Race three of this year’s RR10 was at the River Hamble Country Park, a familiar location on the RR10 calendar and indeed we are back later in the Summer for race number seven.

It was a lovely sunny evening and a few dry days beforehand boded well for a fast course with little mud. Chris kindly picked three others up from Winchester in his shiny new car – I’m not sure how he felt about the return journey with three sweaty runners ruining his new car smell. David H and Richard also car shared, so at least Wessex were impacting lightly on the environment and the tricky car parking.

Traffic was light and we all arrived in good time. Peter was there to support, having cycled part of the way from Twyford. Derek and Anne were supporting and providing some dog care at the same time. There was a nice buzz at the start, plenty of runners milling around and some refreshments were taken at the Barn cafe (some caffeine fuelling to gain an extra edge).

The course was the same as last year but to be honest my memory is not that good, even with Andrew trying to explain the route on my phone (see below) I couldn’t seem to figure it out – although we all remember there is a nasty hill just before the finish.

The start line was packed as always. I’m sure we have reached peak numbers that can participate at present, any more growth and I suspect more than one (large) club will have to drop out from each race. It was a downhill start with a variety of obstacles in the first 400 metres – trees, other runners, picnic benches, playgrounds etc. but then we settled onto a proper path. It was tight as always but soon broadened out with plenty of room to manoeuvre for position. David pointed out at the end that there was only 83 metres of elevation gain but the course seemed to be going constantly up and down with some long, slow inclines. The ground was good with a mix of trail and gravel paths. There was a nice section through the woods for the last kilometre before a final, lung sapping, steep hill and then a sprint to the finish.

A very enjoyable race, the bar code scanning for results is working really well and the cake afterwards was as good as ever.

All six runners home safely (another team result – we have managed this in all races so far) in the order Phil (136), Andrew (184), myself (189), Chris (219), David (241) and Richard (262).

The next race will be at the Cadland Estate on the 31st May, note a slightly later start time of 19:30 – let’s keep the team results going. Other dates coming up – Saturday 27th May Winchester Parkrun takeover and Wednesday 7th June RR10 #5 Ampfield Woods organised by the club.