Wimborne Athletic Club

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WACers in the pink – The Grizzly 13 March 2010

The slurry, the pipes, the bog, the stairway to heaven and the final twist! Paul Hougham reports.

After ‘The Beast’ last year it was a question of what next? Well, after all we had heard, it was obvious – the 20 mile Grizzly.  I must admit, after all the speculation about the race, it was probably two to three times more punishing than I imagined …. whoopee!!

Seaton is a lovely place (very scenic) and there had obviously been great efforts made in organizing the race. A good atmosphere. The marshals were excellent all the way around. A big thank you goes out to them.

Georgina, Annemarie, Terry and I had been training up for this race since before Christmas and we were all up for it on the day. The weather on the day of the race was excellent and we could not have asked for more. The sun was out, the sky was blue and low winds (excepting a cold easterly).

On the day we were joined in our running group by Carol (a bit of a dark horse).  She got a last minute place and made a guest appearance.  Well done Carol.

Ian, Carol, Stewart, Andy, Annemarie, Georgie and Paul on the start line

The race started along the promenade and then turned onto the first stretch of shingle beach. A bit of a pain, but nothing to be concerned about (I only wish I had held this thought until the end).  We went around a boatyard and then back along the promenade. At 1 mile we were at the finish line.  We then proceeded out of Seaton towards what I thought was Beer, but I didn’t find any! The hills were mostly steep and a lot of the time we found ourselves running along slopes at cross gradients on uneven ground. This was a bit harsh.

Terry descends into Beer

Special points of interest were as follows:

The slurry! – Approaching one pair of gates the ground was all churned up into slurry.  It was obvious from the smell that this was no normal mud and definitely consisted of a high level of methane. I can validate this for, at the end of the race, my trainers that usually smell to high heaven, smelt of something out of this world. Even the salt water seemed to do little to alleviate the smell.

The bagpipe player! Could be heard from just about everywhere and, how should I put this, I was in enough pain and, had I been armed, I would have shot him! Mind you, for some reason, there were various musically acts littered all around the course.  Violin players, small bands, bongo players and even a didgeridoo.  Perhaps we could introduce more musical acts around the Wimborne 10 – any suggestions?

Nigel catches the group in the woods

The bog – We were advised that the bog was at 12 miles and we found it.  Nothing really to worry about.  After this we went through a stream where Annemarie and Terry took the opportunity to clean off a bit. 

This isn’t the bog

However, this proved to be slightly premature as the bog we had found was not ‘The Bog’, if you know what I mean.  A short time later we found the real one! The signs were unmistakable.  At the start, skeletons, and also a rope to hold onto.  It was actually quite an amusing experience – it was messy and went on for some time and, as with all bogs, a queue! 

This is the bog!

Coming out of the bog was also quite amusing as the ‘nice’ route up the first slope was on a grass area to the right but, for some reason, Georgie (who is related but for some reason does not share my brain capacity) went up the slippery muddy left-hand side. Carole also went up the left side. I am not sure whether this was in error, or to save Georgie. In any case it resulted in a lot of giggling, screaming and slipping. Also, a short time later, Carol found herself playing ‘doggie’ on all fours on a muddy slope (and yes I did get the photo – see below). Woof!

Carol, down, but not out

The Stairway to Heaven – Basically lots and lots of steps to the top of a cliff.  To be honest, I was looking forward to the cliff as the preceding section of race had been our second venture onto a pebble beach (the little bit where we ran through some water does not count). 

I now know how my grandad must have felt during the D-Day landings …. I just wanted to get off the bloody beach! There was one section near the top of the cliff where the path became narrow and there was quite a drop to one side (the cliffside). Oh, those wobbly legs … one gust of wind. I wonder whether they have ever lost a runner?

And they’re climbing the Stairway to Heaven. The beach looks a
long way down (top left), but they still have a third of the climb to do.

After this point things got a bit hazy.  We did run back down to a small village (Beer again) and then up some more steps and slopes through a garden.  Then Seaton was in sight and only 2 miles to go!  At this time I was having difficulty running downhill (Not usually a problem that I suffer with.  I mean, if you can’t run down a hill, you can always fall down it).  However, the tops of my legs felt like they were locking up solid but never actually cramped up (lucky me J) so, even the option of falling down the hill had gone.  I suppose I could have rolled … next year maybe.

The Twist – The most evil twist I could imagine.  We came down the hill onto the promenade. We could see the finish banner! We ran down the promenade no more than 50 metres.  Now you remember those really nice marshals?  Well this one sent us down onto the shingle beach again and this time it felt like pain, smelt like pain and was pain.

The ‘gay’ finish (could it result in our expulsion from the club) – It had been agreed that we would all run the race together and finish together.  So, all holding hands, we ran to the finish to collect our pink t-shirts.  I must admit, if truth be told, Terry, Carole, Anne-Marie and Georgie ran across the line – I was dragged.

Terry, Annemarie, Carol, Georgie and Paul cross the line together

We were then inundated with free drinks, bananas and cake at the end – the end to a perfect race. I don’t know whether it was just me but all the best/worst bits were kept for the second half of the race.

In the pink!

Race synopsis (according to me):

Carol – Seemed to struggle a bit at the beginning but was in a league of her own at the end … along with Annemarie.  I am sure but I thought Carol said the longest run she had done was 10 miles before the Grizzly. I am still trying to figure this one out?!

Annemarie – Usually complains as she runs. You know, I will never make it, I need to stop, etc.  Well not this time.  Her run was solid from start to finish. 

Terry – Again, a solid steady run from start to finish.

Georgie – A good run but suffered a bit at the end along with me (must be in the genes or is suffering contagious?).

 Me – Erm … suffered in last - 3 miles.

Well done to Carol, Terry, Annemarie, Georgie and all the other WACers who ran!

Will I run the race again? Yes, most certainly. And, because of the type of race, bad weather conditions would probably make it even more interesting!!!!!

WACers results were:

106 – Jerry Shield – 3:07

207 – Adie Mead – 3:20

249 – Stewart Little – 3:24

342 – Andy Porter – 3:31

902 – Ian Kennedy – 4:12

947 – Nigel Eldred – 4:17

1004 – Carol Howe – 4:22

1005 – Annemarie Fachiri – 4:22

1006 – Terry Simms – 4:22

1007 – Georgie Hougham – 4:22

1008 – Paul Hougham – 4:22


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