Thirty three Jags turned out for the Freethorpe 10 mile. The popular subject of conversation in the toilet queue at the start was what to wear?! The wind was cutting through us and the ones that had arrived in shorts were questioning whether that was the correct kit choice. With the forecast showing a mild 14 degree Sunday and the sun beginning to break through the cloud it was a tough one to call.
This year there was a staggered start with three waves setting off approximately 2 minutes apart. After a gentle warm up we were ready to set off. The beginning of the course saw us heading out of Freethorpe towards Southwood, past the beautiful Southwood Hall and down a gradual downhill before bearing off left towards Cantley. You could see the beat factory in the distance and there was a sweet smell in the air coming across with the wind. Bearing left again we started our journey toward Limpehoe and up our first hill. Whoever says Norfolk has no hills needs to come and run this route! Thankful for all of the hill training sessions we have completed recently, with the Gas Hill efforts there was nothing that the Jags couldn’t handle. This part of the course was quite sheltered so the wind was not being too unkind to us at this stage.
With plenty of marshalls along the route encouraging us and keeping us safe you could continue in your rhythm without worrying too much about the junctions you were crossing or the traffic that was trying to weave its way through the runners. Limpenoe was where we first felt the wind. It hit so hard when we turned out of Limpenhoe towards Reedham that is almost felt like you were running but not actually moving too far. Head down and digging deep up another incline to reach the 4 mile mark, an encouraging Jags supporter and our first water station.
Running into Reedham and along the broad past the Reedham Ferry you could almost mistake it for a summers day. The sun was bright and felt warm, back into sheltered territory where the wind couldn’t get us it was an enjoyable and beautiful part of the course. With some more Jags supporters set up outside the pub it was great to get that cheer of encouragement ready for what was about to come. Having never run this course before I had no idea that I was about to turn a corner and be faced with yet another hill.
Once we had climbed the incline out of Reedham heading back towards the start we had a short flat the recover before another short climb. Turning left we had a relatively flat course ahead of us back towards the finish line. Another drinks station at 7 miles and yet more Jags support, 3 miles to go.
Team mates had previously warned each other of the 2 mile loop at the end, running with the finish line in sight and seeing the runners coming towards you heading that way was mentally challenging. As if that wasn’t enough there was yet another incline ahead and this one felt harder than ever before. Running up towards Wickhampton it was clear that everyone was focused, getting through those last two miles to reach their target point. Just over 9 miles we turned left out of Wickhampton towards the finish. When you turned that corner it felt like the wind had punched you in the face. It hit us hard but there were a great group of marshals there to shout encouraging words telling us to dig deep and finish with strength.
A welcome decline to aid fighting against the wind took us back down before a right hand turn towards the finish line. With plenty of crowd support the heads went down to finish strong, and crossing the finish line to receive a wonderful memorable medal and snickers bar!
A special mention has to go to Emma Blake who finished 3rd lady in her age category with a time of 1:12.20 and Ken Bowman who not only won his age category but also set a new course record for his age category in a time of 1:14.22. This means that Ken now holds the course record in his current and his previous age category.
A beautiful course through the Norfolk countryside, with some amazing marshalls that were encouraging all the way, and all those Jags that weren’t running coming out to support their team mates. I know I couldn’t have fought so hard without them.
An amazing day for Jags with 33 runners, 13PBs, 2 age group records, as well as Emma and Ken’s achievements above. A great day to be wearing orange.
|Emma Blake||1.12.20||YES & Age Group Record||GOLD|
|Rebecca Pountain||1.16.34||YES & Age Group Record||GOLD|