The weather this morning was almost springlike… not only was it quite mild, but it was also really changeable. From welcome sunlight first thing, it quickly darkened for a band of heavy rain. Fortunately I was still sitting inside with my espresso at the time, in no hurry whatsoever to get out.
When the weather cleared a little, I took it as my cue to leave. My plan was to run down the pavement through Hassocks to Clayton, up past the windmills to the Beacon, down to Ditchling, along to Hassocks and back along the pavement.
After the initial ten minutes, when my mind did nothing but complain, I got into my stride and I reached Stonepound Crossroads in Hassocks at the 30 minute mark… average 6.5mph.
I then ran on to Clayton, up the crazy-steep track from the cricket pitch to Jack & Jill, with the wind full in my face and then on up to the summit where the tank tracks join from the left. This second section took 28 minutes and I managed an average speed of 5.65mph… not bad bearing in mind the size of the hill in the middle. It was pretty bleak on the top with a full wind and dark clouds threatening.
I then ran across to the Beacon and down into the calm of the track that leads down underneath the Beacon road… just in time to avoid some really sharp, wind-driven rain. It really was magical down there, almost silent save for the slap of my feet and I tried to maintain my balance on the slippery, chalk-strewn uneven ground.
When my feet finally did slide out from under me, in a dramatic fashion, I was glad that I had left the sharp stones behind and that I landed, albeit heavily, on a smooth, hard, algae covered chalk bank. I lay there, winded, for a couple of minutes, using the time to snap a couple of photos for you to smirk at. Key contact points were my hip, elbow and shoulder… alas the photos don’t do justice to the quantity of durgy chalk marking these places!
Being so far from home, I was grateful that I could still run, so I did just that. Firstly down into Ditchling, where a combination of rain and pain made me disinclined to run back via Hassocks. I opted instead for the more direct route north along the road to Folders Lane, where I snuck through the houses back home in the most efficient way I could find.
The one hour 58 minutes final tally meant that, despite the fall, I had managed 6.35mph for the second hour and 6.1mph average overall across the 12 miles covered. Not bad Foster!