Well what can I say …. this race was in our running club champs so I signed up! I obviously didn’t take note of the name …. Otmoor CHALLENGE!! A off road half marathon …. what could be so bad!! Its always hot they said …. it was forecast torrential rain!! Its a hilly course they said ….. its a local race and I know of no hills!!


Yes it was forecast rain … in the morning. By the time 2pm came I had to borrow sun cream and I was sweating before I even started. No hills near me … yeah right … I had a heart attack just looking at the gradient spike in my garmin when I uploaded it!!


So it was hot … That hill killed me … the torrential down pour in the morning made the route ankle deep in mud and I found myself muttering along the whole 13.1 miles that I was never running off road again!!  So lets review …

Organisation …..

The race is brilliantly planned.  It is in a local village and has a real community feel to it!  There is a fete, BBQ, beer tent … and people can do the walk or the run.  It was well signposted, great parking (Army cadets marshalling the car park) and it was easy to pick up race numbers.  You could also register on the day which a few friends did.

The route …

Although i state this was my first “off road” race … I have to say that around 50% is actually on the road.  I wore trail shoes which I was thank for in the muddy parts but the mud then made them really heavy for the road parts.  I would probably opt for trail shoes again though!

The route was beautiful …. mixture of fields, villages, trails, lanes … it was stunning.

Support ….

Although not many marshals on route … it was extremely well sign posted and all the villages had great support out.  Plenty of water stations … my favourite of which was Halfway up that stupid hill where a man asked if I was OK to continue as I grabbed 2 cups of squash out his hand and downed them before desperately scrambling to the hose pipe to be sprayed down.

My time ….

I finished in 2;18;10 …. a time I was extremely pleased with.  I went in with aspirations of sub 2.30 as I knew the new terrain would be tough.  Considering I walked through drinks station (and maybe walked a little bit of the hill) I was pleased with my overall pace …. AND …. I got some bling at the end.

Did I enjoy it???

The answer … NO I HATED EVERY STEP!!!  But this week I learnt my own lesson.  My sister JaIme has started couch to 5k … and I am extremely proud of her for doing so!  She asked me this week …. when does it get easier and my answer was …. “it never gets easier …. you get better … but always push harder”.  So what i am trying to say is that I hated every step of the way but the sense of achievement when I finished was amazing.  Later as I posted on Facebook that I was never running off road again ….. I was reminded “until next week” when I have a 7.9 mile leg of an off road relay to run!!!

I think my off road adventures have just begun.

HIGHLIGHT of the race …….



Love Sandie xx


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