Running the Cheddar Gorge 10k

This week I ran the 2016 inaugural Cheddar Gorge Challenge event, the 10k race. Billed as a ‘lumpy course’ these series of runs offer “more climbing just getting to the start than you will in most other events”. With the affectionately named Hell Steps towards the end this is a tough run but more importantly, it is a fun event. Cheddar is beautiful, steeped in history and picturesque from the bottom of the gorge let alone from running up and down it so the prospect of completing 3 races (10k, half marathon, and marathon) in and around the area was too enticing to pass up.

The terrain, according to the website is “steep in places and very steep everywhere else” which sets the scene but to be honest I arrived at the event fully trained but expecting the worse. In reality there were hard sections, easy sections, a little doubt that I could actually complete the event around the 5k mark, and a ‘this is great’ moment around 7k. The distance is tiny compared to the training I have done but it was a combination of the race-day ‘too fast start pace’ and the lumpiness that hit my tired legs hard. There was never a time that I truly wanted to give up but there were times when I thought about a brisk walk rather than running. Overall I am happy to say that even up the Hell Steps I broke into a run and completed the course in a not impressive, but rewarding 58:28. I quietly wanted a sub-1hr finish but given the course I was a little sceptical about that but even though the wind was against us most of the race (how does it constantly blow directly at you regardless of your orientation?) I hit my goal.

So why would I put my body through this I hear you ask. Well, this year I am doing something out of my comfort zone, something a little crazy (for me), and something that I hope will make a difference to others. This year I am running, a lot, and for a good reason. This year I am running to raise money for MacMillan Cancer Support. To read about my story please click the link which is also where you can donate to this very worthy cause. I am putting myself through several challenges, including a marathon in the Himalayas of Nepal and a 45 mile Ultra Marathon because there are people out there who just can’t, so lets together make their lives a little easier during a really hard time.

So if you can, please donate.