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‘Sodbury Slog’  – 14 November 2010

Claire Scammell reports on a race to remember.

On Sunday 14th November, Remembrance Sunday, I left home on a very cold and foggy morning heading for Chipping Sodbury in the Cotswolds. Here they host the annual Sodbury Slog of nine 'country miles'. Start time was just after 11 as there was an eulogy from a serving and running member (in full kit) of the RAF. This was followed by two minutes silence and the last post before almost 1,300 runners assembled on the road for the start.

The first mile and a half was on road with lots of local support and running through the main town. Quite soon we came to Sodbury Common which was boggy and wet to say the least. There was lots of squealing laughter and splashing as our nice clean dry trainers were christened. This bit of the course was slightly undulating but nothing too demanding. Once off the common there was a little uphill road before getting onto the slipperiest and muddiest fields I have ever run on. People were sliding all over the place and I saw one lady trying to retrieve her trainer after it had been sucked off into the mud! I heard someone behind me saying they had seen a man running after he had lost both his trainers!!

Parts of the course were through farm areas and I won’t go into detail but I don't think a lot of the slop was mud!! A couple of obstacles named the sheep dip were awaiting me. I got to around mile 5 wondering where the huge hill was that I had been expecting as up until now it had been slightly undulating but nothing more. After the sheep dip I found this elusive hill which went steeply up to another road crossing. There was a bit of woodland running continuing the uphill trend and then more farmers’ fields. The final test was the pig trough which consisted of a ditch alongside the field. This is where my one criticism of the race comes in. This ditch was single file only. When I arrived there was already a long queue of around 100 people waiting to get into this ditch. The wait took almost 15 minutes before I got into the ditch. It was a small stream ankle deep which was rather cold and made my feet numb. The closer to the end of the ditch the deeper it got. It reached thigh deep at the end.

Getting out of the pig trough and starting to run again after 15 minutes of cooling down and numb feet was challenging! The last mile and a half was more farmers’ fields and slippy mud finished off by a bit of road running back to the finish point at the school where there was a goody bag and t-shirt waiting. The Sodbury Slog is a proper cross-country race and if you like off-road and don't mind mud and getting wet and dirty then you will love this. This is one of my favourite runs and I will definitely be back next year.



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