Sunday 28th January 2018 – by Helen Sanderson
Entering this year’s Longleat 10k was a bit of a late decision for me having entered a week before the event. However my timing was perfect given that my allotted number was 1234; a doddle to remember at the registration point and anything that makes life easier is fine by me!
Jane and I left a drizzly Shrewton to arrive at a drizzly Longleat in good time before the start time. Is it just me but where does the time go from arriving to starting to line up?
By the time we had registered, pinned on numbers, had the ubiquitous loo visit there was just time for a quick warm up and we were lining up on Lord Bath’s driveway at the front of Longleat House. (Not sure I’d be keen on having over a 1000 lycra clad runners invading my front garden on a Sunday morning …so Thank you Longleat).
After a bit of stop / starting at the beginning I was soon off properly and gearing up (mentally) for the first hill through the aptly named High Woods. This hill is really quite soon after the start and it is steep so I soon got warmed up. Once at the top of the hill the route takes you to Horningsham village and past the Bath Arms then you are running downhill and a left hand turn takes you to the top of Lodge Drive with Longleat House at the far end.
Safari so good!( come on – it is Longleat). By now I was in a good rhythm and enjoying the run and atmosphere. For me this is the best bit about running, when it is going well and you feel you are in control. At this point I started to think about my post run meal – always a motivating factor for me!
A steady run down Lodge Drive and then to the side of the house, going past the caravan park and then time to tackle the second hill. Here I swapped the meal planning for my uphill running mantra of “push, push, push”. A very welcome drinks station at the top marked the halfway point.
And so what or who goes up must come down, meant some welcome downhill running through the Longleat estate before repeating the first loop and the High Woods hill.
By now I was flagging a bit and had renamed the hill to something I am sure Ordnance Survey would definitely not approve of! A booming shout of ‘ Come on Shrewton’ from behind me (no hiding when you are wearing a club vest) gave me that much needed boost to up the effort and run the last bit of the hill. From here it was easier and once at the top of the Drive with the end in sight it was all downhill from there.
A steady run and final push and I was over the line having knocked almost three minutes off my time for last year’s race.
Longleat 10k is a great race to kickstart the racing year off. It is a hilly course but the setting and final run towards the house is a great reward for the hard work.
Oh … and the post run meal was delicious!