Sunday, 1 January 2017

The first Hampshire Hoppit

19 June 2016

I am gradually getting caught up with some blog posts that have been outstanding while I finished my thesis, and one of the more enjoyable events I attended this year was the Hampshire Hoppit!
This was a new trail marathon and half at Kingsclere with the route on the north Hampshire Downs. I caught wind of the race on social media and it sounded just like my cup of tea. It was a month after NDW50 and would be good test of my recovery.
There were a few friends from my ex-running club (I recently decided to leave Didcot Runners as I have no time to go any more) and I met up with them at the start. There was a rather imposing hill directly opposite the start, and it indeed turned out that we would be running up this first.
I had decided to run the marathon and started at my usual mid to back of the pack. Both distances started together though, and this caused a fair bit of slow down as everyone walked up the steep hill. Things were further hampered by a couple of stiles. I would go right to the front next time if you are at all worried about pace. My first two miles were near to 13 min pace!
The views though were absolutely gorgeous and well worth the climb. Southern England at its finest.

There were a lot of downhills after the up, and I made some time with a few near 8 min miles. The course is in fact very runnable. Aid stations were frequent and seemed to cater to the ultra mindset. There was water, squash, jelly babies, flapjacks and bananas at all checkpoints! There was even coke at several of the later checkpoints. It felt like home.

There were a quite a few ultra crowd and 100 marathon club runners so I think the race organisers might be that way inclined. It was a most enjoyable outing. Near the end the hills and fast pace possibly told a little and I got some cramp and had to walk, but not for very long.

For the last couple of miles the course climbed back up the hill we had started on and then had an amazing, fast descent to the start finish. I finished in 4:16:12, a massive marathon PB. I highly recommend this race and plan to be back myself in 2017.

Icing on the cake was an engraved beer glass and free pint at the finish, though there was also an array of hot food and snacks to peruse.

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