A gap came in my calendar and with the lure of a fantastic medal I couldn’t resist a trip down Telford way for another of Denzil’s friendly races. It is a course I haven’t done before and with it being a straight out and back course I wasn’t expecting too much from it, how surprised I was. I’ve been to Telford running a few on Denzil’s races over the years and have come to realize the area is very pretty with lovely countryside with more than its fair share of trees. The valley with the River Severn running though it and the picturesque old English village of Coalport are particularly lovely. The Guardians of the COD RC started and finished at Coalport’s quaint village hall. In the lovely bright early autumn sunshine the village with its old brick cottages and autumn colours in the trees looked particularly beautiful. It was so nice that after the race I enjoyed eating my sandwiches while other runners went to the café at the nearby YHA. The place is so peaceful and pretty I wasn’t in any rush to leave and go home.
Anyhow back to the race, as I said the course is a simple out and back and was well marked but this didn’t end up being as simple as we all first thought. The course followed a footpath from Coalport to Telford, where it threaded its way through Telford keeping us off the roads and away from the traffic. It then turned north and east of the town and back into some pleasant countryside. The route is known as the Silkin Way. There was only about 50 runners and some were doing the half so turning back earlier than us doing the full marathon. Very soon after the start I was with the front runners being led by a half runner who had run the event last year. What could go wrong? Well we only did 3 miles before missing an arrow to the left and continued straight ahead. We went past a park with full size replica dinosaurs in it. I don’t know about Guardians of the Galaxy it was more like Doctor Who and going back in time or Jurassic World! The 3 of us who had gone wrong finally realised there was no white arrows and we needed to retrace our steps. We finally got back on track but had run an extra 1.3 miles and were now last!
There was lots of points of interest to see as I ran and the route certainly never became boring, lots of the route was tree lined which with the autumn coloured leaves, blue sky and bright sunshine was glorious. There were lots of interesting bridges and tunnels, parkland, woodland with ponds and small lakes, we even crossed a very interesting dis-used narrow canal with a derelict lock which looked ever so interesting with nature growing all over it. There was a round house with castle turrets on the top which looked like ruck in a chess game, I was told later it had been a windmill. There was another similar brick building hiding in the woods. I wished I had taken my mobile so I could have taken so photos to share with you but sadly I didn’t. Even though we came back exactly the same way it all looked very different so everything stayed fresh and interesting.
I had a fairly good paced first half but with the extra mileage from going the wrong way, this race was never going to have a good time. I could feel a slight pull in my left calf so decided to take the second half slower, there was no chance of a sub 3:30, especially with the course being fairly undulating. I just decided to enjoy the scenery and the weather. I finally finished in 3 hour 57 mins 8 seconds, not spectacular but ok considering I ran 27.5 miles. Interestingly I came third and all 3 of us had done some “Bonus Mileage” as Denzil kindly put it!
Many thanks to Denzil and his team for another lovely friendly event with an absolutely awesome medal!