Got home at 5.30, checked the event details: “Registration closes 6.40; courses close 8.00.” Eventually left the house at 6. North Birmingham to Bromyard in 40 minutes would be tricky at the best of times, but in the rush hour? A couple of times I thought of turning back, but I really did want a run, especially as I hadn’t had a chance at the Brockhampton event back in October, and the mild, wet conditions were ideal.

After my fight with the Worcester southern bypass, I rolled into the car park at 7.15. Mike looked ambivalent, but 3 minutes later I was off. Could I get back by 8?

Brockhampton SEE

Start-1: Took me a few seconds to realise I had to run up the drive I’d just driven down. Belt towards the row of trees in front of the fence. It helps to be tall and wearing an old pair of joggers when negotiating a barbed wire fence… Came into the wood a bit to the east of the control but soon spotted it.

1-2-3: Refreshing downhill runs through bemused sheep and cows

3-4: As I was running along I got the idea 4 was on a spur and tried to decide between the quick, steep ascent from the west, or the run round to the east… When I got there I noticed it wasn’t a spur (!) and opted for the eastern approach with simple attack point. As it happens, when I got close I was distracted by John Bennison coming down from the other side and came off the path too soon. Never mind, I quickly hit the ditch and followed it to the control.

4-5: I usually favour the path routes, but it seemed to make sense to go direct here. Turned out the stream was in a ravine, half of which I rolled down, landing in the mud at the bottom. Then, after clambering up the other side to the path, I discovered about half a dozen hides, none of them with controls on! Could Mike have collected it in? But I tried a bit further east and there it was.

5-6: I opted to attack from above, and found it okay, but collecting the controls in later I decided I should’ve just contoured in from the path junction to the south.

6-7: Half the controls done, half my time gone. I decided on N – W – NE. Another full stream to cross, surrounded by a field of whiffy wild garlic. As at #1, on the way out I discovered the way most people had come in.

7-8: More cruelty. In the gloom, the mini-flag was just about visible from the path, but it was quite a palaver to get to it, the stream junction being blocked by fallen trees.

8-Finish: Ten minutes to go. The meat of the course polished off, the rest was straightforward. I was going to make it. I pushed myself to run to 11, but could only walk to 12. I punched the finish at 7.59.25. 🙂

Knackered but strangely refreshed, the next minute I was off again to collect 4, 5 and 6, 10, 11 and 12. Then I could finally get out of my muddy clothes and sopping shoes and retire with Mike, Carol, the Houghtons and the BOK guys to the Live and Let Die, a fabulous pub hidden on Bringsty Common.

Hi to Sue, the landlady, and Bob, the retired ex-athlete who I got talking to at the bar.