23rd December 2012.
For the Christmas period this year a group of 12 of us are staying in a mansion in Torquay. Selma managed to find the place and it is pretty swish with a billiard room, chandeliers and a sweeping staircase. To avoid the usual over indulgence is was decided that the Christmas break would be an active one with runs, walks and a “Military Fitness Style” session on Christmas Day.
We also booked ourselves into the Torrington Christmas Caper held on the Sunday before Christmas. I have been really looking forward to it because it has a reputation for being very hilly and very very muddy. Sadly I damaged my calf muscle doing a fast little run in Greenwich Park on the Friday morning and was worried about entering it. I decided to go ahead with loads of Ibroprufen gel and a compression bandage. I promised myself to run through discomfort but to stop at pain. There were 350 people at the start and it wasn’t raining, although it had rained heavily the day before.
The River Torridge was in full flood. There was a great local atmosphere with most people knowing each other and a lot of runners dressed as fairies. However even in fancy dress they did look like a serious bunch of runners with quite a few people wearing tee shirts from Ultra Races. The start gun went at about 11:11am and we seemed to run downhill for a long way. That obviously means having to run uphill a long way too. It is a bit disheartening running behind a fairy and not being able to overtake! It wasn’t long before the race began to live up to it’s reputation with fairies and Santa’s wading thigh deep through muddy flooded roads. I like these conditions and my left leg was holding up well so we continued and a moderate pace. The race is only 9.5 miles so the half way jelly babies and water came nice and early. My second jelly baby got splashed with mud but in it went in any case. The second half was more hilly and had a little sting in its tail. At a checkpoint about 8 miles in they directed us over a fence and down what I can only describe as a deep muddy gully with a mini torrent in the bottom.
Then there was a pretty tough long climb over soft heavy ground. Bizarrely my bad leg was great but by now my good leg was playing up with exactly the same thing. I wasn’t sure if I could run through it but I reduced the pace a bit and carried on. It finally packed up as I crossed the finish line with John. Now I just hope it will recover quickly so I can enjoy the rest of the Christmas activities
I’m not sure what our time was because we forgot to look but around 1hr 35 minutes seems to be the nearest guess. Thanks to all the organisers and marshalls for making it such a fun race.
We ended up in the Black Horse Torrington for a well earned lunch. Little Anna (3 years) entertained the whole pub by confidently, calmly and clearly explaining that she wants a pink tortoise for Christmas. They wished her luck.
The actual result was 1hr 31min 26 seconds. There seemed to be 215 finishers so I doubt my 350 starter figure was correct.
The full results for the Torrington Christmas Caper are below: