West Wycombe Trails 10k is just the second year running by Hazlemere Runners, a local running club. Unfortunately, I had to skip it last year because I had reached the middle of my pregnancy and felt I was ready to wait until my son Alex was born. So I was looking forward to picking it up in June.
Although not an official club event, quite a few of us represented Marlow Striders at this event. I also noticed my friends Brie and Dom and another lady named Jenny, who I worked with a couple of years ago and who I had never seen before! It was great to see so many familiar faces. My hubby Simon kindly agreed to accompany me and the nanny Alex while running. Little did he know that babysitting for Alex was just one of his tasks that day – as soon as the event organizers spotted him walking around with his huge professional camera, Simon was a "volunteer" who is an additional event photographer! (I think she secretly felt throbbing).
It happened to be a really hot day, but luckily the sun decided to hide behind the clouds so that we didn't eventually become Sunday food. We started with a fun group warm-up led by Leanne Wellings, who I had met in my gym and recently started my running training company, and Nina Turner, who taught bootcamp and Pilates lessons at the gym before going solo.
The first mile of the race was driven in the grassy park itself, giving us a tour of the picturesque areas. West Wycombe Park has always been one of my favorite National Trust places in the immediate vicinity – known as one of the most beautiful English country houses and it has been the home of the Dashwood family for over 300 years. The 45-acre, landscaped park house often features television shows and films such as Downton Abbey, Sense and Senibility, Little Dorrit and The Duchess. In addition, Paloma Faith performed some scenes on her hit song "Picking Up The Pieces".
This first segment of the park, mentioned above, contained a so-called "bottle neck" that we used to run across a small, continuous bridge over a large jet of water; but some people who wanted to get ahead decided to dive into the water instead. Personally, I hate running with wet socks, so I chose the bridge instead. Immediately after leaving the park, with thighs high above the big cannonballs, running on untreated grass, I hit the first big hill as the next penalty!
The real challenge was the landscape
myself – I've been doing a lot of steep races lately, so there are steady ups and downs
didn't come to my feet in shock, but nothing prepared me for it
runs so much in tall grass and constantly needs brakes
insanely steep downhills to stop me from drumming! Take it
as a warning – if you have problems with your ankles and knees, you might want to do this
sit it out. Otherwise, prepare for some breathtaking views
surrounded by mountains and the iconic Wycombe Wanderers Stadium! I am
not sure how much of the route went through private property, but certainly
want to go back and explore more paths in this forest.
We saw some of them during the race
riders on bridges, it turns out that West Wycombe is a popular area
riding. Friendly Marshal Prevents "Free Power"
pulling us to the side of the race that we can hold high in fifth place
by him. It put a big smile on my face and I managed to catch it
again the pace.
Going back to the park for the last part was a real highlight as we glorified past the giant riding sculpture erected from the house at the center of a long tree-lined viewpoint. As soon as I got to the bottom of this mountain, I caught a glimpse of Simon holding Alex and a couple of Striders who had already finished. Seeing them made me smile until I had to rub my teeth again a moment later as I was facing the final grass hill just before the finish line … I dug deep and used the last drop of energy in my tank to deal with the monster. in front. Somehow, I was able to reach the finish line, keeping my friend Briet in my eyes all the time as a moving target (he was about 200m ahead of me throughout the race). I was ready to fall just before the finish line, which also happened a little uphill unless Becky from my running club called me for a challenge! Becky and I had been running alongside each other and playing "catch me if you can" during the competition, so it was great to finish together. He told me he had doubts that he could have run so fast if he hadn't glued me to himself – it was great to be able to help someone run in a good time. I really went all out, which was a bold (or probably stupid) move just a week before my next ultramarathon challenge, which is off the Jurassic coast in Devon. (Luckily, I didn't get any skins after that race).
In general, I can wholeheartedly recommend this run to those who enjoy scenic runs and who want to push their running game on the test hills and surfaces. But definitely not use it as a warm-up just before the ultra-😉
When would your last race be before the key event? Would you take a break to fully rest or warm up an engine like I did in this race?
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