Race Report by Iain Osborne
Having signed up for my first trail half marathon in February, Over the hills was my first trail race as part of the build up.
Registered and bag safely stowed away, it was time for a catch up, team photos and then off to the start.
The race started with the traditional firework, and then the whippets flew off into the distance, leaving the rest of us to ease into the race. The first couple of miles were along the river and then up to the canal, a little bit of mud down by the river, but other than that an easy start to the race.
2 miles in and we were off the paths and into the fields and woods, heading for the village of Freshford. After a brief up hill section, we headed over towards the first real challenge.
The race is called Over the Hills for a reason and we were about to meet the first of the big hills.
The hill up to the A36 is a lung buster at the best of times, and was made harder by the wet and slippery footings with rocks and tree roots covered by leaves. With this done, it was time for a quick drink and then time to steel myself for the next challenge.
So, it was back down hill and into the valley again, which meant one thing, we’d be going back up hill soon, but there was one thing in the way first.
The route took us over to Iford, where we find the infamous river crossing. Due to the lack of rain in the build up, the river was lower than in previous years, but it still looked decidedly Chilli. After my attempts to get the young Marshal to give me a piggy back across failed, there was only one thing for it, time to jump in. The water was shin deep, not too cold, and definitely good fun.
Out the other side and with squelching feet in sodden shoes, it was time to take on the second big hill. The route takes you into the grounds of Iford Manor and then winds it way up the hill to the main road at the top.
With the hill smashed, it was a short road section and then a path over to Westwood, and down hill to the finish.
Once back at Avoncliffe, it was along the canal and then too the finish at the Tythe Barn, and the ubiquitous coffee and cake.
This is a great little race as either a first step into the dirty world of trail running, or a nice Sunday morning run catching up with friends. There was some great running by all the Chillis, from the top spots to PBs at the back.
For me, I met all my goals; run up the hills; don’t come last and have fun. With a 2 minute PB to boot, it was definitely a successful morning. Bring on the Slaughterford 9!!