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Hameldown Hammer Half Marathon – 28 February 2016

Steve Guy reports from Widecombe-on-the-Moor, Dartmoor
 

The lure of a ‘run’ on the wild side is sometimes difficult to resist and so it was with this one.  Rugged and exposed, the race not me, I decided to accept the challenge of the bleak rocky outcrops of Dartmoor.  13 and a bit miles of tough terrain which was either uphill or down, although felt mostly like up.  The well-marked mostly trail course was littered with lumps of granite, half frozen boggy puddles and coupled with a relentless biting northeast wind.  Not much man made here, just nature’s elements.

I’d like to mention at this point the shoes that I now wear for running.  It strikes me as being odd that this is rarely, if ever, mentioned.  After all we normally wear something on our feet, the most crucial part and this information should be shared in race reports.  For 10 years or more I took part mainly in road races but ended up knackered wearing the usual cushioned, supportive trainer.  To enable me to get back to running after a long spell of injuries I switched to Vivobarefoot shoes. There are others but in my opinion these are the gold standard.  Following vital tuition from Lee Saxby at ‘Born to Run’ I now run naturally and consistently, without periods of injured down time.  Longevity is a better target than PBs.

So natural running has led me to natural environments and for this race I wore Trail Freaks, the grip, feel and flexibility are perfect for these conditions.  From the very start of the race it’s sharply uphill and just keeps on coming, a serious test of endurance.  2,000 feet of climb in this almost ethereal landscape is certainly a challenge.  This ancient land sculptured by wind and rain is awe-inspiring; no wonder there were so many visitors here on this coldest of days.  I came home in 2:10:22, 66th out of 211, not the quickest but very rewarding.  If you’re looking for something beyond the metaled road I definitely recommend this one.

 
 

 

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