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Dartmoor Discovery 32.2

Sat June 2 2007 Listed by Binks
6 Entrants Club PB SB Pred Time WAVA
Binks Serpentine RC 4:55:01 4:55:01 4:55:01 52.19
BlueWombat 5:30 if things go well. But who knows, with this one? Unknown territory for me (in terms of distance, Dartmoor will bring back many childhood memories). I know the theory, let's see the practise now. What have I done?!
Well, 5:30 was absolutely out of the question, and predicted without knowledge of the course, but I am pleased as punch to have finished and to have managed it in under 6 hours. What a lovely event, I had so many friendly conversations with folk along the way and really enjoyed myself. The last 5 miles took an hour, but I guess that goes with the territory.
Dartmoor Discovery started at 9:30 last Saturday. I combined it with a visit to my folks, who live in South Devon. Had a good night's sleep the night before, amazingly, and set off from their place at around 7:20. The roads were clear and by 8am I was driving through the clouds that were wrapped around Princetown. Quickly registered, collected some safety pins, and made my way to the Fox Cafe where I had a second breakfast of scrambled egg on toast, plus a couple of cups of coffee. Excellent, especially since I'd weaned myself off coffee the last few weeks to try and make the most of it when I do take it pre run. I still had some time to spare so went back to the car, got changed and settled down to radio 4 for a while.

It was soon 9:20, so I roused myself and switched on the garmin, which promptly told me that the battery had run out. So I took it off, along with chest strap, and searched for my watch among my cast off clothes so I would have some measure of how I was doing. Made my way to the start, among 170 or so other runners, having decided that it was warm enough for singlet rather than long sleeves, despite the low cloud. I wore my Fetch top so I was quickly identified by a couple of forumites ... Pit Stop Crew and Bobo, along with Mr Mac who was also running. I hung around at the back of the crowd with them as the start was announced, and off we trotted at a very gentle pace, chatting away.

The course went away from Princetown down a small incline (which somehow transformed into a major peak on the return at 32 miles) and some further hills towards Poundgate and Dartmeet. At 6 miles we hit the first major hill, and everyone around me stopped running and started walking ... keen to preserve as much energy as possible. The downhill on the other side was fairly steep too, as my quads are still telling me. Got chatting to three runners from Blackheath club and ran/babbled along with them, as well as Mr Mac and Bobo as the fantastic Dartmoor scenery was unveiled beneath the cool clouds. The conditions were perfect and the running was fantastic.

I took a gel every 7 miles or so, and some SiS watermelon flavoured energy drink that I actually quite liked. The water stations were staffed by cadets and other volunteers, and they did a great job. 13 miles marked Ashburton, and the lowest point on the course. Running through the town centre after being up on the moor was a real contrast, and the long long hill (2 miles) out of Ashburton was steep enough that much of it was walked. Then on to the beautiful village of Buckland in the Moor, the half way point. I had been running something like 10 m/m for the first 20k, but the third 10k went a bit slower, with that long hill.

From there it was back up onto open moor and Widecombe. The strategy of starting slow enough to chat worked well, as I was now beginning to pass people who were beginning to flag. There was another big hill before Widecombe, with very narrow lanes and high Devon hedges, making negotiating several landrovers etc a bit of a pain. Then another very steep downhill into the village before a bit more up out the other side, passing a wedding on the way. I was looking for the 40k mark and it seemed a long time coming. In fact, it didn't exist, but the marathon was marked and I was feeling not too bad at this point, but now on my own, and not so keen on talking to anyone anyway. More puffing than talking. The route finally came onto the A road that led from Postbridge, through Two Bridges, back to Princetown. There was a Cambridge & Coleridge AC, Cambridge University Hare & Hounds 5:15:00 5:51:13 5:30:00 5:51:13 46.50
Deadbeat 100 Marathon Club, Wimborne AC 5:07:05 5:07:05 5:07:05 51.56
jeronimo 100 Marathon Club, Wimborne AC 4:17:54 4:17:54 4:17:54 62.30
Self D Unaffiliated 4:51:21 4:54:05 4:54:05 52.37
Yog-Sothoth Dartmoor wasn't the blazing furnace that it was last June, but the race was still super-tuff! This is an event that commands respect, and quite a few people who had paced it as a marathon were to be seen shuffling and limping the last six miles back to Princetown. Me? I was as fresh as a daisy (and if you believe that...).

Hope all the PB Betters that backed me have fun spending their virtual winnings!

;-x Unaffiliated 4:37:00 4:37:00 4:40:00 4:37:00 58.48

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