Herbert’s Hole 10K Challenge – Sun 19 Nov 2017

The ‘Challenge’ is to stay on your feet! Herbert’s Hole, the last in the series of Club Championship races, and arguably the hardest, writes Louise Prince. Listed under the heading of ‘Multi terrain 10Ks’, runners could have been forgiven for thinking it was a 10K race, when actually it was more like 10 & a quarter kilometres!

289 people took part today, on the 25th year of the race. ESM first took part in this race 21 years ago, in 1996, where we won the women’s team prize. No such glory today, but it’s not all about the prizes (is it…?)

Not quite the absolute mud-fest of last year, the course still presented a considerable challenge (perhaps the clue was in the name after all?) What could be more fun than throwing yourself energetically down a mud-covered slope? Well, trying to get back up that same slope when hundreds of runners have churned up the only decent bit of footing runs it a close second.

A good number of us turned out for the Club at this race, and pretty much all seemed to have had a decent run, and, more importantly, enjoyed it.

The mud-covered slope we all threw ourselves down proved to be a bit of a challenge for some, with Pat coming a cropper on the way down – the mud gave her impressive ‘go faster stripes’ down her leg, and once she’d picked herself up she picked up the pace and carried on storming the race. Andy took it a little easier going down that slope (one of the few times I’m ever likely to overtake him in a race!) but he managed a fall later on to make up for it! But he was in road trainers, so he had a good excuse. He was proud not to have to walk up ‘the hill’. Some of us felt absolutely no shame in doing so…

Fiona was engaged in an epic battle with Shona in the later stages of the run, around the 9K mark. Fiona commented afterwards, “It was quite funny in the woods as I kept sliding all over the place and thought at one point I might take her out!” We’re all sure that would have been an accident, although Shona may have had doubts at the time: “Fiona said to me ‘this is where it gets messy’ and I wondered if this was some type of psychological warfare she was waging on me. Turns out it did get messy, but more from that slippery mud and the sheer effort it took just to get up that hill!” Shona got the better of Fiona in the downhill charge for the line, though Fiona had the consolation of a trophy for first woman over 55.

Fiona and Shona were not the only ones to describe the race in ‘battle’ terms – Malcolm “going over the top” of the last hill was grateful for the encouragement he received from our band of spectators, and even found the loud encouragement yelled out to fellow club mates a handy encouragement to run faster to beat them to the finish!

All in all, a good, fun race, and as Mark commented, a lot of us are looking forward to doing it again next year.

Men: 5 Nick Steel 40:00; 16 Mark Kencroft (M50) 43:33; 45 Malcolm Woolsey 48:14; 104 Simon Turrell (M45) 54:59; 109 Andy Leung (M45) 55:26; 136 John Falvey (M60) 58:30; 151 Martin Wilson (M65) 61:20

Women: 7 Shona Cowper 48:23; 8 Fiona Kennedy (F60) 48:24; 22 Jane Ruhland (F50) 54:40; 23 Lynn Wilson (F60) 55:24; 36 Pat Thomas (F50) 58:44; 40 Louise Prince (F45) 59:25; 45 Aneta Neumann (F40) 60:05; 55 Sophie Pesticcio (F40) 62:17; 65 Annette Galloway (F45) 64:24

Full results on runbritain