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Dorset Doddle – 22 August 2010

Craig Dixon reports on this Jurassic madness.

The Dorset Doddle is classed as a challenge event and is organised by the Long Distance Walkers Association. It is 32 miles along the South West Coastal Path from Weymouth to Swanage and has the ascent and descent equivalent to both Snowdon and Ben Nevis. I ran/walked this for the first time last year when I was a little naïve as to the severity of the hills and terrain. A year on and I was back and probably more nervous as I knew exactly what I was letting myself in for. I had trained less this year but had included more hills in my sessions including a long run making the most of the Wessex Ridgeway route which I hoped would stand me in good stead.

Entered to run the route was Ian, Annie and myself as well as Nigel and Jill who were planning to walk the route. We were all a bit apprehensive but at 9am in near perfect weather conditions we set off.

I intentionally set off slowly knowing that the first 1.5 miles along the seafront was going to be the easiest bit of running all day. The first checkpoint was at Osmington Mills where I was met by Claire and a bag of jelly babies.  I ran for a while with a little group that included Pete from Poole Runners, Matt from Dorset Doddlers and coincidently a lady from Canada who was getting married on the same day as me and Claire!!

The group soon split up and as the weather became worse I managed to drift off onto a range walk path that took me slightly inland and away from Kimmeridge. I had told others before the race that it was impossible to get lost and to just keep the sea on your right, however, as the mist descended the visibility became poor and I lost sight of the coast line. After realising I was on the wrong track I stopped when I reached a footpath map and made a slight detour back onto the correct path and to the checkpoint at Kimmeridge. I estimate this added an extra mile onto route.

The rain was starting to come down harder now and as the paths got muddier it became harder to run on the flats and near impossible to get up and down the hills. I was regretting wearing road shoes. I counted that I fell six times in the race and coming down some of the steep hills in mud covered trainers was bordering on dangerous.

I struggled on through the checkpoints knowing that once I got passed Chapman’s Pool there were no major hills to go. I counted over 200 steps on the ascent which I tackled in blocks of 50 with a small rest in between. 


‘Beast’ runners, imagine how stiff a challenge
these steps represent as they come more
than 20 miles into the Doddle’s course

At the final checkpoint I finally saw some other runners after being alone for quite a while. I grabbed a quick drink and tagged along with a group of three that included Pete from Poole Runners who had overtaken me when I got lost earlier. As we headed into Swanage and onto the seafront my legs were feeling better than they did last year and the final couple of miles seemed to be at a relatively decent pace.  I finished in 6 hours 40 which was 7 minutes quicker than last year.

Not far behind was Annie who was also quicker than last year and Ian next behind in a similar time to last year.

We all grabbed our pasta lunch and cups of tea which were included in the race entry and headed home. It was only afterwards that we found out that due to poor conditions that the organisers closed some of the checkpoints which meant that some of the late walkers were effectively pulled out of the race.  Fortunately this did not include Nigel and Jill who were past this point and finished in good times.

The results show that only 182 of the 250 entered actually started the race and only 146 actually finished which will be down to the poor conditions on the steep terrain.

Entry

Name

 

Start

CP2

CP3

Finish

Time

75

Craig

Dixon

9:00

11:07

12:30

15:40

6:40

77

Annie

Dougall

9:00

11:13

12:38

16:08

7:08

134

Ian

Kennedy

9:00

11:19

12:52

16:45

7:45

113

Jill

Harsent

9:00

11:41

13:30

17:41

8:41

79

Nigel

Eldred

9:00

11:42

13:41

18:02

9:02

 

182 started, 146 finished.

Fastest time 5hr 19 min

 

 

 

 

 

Median time 9 hr 45 min

 

 

 

http://www.btinternet.com/~hardy.annual/doddle.htm

 

 

 
 
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