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Tuesday 21 August 2012

The Beacon Hill Trail Run - Woodhouse Eaves near Loughborough

This is a gorgeous hilly run set in a country park and winding around the hills. I’m sure there must be a flat part to the run somewhere, but try as I might I can’t remember any flat sections at all! It’s all steep uphills and windy paths and glorious fast downhills!

The run is set mainly in woods although you come out of these on the top of the hill by the trig point and get an amazing view across Leicestershire. Although after the first mile being entirely uphill, I wasn’t really in that much of an appreciative state of mind at the time. The trails are lovely sandy paths with some uneven patches but this adds to the fun and it’s the whole point of running trails. If you want flat and boring and predictable stick to roads!

The carpark was busy but there were loads of spaces although the amount of club vests and club stickers on cars was a bit daunting. I had visions of trailing in at the back end of the race to find out that the coffee van (yes there was one but £2.50 a cup!) had run out, but it was pretty friendly and I had a few minutes to chill out with my sleeping toddler and Simon before the run and enjoy the gorgeous evening.

This run is open to canicrossers too and all the dogs started at the front of the pack and were raring to go! The dogs were howling and barking and it sounded like werewolves were being fed! I decided that they should have started the dogs at the back of the runners as the thought of that lot behind me would definitely make me run faster!

The first mile was ALL uphill. It was a gorgeous trail under tall trees and through patches of dappled evening sunlight but the trail was quite damaged and you needed to watch your step. It got progressively steeper and steeper and at one point even before the one mile mark, I was tempted to walk ... although not THAT tempted. I reminded myself that if I were feeling like this then the other people would be too and bizarrely the thought of shared misery helped me push through. I know. What happened to runner’s cameraderie?

There were people watching and cheering us on just before the final push to the top and then out of the trees and the first site of the Old Man of The Hill – the unusual rock formation on the top of Beacon Hill which looks like an old man and then the views opened up and you could see for miles!

The 2nd mile was ALL downhill which was a lovely respite from the uphill push although my legs weren’t terribly impressed with the idea of a fast run to try and make up the time from the slow up hill climb. I tried to relax myself and my arms and shoulder on my outward breaths as suggested by one of the chaps at my running club and it helped. Flew down the 2nd mile but was overtaken by a few tall runners with longer legs than me, I’d overtaken on the uphill.  One day I will  grow an extra half an inch reach the heady heights of 5“4 ...

Didn’t stop for a drink at the water station, but there were quite a few spectators cheering us on there which was lovely.  The third mile flew past in gentle up and downhills, but I was counting down towards the end of the 4th mile as I knew the last mile was all downhill! The last uphill between an avenue of trees was steep and hard but I could see runners going downhill past the wall on the other side and knew that that was the start of the last long downhill and fast stretch to the end.

Flew down the last hill but my legs were not impressed witha  mile of sprinting ... my short legs just aren’t made to go that fast! Finished with a final sprint with a burst of energy from somewhere and overtook 2 chaps in front of me and then slowed down at the finish flags ... which were 15 metres in front of the finish! Whoops!

As I came past the finish line, I was told I was the 2nd woman home too! What a lovely finish to a lovely run! And totally unexpected.  And best of all, a great big cup of coffee top finish off a really good run.
Beacon Hill Trail Run
The awesome pics by Runner Photos

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