Race Date: Monday 27th March 2023
Clocks go forward, lighter nights means the first sign of Spring – always indicated by the start of the Trunce series. Race 2 is Monday 17th April. Can we get a bigger Striders turnout?
Report from Michael Ingham
After the dreary winter days and evenings, the clocks finally sprung forward to British Summer Time and in the time honoured tradition Monday’s first race of the Trunce season was upon us. I’d not run it since 2019 which was the only time in over 40 years that I was able to run all 9 in a season. The perks of retirement ! Holidays and worse, having to work always meant a few races missing. Covid & shielding then meant that on its return in 2022 I gave it a miss but with things settling down I was keen to get the 1st race done this year. Can’t run ‘em all if you miss the first.
The evening was a bit dull and even though the sun appeared briefly on the journey to Oxspring the 1st race is always known for a quickly setting sun, much to the annoyance of the excellent photographers who give up their time to capture as many pictures as they can before the light fades. One of life’s mysteries is how much difference the 3 weeks to race 2 makes to the evening light. A bit more later on this phenomenon.
The course was new to me but had been amended in 2022 due to landowners concerns so now starts and finishes on the trail path up by the old railway bridge. Great I thought, misses out that dreadful run up to the bridge and a sudden climb on the turn with runners jostling for position. Instead a very nice tarmac run to the new right turn up to a track. Some would call it a road ! It’s then a left turn onto to the old course, a trail which tonight was very muddy and full of uninviting puddles though I have run it when fully flooded.
The 1st farm is soon upon everyone then a steady run to the queue at the gate. This enables a rest & recovery while waiting for a turn at the gate. The description of the Trunce states that anyone trying to jump the fence to the side of the gate to gain a little ground and a few places is likely to be pelted with rocks ! It’s here I suddenly realise I’m in last place with the tail running mountain rescue chap very close behind. From here it’s steeply downhill on a very narrow and tonight muddy trail. This leads to the fun part of the Trunce, getting the feet wet. It’s the 1st river crossing and usually a place where the feet barely get wet. I’ve made up a place and now 2nd last. Tonight the river was well over the ankles so gave an indication of what was to come. I had a couple of newbies with me and one asked if it was better to use the stepping stones. I said no, in any case the stones are well buttered and slipping and falling into the river is more of a probability than a possibility. Anyone thinking about it for next time, check out Steve Mozzie Frith’s pictures this week and you’ll see the confirmation. On the plus side, falling into the river is always guaranteed to have your photo taken and quickly posted on the Trunce Facebook group.
The race from here (with wet feet) is onto the easy Old Mill Lane though not for too long as the stile to a field soon approaches and drops back to the river but there’s a narrow concrete bridge to run across here. Next comes the hill ! A gut buster if ever there was one and even when the top it seems is reached and a stile is climbed it’s onto little more than a rock filled mountain side to contend with. At the top you’re suddenly able to breathe in lots of fresh air and for me a change to the original route. Instead of running along a path to a farmers field and a steady run to recover, it’s now left to a very narrow, and for race 1, muddy path that the early runners have chewed up which angles away that convinces you that a tumble down the hillside is a possibility. Seeing the farmers field immediately on the right reminds me how much easier that part of the course used to be.
The field and the path soon leads to the cattle grid which in the past had to be tip toed across but now is missed with a jump across a gap in the ground to the road. Despite the rough surface the downhill has runners picking up the pace before crossing another stile and field to the ‘hole in the wall’ ! From here care has to be taken as it’s steeply downhill on a very narrow and tonight slippery slope to the 2nd river crossing. Here was the gem of the Trunce. Down the hill one could hear how fast flowing the river was at this point and the ankle deep water at crossing one confirmed what was to come. I’d told my newbies that there is a bit of a shelf into the river but a few steps across and it usually shin high but occasionally up to the knees. Tonight it was waste high for some. Up to the privates for me. There was a group of 6 ahead slowing making their way across so there was no rush to overtake here and win a few places as in the past. Still we all made it and it was on to the climb past the farm which by now for us back markers was very wet and muddy from the deposits of the early runners.
Now the easy bit. Back onto Old Mill Lane for a steady half mile or so back on proper ground and passing the Trunce’s best supporters once more, Margaret & Brian who turn out in all weathers to give encouragement to the runners along with a few spins of a rattle and still there giving encouragement to us back markers. After here it’s back down to the river and an easy place to miss. I’m informed a few did miss it tonight. One of my newbie runners who stuck with me tonight would have missed it. I had to call him back ! Nice and easy across the river one last time and a change to the course for me. Instead of back up the hill to the gate it was a left turn to return on the same route as the juniors race for the return. If anything, this was the toughest part of the whole run. What a climb ? A beast, and again not helped by the water deposited by the other runners. At the top it’s over a stile to the relief of a road of sorts and now retracing the steps of the outbound route. Downhill and back to the relief of a tarmac finish in what was now dark but only noticeable when finished. Strange how you don’t notice it’s dark while running. A few more places made up I finished 4th from the back and to a new personal worst. The best part ? I throughly enjoyed my Trunce return and can’t wait for race 2.
With apologies to members age categories. The Trunce works in its own way. The categories are run in 10 year range not by 5’s. I know only too well as in 2019 I was up against men 9 years and some months younger than me. Where it lists a VM with no number I take it that it’s 40 but doesn’t state that. On the plus side for me now well over 70 there aren’t as many runners so I scored a tidy 18 points for my lowly position !
287 runners for the first one of this year’s series. The male race was won by Ben Malcolm (unattached) in 27.15. The female race was won by Naomi Drakeford of Barnsley AC in 32.10. Well done to the 9 Striders in attendance.
|60||Paul Remmer||M Vet||34.19|
|71||Keith Bell||M Vet||35.38|
|80||Malcolm Baggaley||M Vet||36.27|
|114||Helen Royles Jones||F||39.26|
|252||Steve Blake||M Vet||53.48|
|271||Philippa Moorhead||FV 50||57.16|
|284||Michael Ingham||MV 70||1.03.01|
Full Results: http://www.trunce.org/results/