The Sloggers have it

Anyone ever wandered why this race is called the Surrey slog? No…. It is also known as the “Holmbury Half”. I know which name I prefer and I know which one is more true, but you can decide which is better for yourself.

A dangerous dozen BVR nutters runners decided to take on the Holmbury Half marathon on 19th July. The run consists of a quick lap of a school, a bit of trail running and then a sprint down a big hill to the finish back in the school. What could possibly go wrong?

And then we begin in blazing sunshine and blue sky at exactly 10am. Round the school we all go, quite fast as we want a good position at the bottlenecked stile at around 1km. Some of us go round the stile, some of us over and then the race is on and the first thing we all do is slow down as the first of the 5 hills takes hold. It’s not too bad around 3/4 mile but we’re already regretting going off quite so fast round the school.

Over the top and then its downhill for well over a mile. You could almost forget about the first hill at this point but then we come to the really steep downhill. 100m of steep downhill on uneven loose stones, two choices, throw yourself down it or tiptoe. then we come to the second hill and up we go again… why did i just run that downhill so fast? Should have eased back more oops. Oh well we’re here now. Up we go, but this is taking longer than the first one but eventually we’re there up number two, well that’s 4.5 miles done. And off we fly down the next hill, of course feels easy and we don’t want it to end.

Up number three and now we are seeing arrows on the hills the other way. We have to run back down this later. It’s really beginning to hurt now. We’re thinking why do I put myself through this. Can I run up this? I might have to walk a bit. Come on keep going. Over the top finally at 7 miles and down down down again. Holmbury itself is next big climb, long climb, come on Holmbury we’re ready for you. And so it begins, the long drag up up up. We round a corner, must be nearly there .. Gutted not yet, round another corner is it easing off? Finally, the legs are burning but I’m up the top and wow the view is good, but no time for that 4 miles still to go. Round the compass and back down. 1 whole mile of perfect downhill gradient running, steep enough to help keep you moving but not too steep you have to hold back. Down we go and past drinks and then see the 11 mile point.

From 12 miles we know its all down hill. Into the forest for the last time and start the climb, oh this is long, it hurts, it hurts, no more but still it goes up. We’re tired, had enough, don’t want to play anymore, want to give up and then in front of you is the 12 mile sign. The last mile is almost all downhill. Pushing on and then the drop begins. Suddenly the energy comes back and you can run down this hill, fly down these hills, across the car park and down the last narrow path. Heading for home, but there is one last sting, 600m from the finish is one final short steep uphill. We’re over, round the stile and then lets go, there’s the finish line. We’ve beaten the Surrey Slog. Woop woop. Although I think the reality is that the Surrey Slog has beaten us, chewed us up and spat us out. Its almost 600m of climb, a little less than the Farnham Pilgrim full marathon but an achievement to get round it!

Now we can celebrate although oh my word we’re tired and beaten both mentally and physically. The grass is the perfect place to sit and we do for a while whilst we drink Dave’s recovery drink, strawberry Nesquik.  It’s been roastingly hot, the lack of tree cover didn’t help in places, but we have conquered and earned our medal.

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The BVR mob did a grand job with all runners completing it. Congratulations to all that were there. So how did everyone do? Brilliant that’s how! Scott Kennedy came home in 6th in about 90 minutes, Steve Low in 8th in about 95 minutes and Alex Radford sprinted for the last 400m to be 2 seconds inside 1hr 40. Well done to them but two BVR ladies completed the race and both with outstanding performances. Lisa Simpson deserves a standing ovation. It’s her first ever half marathon and she completed it in about 2:07! Lisa, they only get easier from there, promise. Talk about picking a tough one. Our other lady, Linda Radford ran the course 3 minutes faster than last year… another race, another PB…. Nothing seems to stop her.

But beyond that we also came back with a couple of bottles of wine. Steve Low won the veterans over 50 category (yet again). Well done Steve brilliant again and John Taylor won the over 70 category, another brilliant run!

Add to those people Andy Ratcliffe just inside 1:50, Roger Bearn around 2:00 and Mark Millington also around 2:00, having their first crack at the race and Patrick Lines, Dave Porter and John Orrell having yet another go at this race. You all did a great effort and did our club proud.

I mustn’t forget our marshalling team that was there John Hogg (referee), Val Hogg, Ave Turner, and Charlie Walsh (who enjoyed the power of the car park far too much!), our timekeeper who was a star Amanda Bailey as well as Steve / Dave and John H setting out the course the day before. Thanks all, we appreciated you all being there too.

Overall its a great race and a good bit of fun, but it is unlike any other event of the year. We all highly recommend it to anyone for a go next year. Most of us will be back for another go. Will you join us for the challenge?

 

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