The Stickler - 26th October 2008
The wet and windy challenge of the Dorset 3 Peaks
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.
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).
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.
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.
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.
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
Stewart Little (1st M50)