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Longleat 10K – 9 February 2014

Chris Archibold reports from a hilly race.

It did not seem like such a great idea when I woke up at 6am, it was raining outside and the wind was blowing a gale.

It seemed even less of a good idea when I parked up in the Longleat car park, took a look at the hills and then saw the hail come in and the temperature hit 3 degrees.

But at 10am those thoughts did disappear - well until the hill at 1K that was. This race is run around the grounds of Longleat, and even included an appearance from Lord Bath cheering runners through the top gate at 3K.

It is a fantastic 10K race that redefines hills. There is maybe a total of 1K throughout the race that is flat, and when the course instructions decided against ‘undulating’ and picked ‘hilly’ they were not kidding.

The first K took you down a long road directly in front of the house, before you looped round to do a K uphill with the wind blowing in your face. Then you undulated  for the third K before coming back down onto the road with perfect views of the house, estate and river. Second time around was much better as there were less people cramming for places, and with the sun coming out you could actually enjoy the sights.

4-5K was just a gentle incline before 6K decided it was a good idea to go vertical once again. But with every up there is a down, and this happened up to 7K. Then a small downhill through the woods and in front of the safari park, and you could actually see the end, but with 2K to go it was made tough with a downhill to 9K and the last K all uphill with the wind in your face.

This was without a doubt the hardest 10K I have ever done and is certainly not a run for a PB. But if you want a challenging route, concentrate on hill work, and take in the magnificent views of Longleat this is right up your street.

Also good to note that your entry fee also gives free entry to the Gardens and the House, and reduced price to the Safari Park. Marshalling was very good, though the start and finish were badly organised. There were timing chips, and I found out at the end it is part of the Wiltshire League Races.

I was impressed to come in with a respectable time of 1 hour 1 minute and 37 seconds, and Fiona Kasey came home in 1 hour 20 minutes and 48 seconds.


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