Wimborne Athletic Club

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The Stickler - 26th October 2008

The wet and windy challenge of the Dorset 3 Peaks

The course, being named after the Stickle Path of 1-in-3 incline and 500ft altitude gain (and that’s just the start!), lived up to the billing of being a real challenge. 10.1 miles of gravel tracks, mud and grass with the odd link of tarmac, crossing the three highest hills of Dorset: Okeford Hill Beacon; Hod Hill; and Hambledon Hill.

Perhaps it was the wet and muddy conditions or the inability to spot the summit of the hills, but the course was a lot tougher than I’d expected. I didn’t get much further than halfway up the Stickle Path before dropping pace to a walk to catch my breath. At which point Graham Whiffen shouted a ‘Hello’ as he ran on past, taking in the hill in good form. I picked up the pace again when the summit became more obvious. But my game plan was already scuppered! I’d planned to cruise on the flat, descend slowly and try to make up time by attacking the hills. But that was quite a hill! And so I decided to just run it one step at a time after that – or walk, in the case of the harder hills!

We had a very long winding forest track descending to the next hill which I’d been kindly warned of having a ‘double summit’ so did not burn out too quickly taking in this hill which seemed a lot more gradual and kinder on the lungs. Here I came across Steve Guy. A quick handshake and introductions on seeing a familiar vest but less familiar face and the quick sharing of words (mainly, ‘Wow, this is tough’, from me).

I was impressed with the marshalling – volunteers standing in the wet and windy weather in what seemed relatively remote situations along the course. One even held out a bag of jelly sweets at the top of one of the hills but, in my tired state of mind, recognition of the presence of sweets came ten feet or so too far past to contemplate turning back! A Homeresque ‘Doh!’ issuing forth.

The final hill was as tough as the first, perhaps mainly due to it being late on in the race with energy levels dwindling. The wet and cool conditions kept me from overheating and the views from Hambledon Hill (across what seemed to be most of Dorset!) were a real treat to savour (quickly!) before the long decent required eyes to be redirected to the path in front to avoid slipping down the grass and mud.

The final stretch across flat grazing fields of the plain below was a blessing and lifted spirits for a good finish after what felt like a very long run. Once turning on to the short gravel path leading up to the old railway station and the finish line, cheers could be heard from the crowds spurring us all home.

I remember Ian’s smile as he finished shortly after, saying he really enjoyed it despite some niggles with a knee and was happy to run that sort of time over any 10 miler. I think my niggles leave my body looking forward to a much flatter race next! But I am left with the satisfied feeling of completing this ever more popular and notorious Dorset equivalent of the 3 Peaks Challenge.

Full Wimborne AC Results

14th    1:12:13 Stewart Little (1st M50)

41st    1:17:02 Richard Atkins

57th    1:19:31 Graham Whiffen

87th    1:23:41 Steve Guy

88th    1:23:46 Guy Thompson

126th  1:27:28 Ian Kennedy

136th  1:29:18 David Wild

207th  1:36:14 Kevin Elliott

218th  1:37:35 Robin Hughes

287th  1:47:36 Robert Caines

299th  1:49:33 Tim Box

317th  1:53:25 Julie Mead

360th  2:00:56 Denise Craddock

361st  2:00:58 Graham Mellor

369th  2:02:55 John Guy

374th  2:06:42 Bekky Evans

375th  2:06:42 Juliet Mellor

 

Guy Thompson

 

 

 
 
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