Title: From the organiser
The day before race day is always a bit hectic, because there is always a curve ball to be thrown! This time, as has been the case in the past, we were victims of some course sabotage, but having learned our lessons from the 2016 Hundred Acres, we always now recce the course just prior to the race start, as well as having a sweep round last thing the day before. On the Saturday, we were a little shocked to see, only 1 hour after the course markers had been set out, the 1km distance marker had been ripped out and discarded in the bushes. However, it was all quite innocent and was a results of 9ft vehicle, driving down an 8ft section of the road!!
Sunday morning, after waking at 3am with severe stomach cramps, and contemplating promoting Michelle to Race Director!! I went out at 6am to walk the off road part of the course, as this, if any, if subject to any 'sabotage' would have the biggest effect, and would have had runners heading off towards Denmead!! As suspected, one of the direction signs, a right hand turn, had been purposefully re-positioned to send runners straight on! This was a deliberate attempt to send runners the wrong way!
Luckily, we had, as always with all of our races, the best marshalls, who are always willing to go the extra mile, and give something back! So much so, they walked from the start to the forest, checked the position of the markers, and positioned themselves on the entrance to the forest section, and round the off road part of the course! Hats off to them, especially as they walked back as well!!
The race brief, held in the car park outside MOD Southwick Park, so as to minimise the disruption, in the otherwise sleepy village, was the usual light hearted address, and was well received, even by the queue at the two portable toilets!!
Once at the start, in West Street, with the race arch inflated and standing proudly across the road, local resident Doug did us the honour of starting the race!
I set off, leading the field around the course in the 'race car', aware that Adam Wilkinson, who led the race from start to finish, could quite well catch me up, and overtake me!!
Apart from a single incursion, the roads were clear having been closed so it was a clear run out to Worlds End. The drive back was a little worrying, as I had forgotten that I would be heading towards the slower runners, so needed to allow enough space for them, as well as of course giving them encouragement on the way round!!
Adam, inevitably, won the race, and probably wished he hadn't set off, and maintained such a fast pace!!
The early morning mist was now clearing, allowing the temperature to rise, which made our decision to put in an extra water station, the right one, and with very few cups remaining, and very little water wasted, it was obviously a very popular decision!!
Doug, our starter was great. He remained at the finish, cheering on the runners as they crossed the line and presenting the winner's with their trophies!
All in all, the day was a huge success, and we are already looking forward to next year, with entries already being taken!
Without the support of the village residents, the parish council and the planning department at Winchester City Council, we would not have been able to hold the event so we owe a massive thank you to all of them.
At this point I would normally advertise our next race but with the Harry St Ledger (Fareham Creek) 10k on the 10th June all but full, as is the Portchester Castle 10k on the 8th July, I'll move forward to the races that follow them. We have the Wickham Twilight 10k on the 20th July, and of course the final race in our village series, the Wickham 10k on the 19th August.
Whichever race you do with us again, we look forward to seeing you, and thank you again for your support.