You may recall that a few months ago I took part in a Spring challenge at Ranscombe. If not you can read all about that here https://justanessexgirl.wordpress.com/2017/04/29/spring-challenge/
It was time for the Summer challenge so instead of back to Ranscombe nice and early for the next stage.
The week had been very humid and Saturday was no different, I knew it was going to be a lot harder this time around. Added to which there was a slight route change compared to Spring, as a result a familiar route would now have a certain amount of surprises.
What wasn’t a surprise was the hills, I had not forgotten them from last time and they were still there to welcome us back, difference being that the colour had changed.
After the usual race briefing from Traviss and the congratulations to those reaching milestones were were off.
Each loop was 4.4 miles to complete mostly trail with about 400 metres on a road to the path. 3 loops would amount to a half, 6 a full marathon and 7 for an ultra.
The hills (have I mentioned the hills?) were butt busting but the views were breathtaking, with each loop I saw something new.
At the top of the major hill (pictured above) instead of turning right light in Spring we had to turn left, through some gates and another gentle incline taking you out into a cattle grazing field with a spooky mausoleum right at the top of a mound. This marked the halfway point of the route.
A loop around the mausoleum then back through the gates and onto a narrow path into the forest trails, thankfully downhill.
A turn right and you are following the Eurostar route for about a mile, the path here was incredibly narrow with brambles and nettles alongside the path. Making this technically difficult and needing full concentration. Peeling off from his path you come across a steep downhill followings by a steep uphill, through another forest and then back out onto the road for the 200 meters to the start/finish and aid station.
At the end of each loop I debated on whether to go out again, but the encouragement of all around me gave me the push I needed. Ranscombe was not going to be a one loop course for me today!
I decided that morning I wanted to do between 1 loop and a half marathon so I knew when setting off for my second I was already on goal.
The sun was really beating down now and hydration was becoming the key element for me, although some shade a lot of the course was very open too and that sun was very strong. I made sure I had taken on enough liquid but I still needed more.
Once I completed the third lap I knew that was it, goal obtained and it was time to ring that bell and claim the bling and goody bag.
I will be back, in fact next month I am back to Ranscombe to take part in another event.