Runners doing a warming up in the cold wind, and with the sea in the background
It was a beautiful winter day; we have been lucky with the weather at our races for months! So just before the start everybody was running around and jumping up and down and doing a little dance, as we were all dressed for a race, and not for standing still waiting for the signal to sound. The wind was cold! But as soon as we set off the cold was forgotten. After about a second the same held for Hugh; he disappeared behind the horizon after no time. But I ran comfortably; deep in thought I plodded along the country roads and dirt tracks. Time went by rather fast, and when at some point the path got very steep I figured we had approached the Obelisk. And Lo! We had. It was good to see it; now I only had to run back down again. Downhill isn’t my strongest point, though, so I was quite tired in the legs, but well, an 11 miler with quite some vertical distance to cover too after an illness, that can make you tired in the legs without having to be ashamed about it. Especially if you've spent half the previous day in a gin distillery...
Finally; the obelisk!
The view from near the obelisk; in the background the river Exe can be seen flowing into the sea
On the way down I exchanged some gossip with fellow runners on which races we had done, and which ones we recommended each other; a race can be quite a social occasion. But then Dawlish came into sight again. The finish! I was met by a slightly grumpy Hugh who claimed to have already been waiting for over 15 minutes (it would turn out to have been 11) and who wasn’t entirely satisfied with his performance. I was quite happy with mine, though I realised that probably spelled bad news for my ranking. If I’m happy I haven’t exhausted myself, and have therefore been outrun by many. And it would turn out to be true! I had dramatically broken the positive trend with my poor achievement at Drogo, and only in Cockington done slightly better than that, but in Torrington I had broken my own personal worst record, and on Monday I would find out I had managed that again. I came in 159th of 239; poo! But for me it matters more that I have fun than whether I rank high. And a comparison of my speed versus my ranking in various races suggests that races like this one just attract a tougher crowd… not everybody wants to run 5.5 mile uphill, and down through the mud, in mid-January!
My race to the bottom!