I have to say, I was beyond excited about this race. So excited, that I even briefly considered doing the ultra, instead of the marathon, but remained sane in the end and decided NOT to do the additional 18K!
There was also an option to do a 21km, but the marathon is such a great distance that I rarely consider running shorter races now. Jamie on the other hand was taking part, in preparation for his first marathon in June.
Here’s what the organisers say:
“This scenic circular course was devised by Richard Fox, an avid local walker who was amazed by the beautiful and varied countryside he found along the route. Keen to share his findings, Richard set about signing and publicising his Fox Way.”
This was another race I was doing with Gemma. She got a lift from her friend and they picked me up on their way to the marathon start, which was at the White Lyon & Dragon pub in Worplesdon. The start point in the pub was nice, there were hot drinks which was great as the morning was very chilly. Each of the distances started from a different point of the circular route.
There were a few familiar faces and we were all hiding inside the pub until the very start.
We were starting one by one to reduce the ‘people traffic’ in the very narrow lane we were about to go up. Then the route opened and I joined Gemma who went ahead.
It was so nice to see Gemma again, I was thinking that we would have plenty of time to catch up 🙂
We went passed Saint Mary the Virgin church, then headed through the fields and into woodland.
I used to live near Worplesdon and the woodland seemed very familiar, which was cool.
Then the route took us through some posh estates with big houses (house envy time!), the area was beautiful and it looked stunning in spring.
We wiggled back onto wild paths and were taken back to the fields, to then carry on by the river and passed picturesque locks. Gemma and I really enjoyed the fact that we could finally gossip a bit and find out what was going on in each other’s lives since the last time we saw met up.
Before we knew it we were in Ripley and… there was a feast waiting for us. The food that was offered was really impressive, it’s quite common (unfortunately) to only have water and maybe some gels or squash, but at The Fox we had a great selection of quite varied food choices.
There were also signs for marathoners and ultra runners that explained all the numbers and saved the marshals from being asked the same questions over and over again.
And last but not least Ms Foxy, I guess she found my request to show off her tail a bit odd 😀
Gemma and I carried on through Ripley, it’s a very pretty town and I have to say the houses with Wisteria looked especially beautiful.
We were back by the river and going through the fields. It was only 8km to the next aid station in Clandon! Whoop!
I was thinking that Jamie would have started his half marathon from there and I was wondering how he was getting on 🙂
When we got to Clandon the aid station welcomed us with more fancy food and it seemed to be a lot of things that I really liked 😀 Carrots with hummus and watermelon – I was sorted!
The marshals were lovely and looked after us so well.
Here’s Gemma and I with Matthew in the background (I didn’t really know Matthew then, we met later in May at the Ox).
Unfortunately we couldn’t stay there forever, so we said goodbye to the marshals and carried on through Clandon. I have to say I was thinking of the % of road on this race, it seemed a bit too much for my liking, especially that I made a stupid mistake of running in my Salomon Speedcross shoes. It has been unusually dry for England at this time of year and the trails were hard, so I could have easily done it in my road shoes. But then again, if it wasn’t quite so dry I can imagine all the trails turning into a mud-fest. I guess what I’m trying to say is, check the weather and maybe go for a walk by the river to see what conditions are like, then you will be able to make a better judgement on your footwear 🙂
We went passed Clandon Golf Club (very posh 😉 ) crossed Epsom Road and were back into the wilderness. We were going up this field with loads of animal homes right by the border. Foxes or badgers I thought, but unfortunately didn’t spot any.
Back in the woods where we met lovely Christy who was doing the Ultra, we had a quick chat and carried on, it’s always so nice to see friendly, familiar faces enroute!
I was so happy to be in the woodland again, I love running off-road and the fun was just about to start!
The route was taking us back onto fields and then again into the woods. It was beautiful, there were still bluebells in most of the areas and even though we were getting tired the views effectively distracted us.
And Mr Fox was always there somehow…
And then we saw this:
As I mentioned, the fun was just about to start, I said to Gemma that I’ll wait for her at the bottom and threw myself down the steep descent (well… I still had the time to take a picture – of course!).
Gemma caught up with me, we crossed the A25 and joined the Pilgrim’s Way, It all seemed very familiar now and I couldn’t wait to find out where the route was going to take us next.
We were back in the woodland
then followed Brook Lane (look at all the Bluebells!
and back in the wilderness again towards Blackheath.
Look at the views, wasn’t the route stunning?
When we got to Blackheath I was ready for the aid station, I needed to stop. I was wilting, it was getting hot, the sand wasn’t helping and I was probably annoying Gemma at that point too!
It seemed like forever to get through it, it’s not a small area, but at that point, it really dragged…
Finally we were there! And they had soup! OMG! I really wanted soup, but we ended up carrying on as I wasn’t sure how long the soup was going to take 😉 I was hoping for soup at the finish 😀
We left the station with just 9km to go! Look at us, the final countdown has already started – happy faces:
I went ahead on the steep downhills and waited for Gemma at the bottom to take some pictures.
Then she had to wait for me whenever we saw horses…
Bramley! We are nearly home! I didn’t even mind the roads 😀
The wild garlic was already in bloom and it smelled delicious!
We went passed the Golf Club and through Unsted Wood, I didn’t know this area but I was glad to get a chance to explore some of the paths that are just on my doorstep!
More steep downhills and more bluebells.
And then… ‘all of a sudden’ we joined the river – this is my daily commute, we had about 2km to go! I could’ve done this bit with my eyes closed.
We went passed Farncombe Boat House, crossed the road and followed the river to Godalming United Church, crossed the road, ran across Phillips Memorial Park and… Boom! Done! We were home!
I had to have a picture with Becky, who put so much effort in organising this amazing event.
We even got Star Wars Lollies to keep the geeks happy! And there were other goodies free to enjoy. At that point I just wanted salt and couldn’t even think about sweet things which is very unusual for me.
Tanya was there, she did her first ultra that day! So impressive, it wasn’t an easy course! Apparently she was running fast so that Gemma and I didn’t catch up with her. Well… Tanya is fast and a hard cookie, so there was no threat 😉
The best bit was the fact that I didn’t have to get a lift or catch a bus back, I just walked up the hill home.
My immediate refuelling, consisted mainly of Sauerkraut, yes, I know, it’s weird. It works though – try it 😉
In summary, I loved this race. It was so nice to explore the areas that were so close to home and find new routes. The race itself was very well organised, there was great food and the marshals were lovely. I’d be really tempted to do the ultra version next year 😀