I took part in the inaugural Chieveley Chase run recently, a 5.3m off-road run around the village of Chieveley. The event was set up as a fund raiser for the local school and organised by a few friends of mine including Stouty, so my attendance was compulsory despite my still recovering from my Wales run the weekend before. I wasn’t sure how my previously injured knee would feel but decided to go out as I normally would and ease back if this felt uncomfortable.
I arrived beforehand and spoke to a few people before the race including Dick Kearn who was taking part in the run today after some prompting from myself and Stouty and readied myself for the start of the race with about 100 other people taking part.
The weather was perfect for running, sunny and cool despite all of the overcast and wet conditions the weekend before. We set of promptly at 10am and completed a short lap of the field before heading down the high street for a few hundred yards before turning right and heading off-road for a loop around the village.
I settled into the secondary group of runners as the first ten club runners headed off. The first mile pace was fast (about 6.30m/m) and I slowed a little to a slightly more comfortable pace as we hit the first of a few hills which were nothing too severe but enough to slow the pace and increase the effort.
The ground was a little slippery in places due to the wet mud and I was wearing road-shoes so I had to be a little careful. I would normally wear my off-road shoes but these were caked in mud from the Wales run the weekend before.
I pretty much maintained my position for the next couple of miles, which felt like an effort although the pace had settled to around 7.30m/m although this varied depending on the elevation. I passed a few familiar faces who were marshalling (Harriet, Sue and Simon) and waved a quick hello as I continued on. (Thanks to Sue’s husband for the enclosed photo of me).
To be honest, the run felt like an effort (which is should be) but I wasn’t really enjoying the exertion but the miles were flying by as I glanced at my watch I was approaching the last couple of miles.
I overtook one person going up a hill but then had to stop briefly to tie my shoe lace (school boy error) and a couple of people passed me including the 2nd lady and I decided to tag along behind her as she was running a pace which was a good effort but comfortable enough to keep up with her.
We approached the last half a mile and came back onto the high street in Chieveley where we passed Paul Reed who was marshalling who called out “not far to go” and we headed back towards the field and a short lap of the field to the finish.
As we approached the final few hundred metres I glanced at my Garmin and saw a sub 40 min finish was achievable if I pushed it. I started to overtake the lady in front and asked her if she could give it a bit of effort for the final part of the run. I thought it only fair as she had dragged me around the last couple of miles!
I finished strongly, not my usual mad 20 yard dash but a sustained pace from a further distance out and finished in 39mins 56 seconds, my Garmin read a distance of 5.5m so perhaps slightly longer than advertised. Overall, I came in 13th out of 95 people, so not bad for an Ultra plodder.
Well done to EJ and team for organising a good event, the course was well marked and there were plenty of marshals around. I hope they can double the number of entrants next year which they can easily do without making the event “too busy”.
After the finish, I was awarded a goody bag and medal and then had to visit the tea and cake stall, before the bacon butty stall and then finally the sports physio tent (more for last weeks run than this one) before watching the awards ceremony.