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The Beast (by a first-timer)


Before


After

Having been encouraged by Bob Caines to take part, it was with great trepidation (and a few toilet stops) I lined up at the start of the 15th Kindred Spirit race at Corfe Castle (aka The Beast) with 12 other WACers and 473 fellow runners who had travelled from as far as Scotland to take part. Fortunately the weather had decided to be kind as it had been extremely hot the day before but had rained during the night to given us a cool start to the race.


Awaiting the start. ‘Where’s Wally?’, or is
it WACers as Meerkats United. How many WACers
 can you spot? Juliet, Jools, Julie, Tim, Phil, Craig,
Debbie and Antony are in there somewhere

I had been advised to ‘leg it’  for the first mile to get into a good position, as you approached the first of several stiles/gates that you would encounter over the course of the race. However, as we started I quickly realised that unless you were at the front at the start, the best you could achieve was a cross between a crawl/powerwalk but eventually we all started to spread out and find our own space.


Richard – our first WACer home

The terrain for the first couple of miles was a combination of Common ground, single tracks with the occasional stile/gate to get over (good opportunity for a rest/chat) and it was at this point that I decided that I was going to keep fellow WACer Bob in my sights as an incentive as I thought I spied him in the distance, but to my dismay I could not keep him in view (I only found out at the end that he had in fact, been a couple of minutes behind me for the whole race).

I found myself going up paths that due to the rain the night before had become quite slippery so had to be climbed carefully. Before I knew it I was coming down the slope and on one of the few occasions that day found myself actually overtaking people (due to the fact that I couldn't stop and felt the quicker I got to the bottom the less chance there was for me to injure myself or others by falling over!!!).


Debbie and Julie ‘dig in’ on the coast path

After a few more miles (and one water stop) I found myself on the road up to St Aldhelm’s Head and was greeted by magnificent views over the sea from about 350ft (had to look that one up) and then followed the coastal path until we reached the first set of steps cut into the hill . All too soon it was time to climb up again, but encouraged by spectators at the top I managed to make it and was even able to mutter ‘Thanks’ and a smile before I continued along the coast (I think Graham popped up for about the third time taking photos). It was at this point that I found myself running with a Portsmouth Jogger (first timer also) and after we stopped at the water station we continued on through the valley until we approached the second set of steps and it was here that his face fell and muttered something which can't be repeated. Let’s just say he thought it might be hard to get up. I somehow managed to get to the top (the first set seemed like climbing stairs compared to these) and continued on and was cheerfully informed by a marshal that the hard part was over.


Jools, first WAC Lady home

Encouraged by this I continued on legs that at this point felt like lead and no matter how fast my mind wanted them to go they refused to obey and continued to go at a pace that felt at the time extremely slow. We continued to run on the outskirts of the Encombe Estate , pass the pub at Kingston and into a wooded area which eventually emerged onto Corfe Common where I was greeted by Corfe Castle, never before have I been so grateful to see this castle as it indicated that the race was near the end. This seemed to have the same effect on my fellow runners as suddenly, with renewed energy, I was being passed by people hell-bent on finishing before me and was pipped at the post by fellow WACer Tim Box who I later found out had improved his time by around 18 minutes on last year (well done Tim). On finishing my eldest daughter said she was proud of me, and then bought me back down to earth by saying, ‘Daddy that man in the brown shirt started 10 minutes after you and still beat you’ with that comment still in my ears I was asked would I do it again … Just try stopping me (If only to beat the man in the brown shirt and … Tim!!!)


Bob still looking fresh, but no doubt pleased
to have crossed the finishing line

Results for WACers

Men                                                                              Women
Richard Atkins       47th         1:41:15                         Jools Maskell            381st      2:29:44    
Stewart Little         52nd         1:42:13                         Julie Mead                 398th     2:32:48
Craig Dixon          141st         1:55:43                         Debbie Whittle          408th     2:34:28
Anthony Clark      142nd         1:55:54                         Juliet Mellor               432nd    2:40:57
Pete Lemon          173rd        2:01:33
Jeff Hinsley           202nd        2:02:45
Phil Whitehurst     218th         2:07:02
Tim Box                 307th        2:18:54
Paul Teck              312th        2:19:11
Robert Caines      348th        2:23:17

Paul Teck

 
 
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