I’ve always said that if I was ever to finish as a scoring runner in the Frostbite, it would be a dark day for Werrington Joggers. I said it in jest and certainly not to put down my abilities or effort, but more a point of view that we have so many talented runners at the club an awful lot of them would have to be absent for me to make the top ten…well, it happened. So was this a dark day?

There’s no doubting that Bourne is the ultimate test in the Frostbite season. The car park is at least a mile away, there is no clubhouse to huddle in for warmth, the toilets grow out of the ground all around you and even the grass at the start/finish area was water logged so you had to be careful where you put your bag down. Then there is the course. As with any Frostbite race you have the pressure of going as fast as you can knowing that every place counts, but at Bourne the hills are bigger and the mud is more plentiful. This superb five miler then would on a good day be challenging but given the winter rainfall it was brutal.

The start line was at the foot of a hill (which you go up) on paths that were perfectly manageable. The real feature here is the elevations, a lot of climbing over the first mile leads to a prolonged descent in the second mile, but you also hit the mud here. I enjoyed stomping through the mud so much that I accidentally went past Ann Wood, which felt wrong. She is a club legend and you should never over-take a legend during a Frostbite race, it’s just rude. It didn’t last of course, the combination of mud and hill climbing after the three mile mark soon slowed me down and order was restored as Ann scampered off into the distance. I found miles three and four really hard going, heavy under foot combined with the climbs. A half mile section of downhill (with more mud) helped restore some energy before the left turn and the last agonising climb. For the second year in a row someone threw up in front of me and I understood completely. The relief of getting over the brow of the hill and coasting down to the finish (and a Hamlyn High Five) was tangible.

I’m sure for those that weren’t there this all sounds truly horrific, but there is something to be said about endeavour overcoming hardship and the sense of achievement that it gives you. When I looked around after the race I didn’t see faces of people that regretted their decision to run, I saw smiles and heard laughs. Pre-race we adopted a dog and post-race we talked about spotting deer, some had tumbled over and all of us were covered in mud. Yes it was tough but my god we had a blast.

So, a dark day? Well no, not really. Sure finishing 11th on the day isn’t great and maybe a conversation is needed on how to improve this, but 32 Werrington Joggers went out on Sunday morning and had a real adventure together and the standard set by the ladies was excellent, hopefully their example will inspire others to take part.

Our scoring runners on the day were Jeff Lucas, Ellie Swire, Phil Hamlyn, Jeremy Green, Chris Phillips, Sadie Boor, Ann Wood, Rodney Hall, Ian Humphries and Simon Gilbey. Well done also to the junior runners who took part, it was great to see.

The final race is at Jubilee Park, Huntingdon on the 1st March and it is a club championship race. It’s also the same week I’m scheduled for a twenty four mile marathon training run. Not sure how that’s going to work yet, but I’m sure I’ll figure it out.