Cranleigh Trail Marathon was another local race that I was looking forward to. Unfortunately it was still a palava to get there from Godalming using public transport (aka via Guildford)… And that’s not a problem, if only I could have got there in time! I considered cycling but in the end Jamie said that he’d give me a lift and was probably being worried about my cycling 🙂

The race start was at 9 so we weren’t in a mad rush in the morning for once and I even had time to plait my hair 😀

Jamie dropped me off by the Event HQ located in The Bandroom along Village Way, in Cranleigh.

I went to register and I saw Justin and Bronwyn and then Philippa! It’s party time! I was really pleased to see some familiar faces.

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The weather was gorgeous, I had a feeling it was going to be a great day! We all walked together to the start, it wasn’t far, just through a field and over a road, 5 min max 🙂

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I was very excited as Philippa agreed to run the first lap with me, she was doing a half marathon. I had to do an additional lap after, on my own. There weren’t many of us and shortly after the race briefing the event started.

Oh! Philippa and I were wearing matching shoes! Not on purpose, it’s just the way we roll 😉

We ran along the field, knowing that we would be following 75mm diameter discs and arrows sprayed on the ground and trees (with green i.e. eco-friendly paint) all the way round. How hard can it be?

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We joined a road and then followed it turning right and then left passing a lettuce farm (nom!) and then towards a canal. We were on a raised bit where terrain was a bit tricky underfoot but nothing outrageous (you just needed to watch your step, well… it’s a trail marathon, you wouldn’t expect anything less). Then over a stile and then we were near a road, which the marshals helped us to cross.

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We were on the Elmbridge Road which was familiar to Philippa and me, so we talked a bit about Elmbridge Village and what a nice place it is (not yet for us though!).

Back on the Downs Link and there was a marshal there, reading his morning newspaper and greeting us. Not a bad day for it at all!

We turned right, went over a stile and into a field, gosh, the views were so pretty! Then left following a path and down a slight hill, which was fun as always.

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Running with Philippa was great, we could finally catch up properly, not just during an hour sports massage with her in the Guildford Sports Clinic. Philippa is an expert when it comes to Sports Therapy and Sports Massage and she’s keeping a close eye on how my body is surviving through all the marathons and regularly fixing it. I swear, she has magic hands.

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Back on the road and we reached the first aid station.

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Our numbers were ticked off the list and then we could carry on. We ran across the field to join another road, this one was definitely busier (maybe because it was Guildford Road!). There was another marshal there and once we crossed it, we followed a side road into Willinghurst Farm Estate. It wasn’t a long bit but its (ever so) slight incline made it drag. Then downhill, but not for long as we reached a sandy path that was leading us up a ‘proper hill’.

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I was relieved that we didn’t have to go up all the way, but turned right to join the Greensand Way. This bit of the woodland was stunning and we wiggled through it following the paths and admiring the views. There were still bluebells and we took our time to take some pictures.

And there it was! The Cone!

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It’s actually Perspectives by Giles Miller Studio but I like to call it by its ‘friendly name 😉 We HAD TO take pictures and have a look around and inside… there was a man cooking breakfast! How’s that for convenient?! Despite an offer to join we decided to carry on running.

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We ran the slight incline to the top of the hill, only to stop again and take more pictures! Wow the view from Lord Justice James’ seat was quite something! And more goodness was yet to come.

The next section was downhill and it was so much fun, no wonder there were so many mountain bikers there!

We got to the second aid station where we were looked after by lovely ladies who we had a short chat with and then carried on.

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Quick stop for another picture. Well… look at it! It would be rude not to!

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When we got to the bottom we got a bit confused. There were many paths and… many arrows. Where do we go? We eventually found the right green arrow and followed the path. It wasn’t difficult, I guess there are many events happening in these woods and if it doesn’t rain for a while the arrows stay on the trees and the ground for longer.

 

Loved the woodland, so pretty.

Then we got to the farmlands, admiring horses (looooove horses).

I was conscious that I was slowing Philippa down with my running and all the pictures. Her pace for a half marathon would have probably been faster if she wasn’t running with me. She reassured me that it was fine and I was really grateful for her company and a chat.

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There was a steep bit just before a road crossing that was very well signed and marshalled 🙂

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More farmland and… art! So I did some cheesy posing for Philippa. Oh, we had fun, I tell ya!

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We went through the field down towards next road crossing and the route took us round the edge of the field and then towards farm buildings. There were more horses, but they were in a stable and I was trying to be good and not do any trespassing, so I carried on with Philippa just saying ‘Hellooooo’ to the horses. We could see the next aid station, yay! Refreshments!

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We then continued passed Cranleigh School playing fields.

We were back at Guildford Road and joined a lane that took us passed some pretty houses and farm buildings (very well kept!).

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We then turned left through a Kissing Gate and across a field towards the Downs Link. This was now a straight route home, we just had to follow the path towards the finish (for Philippa) and halfway point (for me) in Snoxhall Playing Field close to the Event HQ (i.e. The Bandroom).

Bronwyn and Justin were there with their medals. I got a hug from Philippa and continued on my second lap.

 

It wasn’t as lonely as I thought it would be. At the first aid station I met Martin and we ran together for a while.

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After that I was on my own, but whenever I stopped for pictures Martin was catching up with me.

I was feeling tired but strong, I liked the idea of two laps. It seemed to have work well with the time that I usually struggle in a race (usually from half way to 30km). This time these 9km were right at the beginning of the second lap which made it easier. In my head all I had was memories from the first lap of feeling great at this point and the time was flying by.

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I was feeling even happier when I got to the gorgeous Woodland and followed the Greensand way. I probably took even more pictures than the first time round 😉

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Martin and I ran together for a while, at the second aid station I charged down the hill with ‘catch me if you can’. When we eventually split I could constantly see him behind me but I took it as a motivator. I guess you are running faster when you are ‘being chased’ 😉 I wasn’t really running away from Martin, promise.

I also had music with me, I was testing my new 180 BPM playlist. The idea was to take more steps, tiny fast steps and run faster. The playlist itself is very random as I added to it everything that was available on Amazon Prime Music that the Internet said was 180BPM… from Shakira through Eminem to The Doors. And why not?! I was having fun.

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There was also a bit just when I got to all the fields where I wasn’t sure where to go, I guess I was getting tired and couldn’t remember which way Philippa and I took on the first lap. It’s always better running with people, there’s always someone who will notice something that you wouldn’t. Eventually I found my way and all was fine, but I was tired… here’s my tired face:

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I remember getting to the Downs Link and hoping to see the finish line soon. That stretch must have been longer on the second lap! 😉

 

I managed to overtake some walkers who were finishing their half marathon walk. What a nice thing to do on a sunny day. Hats off to them, walking is so much harder than running over long distances!

 

Finally I crossed the finish line and got my medal.

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There was a full buffet in the Event HQ where I was sitting chatting to Dave who came 3rd (Wacky Events) and Martin who finished a few minutes after me.

 

On Monday I found out that I came 14th overall and was the 3rd lady! It was my first ever podium place!!! You wouldn’t believe how happy I was.

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This added (obviously) to my fond memories from the race. It’s a lovely event with friendly people, well sign posted and marshaled. The stations were good and the area and the views absolutely stunning! I will definitely do this event again!

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