Report by Cathie Walsh

An early, sunny, September evening saw nine Harriers (and some others in disguise, who won’t be named and shamed here but blue really doesn’t suit them!) assembled at Cribbs Sports & Social Club, Henbury in readiness for this annual charity fund raiser organised by Great Western Runners.  This would be their 39th road race  run over quiet roads under ARC rules.  Primarily designed as a team race we duly signed up (as instructed) as Team Bidwell.

The race started with a lap of the sports field, due to the nature of the field some of us were running along an incline which was how I imagine ‘drunk running’ would feel, carried along by the pace of the main group we were soon out onto Station Road running North towards Cribbs Causeway.  The view from the rear was that the bigger group of faster runners were beginning to spread out and a human trail of runners, in various colours, could be seen snaking up “the hill” (the one we had been told about).   Turning left into Hollywood Lane, the traffic hum (and supportive beeps) disappeared and the road turned into a quiet, leafy, fast, downhill section towards Berwick Lane.  Here the group of runners  became very sparse (or we were very slow) with no traffic and we settled into our pace enjoying the green scenery and beautiful farm houses.  As we approached Hallen Road we were reassured by a chap outside the pub that “No, we hadn’t got lost” and were still on the right route, we turned left and were met by the sight of a very long steady uphill (the one we weren’t told about) and a cheery marshall who advised us that “If you stopped, you may never get started again”. So with head up, stride shortened and with driving arms we tackled the hill, sadly this was the point that our lovely chat became a little unladylike, as we powered up what seemed to be a neverending hill.  We had now lost the calming greenery and were back in civilisation with the steady hum of traffic, passerbys (and their comments) as we began to overtake other runners at the rear of the group.  A final left  onto Station Road with a quick smile for the photographer and the cheers of the other finishers could be heard as you ran the final stretch to return you to the sports ground.  The other seven green Harriers had already finished and in the normal Harrier spirit cheered us on to sprint to the finish under a professional looking inflatable archway where a spot prize was awarded (mens running socks).  Following a quick FCH race debrief where there was talk of some unseemly behaviour at the finish line involving pushing, elbows and a “I’m coming through” (not a Harrier surely?!) we retired to the bar.   A very well organised, friendly yet tough road race in lovely company, suitable for most abilities of runners.  Would definitely recommend running this next year … I will definitely be back 🙂

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