Sunday, 13 March 2011

Pontesbury Potter - 12/03/2011

Heel strike horror! Badly lost form on the run in...
The photos are by Rob May of
Firstly, this post is a bit of a landmark - the 100th entry in my blog. Thanks to all of you who've read it or posted comments and encouragement. Through the blog I've kept a decent diary of my training since September. It's the longest period I've been able to do this, and coincides with a considerable improvement in my performances and enjoyment of fellrunning.

Yesterday I participated in the Pontesbury Potter. I would say "completed in" but it's a fund raising hike/run for Severn Hospice, so I guess everyone who takes part wins.

The route is advertised as being 13 miles. I arrived at 0830 and registered, collecting my route card. Unlike most of the events we compete in as fellrunners, you get a detailed set of instructions rather than a map and a set of checkpoints.

Fit, relaxed, registered, ready and clock running! The windproof didn't stay on long once I did get started...
At 0848 I was off, running out of Pontesbury School to the south, through Polesgate. I found the navigation tricky to start with; the directions were not as clear as I felt they might have been and I didn't really know what markers to look for (yellow and green tape on gates and stiles and red/white plastic further on, it turned out). Also I was having to pass a constrant stream of walkers who'd started earlier. From Polesgate, a steady and continuous 2 mile climb took us up from 750' to 1,600' at Shepherd's Rock in the Stiperstones Nature Reserve. By the top here, I'd passed pretty much all of the walkers and only had joggers/runners in front.

On the initial descent, I had a nice chat with a guy who'd run steadily all the way up about 50 yards in front of me, setting a good pace, but then left him as I realised I was descending quite a bit faster. I caught and passed another couple of groups of runners on the descent, then ran into a guy in a Telford AC T-shirt who seemed to know what he was doing in terms of the navigation. With only a couple of very minor mistakes we made it across a very muddy section around Lower Vessons to Habberley.

North east of Habberley, the route climbed into Oaks Wood, and I gradually left my Telford AC friend behind. The next section was the best bit of the route, starting with a steep drop down in the wood which led to a nice traversing (but undulating) single track which I enjoyed and ran pretty hard. This came out across a field at "The Radleth" and then another section of traversing through a wood led to a steep descent to reach and cross Pontesford Brook just below a pretty waterfall.

A final short climb and traverse across fields led to the Pontesford Hill car park and a fast half mile back to the school.

I was pretty pleased with 2:07 - there were a couple of lads who were training for the Stafford Half Marathon next weekend who'd gone round in 2:03. (Now I've had the results I see I was the ninth fastest of around 420 completions - Joe Donnelly was again fastest, and this year went under two hours). It was nice to see some folk I knew at the end: Dave from Church Stretton (who rescued my gloves after I'd dropped them in the Morning After Race, and was marshalling at CP2 on the Valleys last weekend) and Mark Deighton from Newport & District, who'd got round in good shape despite a niggling Achilles problem.

I reckon the route was around 11.8 miles and about 1,800' of climbing: the map and profile are below.

Pontesbury Potter Route (2011)

After a bacon butty and a couple of cups of tea, I drove over to the Mynd and parked up by Boiling Well for a little warm down / easy run, going up to Pole Bank and then down via Barrister's Plain to the Ragleth (2 pints of squash), before jogging very gently back up Ashes Hollow to the car (6.0 miles and 1,220' of ascent).

Assuming I do nothing today, the week's totals are 32.9 miles and 5,450' of climbing.

1 comment:

  1. Well done Jim,

    Sorry we missed you.

    We started at around 9:15am (when you were probably half way round !!), and took around 4-1/2 hours.

    Will probably do it again next year as well.