On the 17th June Mr B ran our first race together. We've run the same races before but never planned to run together. For me, it was my longest run since Boston and a test to see how the #badass held up. For him, it was his first trail "race". For both of us it was a chance to spend a weekend in the gorgeous cotswold countryside.
It was H.O.T. Like roasting hot. Actually that was a good thing. Any competitive spirit was removed by the heat *and* Mr B bought a Ciele hat without any prompting. I'm hoping to steal it.
Perhaps the most enduring memory of the the Inov-8 Original Maverick Race Gloucestershire will be the flies. Across fields, up roads, through pastures they followed us. The hot sun keept our focus downwards away from the glare, reveaing the shadows of a fly-halo above the head of every runner. If you raced downhill and then slowed hard enough you could make them fly ahead. It seemed like they couldn't brake fast enough. But sure enough they'd come back again.
This race is one of the hillier Maverick races with 486m of elevation over 24k. That's if you do the proper route of course. Mr B and I didn't. Clearly we were having too much fun trying to outwit the flies and missed a turning, ending up about 1.5miles short of the full route. To be honest though, we were probably ready to be done by then. The route had fantastic views of the rolling countryside and great mix of grass fields, road and dusty tracks. Everything was packed hard so it was easy running (not the hills though) and the Inov-8 Trail Talons that I borrowed were great, though Mr B claims I was "stompy" on the downhills. Shock horror.
As always, the atmosphere was great. At the first hill we both ended up making new friends (first time Maverick-ers) and after the race the organiser Ben was his usually friendly self (being ridiculously apologetic about us going wrong - as if it was his fault!). It was ace to see The Bearded Runner , Trail Jedi Cajsa and another AR'er, Laura there too. In general Mr B powered the uphills a bit more than me, though we walked most of them. We ran together on the flats and then I'd fly a bit on the downhill and catch my breath at the bottom to make up for his lead on the uphills. That sounds like we didn't run together but we were barely a few meters apart at any time. We finished in about 1:53 (12.4 miles) having had great fun, miraculously not sunburnt and not wrecked ourselves at all. I can't wait to do another one together.
Afterwards we headed back to our Cotswold cottage Air BnB and spent the rest of the weekend pottering around gardens and having lazy pub dinners. I could get used to this and I'll be back next year.