so we were able to get changed and take the 5 min drive to the race start without rushing.

The race was based at Foxlease in Lyndhurst, which is a Girl Guiding UK activity centre (one that brought back happy memories, as I actually stayed here in my younger days). Again the HQ was in doors, which meant no portaloos, but the evening didn’t feel as cold as the week before.

This race was advertised as 16km, and with less elevation than the week before, I was confident the extra distance shouldn’t be too much of a problem, a good thing, as this time I clocked the race as a little over the advertised distance. Again we set off in the dark at 5pm, out of the main entrance of Foxlease and straight into the forest.

Again, the route was easy going underfoot, keeping to the fire roads that weave through the forest. It was really pleasant running through the trees in the dark, at one point running past a bemused looking pony in the dark (although I only noticed the one). The hills were much more manageable than the week before and I felt like I was running much better this time.

Nearly at the finish!
Photo Credit: Sue Hill Photography

After a bit of a nasty fall earlier in the week proceeding this event, the race really helped to restore my running confidence (although I’ve not run since, still a little nervous I think) and it was a wonderful run.

When we finished the only slight dampener on the evening was not receiving the original medal for the event, after it had been over sold, we were handed a wooden engraved medal which we have seen at other races being given to the dogs! We were both slightly miffed, it made the ending feel a bit flat. Although I don’t usually care about what (if any) medal I get, I have a wall full of the things, but I had wanted to collect the set and the wooden medal was just not the same as the glow in the dark medal we should have received.  I have been at other races where, when they have taken on extra runners, those runners have been marked on their number or similar, and those are the ones that get the alternative. Perhaps something to think about, as we were not last minuet sign ups.

This stupid little moan aside, which really probably wasn’t worth the paragraph I wasted on it (but hey, i’m pregnant, irrational and want what I want!), these races were fantastic! I really hope I’m able to get in a couple of Maverick’s next year, be it the original series or more in the dark, even if I have to cut down to the short distance and waddle!

Maverick Dark Series, Done!