How many races have a tree lined avenue leading to the finish, registration in the grounds of a hotel and glorious parkland to run through …. Goodwood 5 miler had this just for starters !! I think we’ll all be familiar with the motor racing and horse racing that Goodwood offers but up and till a few weeks ago I didn’t realise you could experience the glorious parkland that the estate offers.
As if all of the above wasn’t enough there’s a hill involved in the 5 miles too !! We all know I love a good hill so when I read that the iconic motor racing hill climb features as 1.2 miles of the course then my £14 entry fee for a Monday evening race was assured.
The perfectly cut lawns behind the hotel presented the evenings first surprise, an amazing marque that’s presumably used for either social gatherings or weddings.
The Salomon sponsorship was immediately noticeable with the flags and very cool deckchairs. After registering it was also noticeable that there would be entertainment and food afterwards if you’d chosen that entry fee option (£27). The circular marque bar was another feature I wouldn’t normally experience on one of my typical off road races.
So, “was any running happening” … I hear you say ?? ….. Yes 🙂
I warmed up along the tree lined avenue that extended for probably the best part of half a mile and it was noticeable that I hardly recognised any local club runners from the Southampton / Portsmouth area. The majority of the 230 clubs runners were from Sussex and for this reason alone that’s why I’m writing this blog to encourage others to run next year. The largest club participation seemed to be the Tuff Fitty Triathlon club.
The first out and back mile or so was on smooth tarmac with parkland and golf course that stretched out for miles. The nature of this “out and back” also meant lots of encouragement in both directions from all the running abilities. At about 1.5 miles in we passed Goodwood House and then started the hill climb. This photo was after the race as I just had to have a snap of the “Big House” !!
The old flint walls near the big house followed the road up quite a reasonable incline. With the road twisting it also meant you weren’t aware just where the top of the hill was so this added to the psychological as well as physical challenge. The tree lined section opened up to present us with a view of the horse racing pavilion in the distance. Once at the top of the hill a short section of grass was then followed by re-joining the road downhill from where we’d come.
Knowing you have about a mile and three quarters left that’s downhill or flat really makes you work your lungs to the maximum and as we hit the home straight it was a case of counting down the ancient trees to the finish line.
I was pleased with 85th out of 226 on a humid evening. One final “Goodwood” touch was the golf kart at the finish which I also couldn’t resist a photo of.
Tonight was an unusual location with a completely different atmosphere to almost any other race I’ve done and I’ll certainly return next year, hopefully with others from Hampshire and my Fareham Crusaders club.
Thank you Goodwood for great run.