Wimborne Athletic Club

Home                Club Info                Cross Country                Road Running                Sportshall                Track & Field

Meon Valley Plod – 28 February 2010

21.6 miles, mainly off-road and largely under water. Jon Braund reports.

When the starter announced that this year was the ‘heaviest going’ in over 20 years of the race, I realised it was going to be challenging, particularly as I hadn't done over 17 miles since picking up an achilles injury two years ago. I'd left it too late to enter the Grizzly (half-deliberately, if you know what I mean) and the Meon Valley Plod, the weekend before, looked a good substitute.  It turned out to be a gem.

I started, with Jeff, on a muddy track, then we went up an incline through a muddy field before turning down a muddy path ... and it went on mostly like that for the next 22 miles. About 3 miles was on-road and some of the off-road was a good running surface (mainly up the hills) but by and large the rain of the previous weeks had coated the tracks with thick slippery glop, interspersed with stretches of quagmire and knee-deep water that left my feet cold and numb. One particularly evil section had mud-coated ridges just too close together for a stride.  It was while doing a Bambi-on-ice impression on this that I passed Andy, who looked like he'd slid off the side of the path and was working his way along the fence. We exchanged abuse and I pressed on for a couple more hours of beautiful, leg-sapping, countryside. I was completely out of energy by the end and struggling to keep it going, having slalomed from side to side for most of the second half to keep my feet, but a couple of bits of fruit cake with coffee sorted that out.

I only fell over twice: I can usually handle running through water, or over uneven ground, but uneven ground hidden under water was too much and I went headlong, landing comfortably, if wetly. Jeff unfortunately turned his ankle over after about 11 miles (ironically, on one of the bits of road) and took the decision to retire - a hard decision but the right one with a London place to look forward to.

If you like the Grizzly, it's worth giving this one a try. It's not quite as hilly - only about 2,700 feet of climb - but a lot muddier (or was this year, anyway) and it took me longer because of the conditions underfoot. It's low impact with the advantage that you've had the ice bath before you finish. I will do it again, but with grippier shoes if the weather is anything like it was this year.  The first person finished in 2:34:20, although I can't imagine how.  My time was just under 10 minute miles, which sounds rubbish but I couldn't have gone any quicker.

Portsmouth Joggers' organisation was excellent, marshals were plentiful, really friendly and enthusiastic, the drinks stations were well stocked with goodies (including rum at the top of Butser - obviously I declined it as I need to try some on a training run first), there was a hosedown and a shoe lace untieing service at the end and free cakes and hot drinks.  Marvellous!

And how is Debbie still smiling at the top of Butser?

WAC results

Jon Braund – 3:25:40

Andy Horsley – 3:28:08

Debbie Whittle – 5:02:54

Jeff Hinsley – retired injured


Web Design by