Bought some new shoes and had an enjoyable run around Sherwood Forest last weekend. The event was a bit inconventional in that the map featured a lot of dead oak trees and several of them were used as control sites. I made three quite bad mistakes while dead-tree hunting and finished in an unimpressive time of  79:02 for my 7.5 km. Luckily I was still able to beat my old mucker Barry McGowan by 4 seconds by dint of taking a full 11 seconds out of him on the run-in. The fact that a lot of major events have a special prize for the fastest run-in (often won by HOC’s own Dan Hartmann), plus a couple of sad experiences when I’ve dropped a place because of dawdling at the end of my course, have recently focused my mind on picking my feet up on what is, after all, the easiest leg of any course.

And I had the advantage last week that I punched the last control at the same moment as an OD whippersnapper in whose wake I could race the last few yards.

Although we had identical results, Barry and me had very different races. I made bad mistakes at #3 and #6 – running past the control and then struggling to get back into the circle – leaving Barry 4 minutes ahead of me. Luckily for me he took 6 minutes more than me on the long leg (#12) – I took the safe option, going round to the east, through the Start – putting me back ahead, but then I made a 2-minute mistake at #14, evening us up again. I was going to play safe to #14, going round the paths, but I changed my mind and got confused in the mix of trees, open and grot around the control.

Map

Old map

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