We woke up to perfect racing weather – blue skies, sunshine and a sparkly white layer of frost. When I say ‘we’ I mean of course Paul and I. Beanie and Biggles grumbled about the noise then snuggled more deeply under the covers to grab an extra 40 winks.
After a quick breakfast we headed back to the Grizedale Forest to collect our racing bibs and and attend the pre-race briefing. If I’d been concerned about the race beforehand I was even more worried when the organisers dropped the bombshell that it was in fact a 6k race (not 5k) and that it was rather hilly! The best I’d done in training runs was 4k on very flat ground. My biggest worry was that Beanie and I would be last over the finish line and that everyone would be waiting for us to finish so they could pack up and go home.
Eventually the race got underway. Competitors start at 8 second intervals and ordering is according to age and gender (that’s human age and gender – not the dogs). Paul and Biggles’ race number was 26 and Beanie and I were 41 so they set off about three minutes ahead of us. Paul had the video camera with him so the plan was that he’d film bits of his and Biggles race then catch me and Beanie at the finish line.
The route took us along forest tracks and trails and our effort was rewarded with stunning views. Every so often you’d turn a corner or reach the brow of a hill to see a stunning panorama of mountains bathed in golden sunlight. The hills were tough going and it seemed a very long 6k, but eventually we heard the cheers and music at the finish line and managed to find the energy to sprint to the finish line in a very respectable time of 43 minutes. But no sign of Paul and Biggles. We waited around for a bit then headed back to the car – maybe they’d gone to switch cameras? No sign. We headed back to the finish line just in time to see Paul and Biggles crossing the line slowly looking very dejected (well, Paul did anyway). They were last, and to make matters worse everyone was cheering and shouting encouragement as if Paul was some poor old codger having his first run.
It turned out that Paul had made a wrong turn and did an extra 4k. To make matters worse, at the point where he should have turned off the main track onto a rough path up a hill side the main track went steeply down hill for quite a distance. Paul and Biggles flew down the hill making great time only to have to turn around and complete the hard slog back up a couple of kilometers later.
So, Beanie and I weren’t last. But Paul and Biggles got the last laugh. There were only two teams entered in their category so Paul and Biggles got a second place prize and substantially more points than Beanie and I…..despite being last overall!
The video of Paul and Biggles race:
After the race we went back to the Cafe in the Forest for lunch (outside this time!) then another nice, long walk through the forest to stretch out all of our muscles before the trip home.
For most of the walk Beanie and Biggles squabled about who’d ran the fastest in the race:
We walked for about 10k and still only covered a tiny fraction of the marked trails in the forest.
We’ve got another cani-cross race soon in Fife. We’re all looking forward to it!