Grand Shaftesbury Run – 27 May 2012
Pete Kingswell-Farr reports.
The start and finish lines were near to St Giles House which is under
The inaugural Great Shaftesbury Run in 2011 saw almost 500 runners take
on half marathon and 10k courses around the Earl of Shaftesbury’s Estate
in Wimborne St Giles. ‘The Great…Run’ has been trademarked so this
year’s event was renamed the Grand Run to avoid stepping on toes!
The driving wind and torrential rain last year made both courses very
challenging. As a relative newcomer to this running bug, I attempted to
plod my way round the 10k course in a semi-respectable time. One year on
and the weather conditions couldn’t be more different, not a hint of a
breeze and temperatures in excess of 25 ̊C. From one extreme to
another! Three weeks ago I really felt that I could produce a good time
on this 10K, last week I was thinking, ok, change of weather maybe it
won’t be my best but surely not my worst time for a 10k and on Sunday
morning I was thinking I’d be lucky even to get round!
This really is a multi-terrain course around the picturesque estate.
Starting at the avenue of beech trees in front of St Giles House, which
is being renovated, the course leads you round and through a number of
fields where stubble from recently cut crops, vehicle tracks, and well
used bridleways are a sample of the under-foot terrain. A
well-positioned water station at about 3k was a sight to behold. Next
came welcomed relief from the sun as we entered the beautiful historic
woodlands. The sanctuary of the woodlands was not to last long enough
and we were soon skirting round fields admiring more of the spectacular
scenery. Footpaths led down to Manor Farm and the day’s first strides on
tarmac. The second water station was located at the 6k mark and at the
start of the climb via a gravel and flint track up to Harley Down. This
climb lasted for what seemed like a kilometre and drained the energy
levels further, helped by the full force of the sun. Far-reaching views
that greeted you at the summit across Cranborne Chase are stunning. I
know this from memory as by now visibility had reduced to a few metres
with sweat cascading from my forehead!
What goes up must come down and I am pleased to say the steady descent
still on gravel tracks to the third and final watering hole provided a
well needed opportunity to recover. Back on roads through the village of
Wimborne St Giles for the last couple of kilometres and the beech avenue
finish line was in sight. The final push and a glance at the time of
55mins confirmed how tough I found these conditions.
Pete with his hard-earned medal
Before I was able to be disappointed about my time, family and friends
were on hand to offer me suitable words of encouragement and a generous
quantity of recovery liquid. I view the medal hanging around my neck
with a sense of achievement. I got out there and did it. My entrance fee
supported the three official event charities: - Wings for Life, The
Philip Green Memorial School and the Sparkle Appeal. I have seen some
incredible parts of this amazingly beautiful county, parts I wouldn’t
normally get to see and I’m sharing the tale of this run, good and bad,
with new friends who share the same crazy desire to run. The post run
relaxation in the grounds of St Giles House complete with Palmers beer,
ice cream, a burger van, music from the Bavarian Strollers, tea and cake
etc. all made for a ‘grand’ family day out. So bring on the next one,
and the one after that. I’m not worried about the weather, the course or
the terrain, only a slight hesitation about the distance but not for
long! Keep on runnin’!