Monday 3rd May 2010
Pursuing our new policy of tackling a few unfamiliar races, Fiona and I rolled up in Ashdon, 5miles NE of Saffron Walden, on a cold and blustery Bank Holiday Monday for this 10k+. We had thought the '+' referred to +O.5, so imagine the groans and ripples of consternation when it was announced it was actually +0.8!
Having got over this not inconsiderable shock, we set off cheerfully enough, enjoying the scenic, mainly off-road course. I have previously waxed lyrical about the magical quality of the scenery in this part of the world (see Saffron Walden 10k reports ad nauseam), but when I spotted a herd of deer leaping majestically over a hedge up ahead, I called out involuntarily 'ooooough deer!' or something like that. Nearby runners weren't impressed however, presumably thinking I was merely moaning 'oh dear!'
The course is not unlike an off road Richmond Castle 10k, probably even tougher. The terrain is a bit rough in places, there are about 6 signicant inclines, and watch out for the sting in the tail AFTER you pass the 10k marker; they save the steepest and most gruesome hill for the last. On the other hand, the course does include a bit of old railway route in it, which is obviously flat, but there is not enough of it! It had an old carriage in case you needed a short rest, though.
Overall, a race to be recommended. One slight downside was that not many of the marshalls ever seemed to have been runners, and rarely smiled, encouraged or pointed the way, even in a floppy sort of way!