It’s an amazing three and a half months now since November 10th when I last ran outside. It seems unlikely that I would choose to get back out there on a day where the weather was turned up to full, but there it was… Daren was back in town and very little, weather-wise, would stand in the way of my catching up with him.
We met upstairs at Jack & Jill (as opposed to downstairs at Clayton Rec ground) and our run almost instantly turned into a retreat for a cup of tea… the wind was shocking! Daren is the master of a boat (though I’m not sure that he or the owner would thank me for calling it that) and as such is well used to weather of all kinds, so for him to put his hood up gives a reflection of how bad it was!
Undaunted (well, a little) we faced into the biting wind and got on with our run.
The usual route was taken, which is basically a sublime roller coaster ride down to Pyecombe, up to Woltsonbury, down to Clayton, up the tank tracks to Home Hill and back down to the windmills. An early comment from Daren made me realise that I was running around puddles… he pointed out that by the time we reached Clayton we would be coated in mud, so there was little point avoiding the puddles at this stage. The new game was ‘running through puddles’!
We paused at Wolstonbury for the view before slip-sliding down the other side.
As we neared Clayton, we reached the path that is eternally muddy, even in the full scorch of summer. Today the mud was glutinous and wall to wall so his early assessment had been correct… the best way was through the middle!
This picture is a little shaky because I was laughing… Daren is up to his knees in a muddy puddle and that wasn’t the worst of the mud by any means!
We ran on through Clayton and reached the bottom of the tank tracks, aka Daren’s Nemesis. This path takes the direct route up the scarp slope of the Downs, but we kept pushing and managed to reach the top without stopping. The downside of reaching the top was that we came back into the wind, low laden with stinging rain!
The upside was that it was all downhill back to the cars, so we made light work of it. Strangely enough I got wetter in the few short minutes it took me to remove my muddy shoes and running longs than in the whole of the run… the wind was blowing the rain horizontally into the car, a little like sitting in the surf on the beach.
6.25 miles dispatched in a respectable 1.16 is a shade under 5 mph… not at all bad bearing in mind the conditions.
I enjoyed it so much that I’m inclined to run outside again.. well, maybe when someone turns the weather down a little!