14 mile Meon Valley run in the wind and rain, followed by a visit to the hospital !!

This 2 minute video hopefully sums up the “buzz” we all got from a morning in the countryside.

I wish a speedy recovery to Paul Coates who needed stitches to a gash in his knee. This kind of injury doesn’t happen very often and thankfully it was in the last half mile of our fourteen, so we could get going to QA hospital and “wait” for him to be seen to. Paul was, in true form, escorting the last lady back to the finish when he slipped and cut his knee, both palms and both elbows. A speedy response by Teresa with her medical supplies stemmed the blood and a quick thinking dash to his car from Phil meant we drove the last few hundred meters. Paul remained calm and in control which is to his credit, as I’m sure it hurt.

Having said that we had a great run up and down grassy fields and narrow lanes. We ran to the top of ridges with strong winds blowing and the rain coming down. Some narrow tracks and paths had changed into streams, what with the recent rain, but this was quite useful to wash off the mud we had also collected. In short we had a variety of terrain to negotiate while running through ever changing weather. The one constant throughout the morning was that we all loved it.

Ten of us set off at 9.30am from the Sustainability Centre, 3 Crusaders, me Paul and Howard Stinton, then we had our two recce organisers, Phil and Teresa, Catherine and Katie from Liss Runners, two runners from Eastleigh and two ladies from further afield i.e. Bournemouth and Salisbury. I’d have a stab at names but I’m terrible at remembering them so rather than getting them wrong lets just say we had great company. I would have written everyone’s names down at the end but we needed to get into dry clothes then I could drive Paul to A&E in his car !! …… “funny old game”.

Today was a day for waterproof jackets and a sense of humour. Runs like these really do help to familiarise you with the course, the conditions and what your strategy will be on race day, and for that a big thank you must go to Phil and Teresa. Our fellow runners spanned a mixture of abilities so looping back was a feature of the day as it’s important everyone feels they are part of the group and no one should feel they need to apologise. Running in these conditions requires many skills, stability, quick thinking, good reactions and the decision making of where to plant your next stride, while considering the following two or three at the same time 🙂 I’m sure my fellow runners would agree, off road running is both quite technical and hugely rewarding.

Route wise I don’t have too many references to sight as the fields, tracks, lanes and hills do tend to roll into one long colourful countryside adventure. Some notable moments were the strength of the wind on the high ground, the chalky ravine at the back of Butser hill ( a MVP favourite), the 300 metres of flooded lane that was above our ankles and the long/hard drag up Harvesting Lane (108m elevation, google maps link) which was a real leg burner. Huge thanks to Paul for bringing his waterproof camera, I hope my edit of his videos and photos puts across how much we enjoyed the morning.

I’ve no idea what time we did the 14 miles in and to be honest it didn’t matter, what we did was rise to all the challenges that the terrain and nature could throw at us and by in large we were the victors 🙂 I can safely say that todays run and my bowl of soup both gave me a warm feeling of satisfaction. Well done one and all 🙂

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