Slaughterford 9 is a hard off-road race. I’ve run it twice, but as it’s organised by my running club in the last few years I’ve had to volunteer to marshal instead.
This year the race is part of the Wiltshire Off-Road League. The club runners who have run the previous four races in the league this year were allowed to run it, as a very special honour. And to gain points for the club in the Club championship, of course.
We still had to help out, so all of us Harriers racers were out bright and early on car park duty. The weather was cold, it was faintly drizzly, and it was very soggy underfoot. At about quarter past nine we escaped in order to strip our many layers off, collect our race number, assemble for the team photo and to try not to shiver too much.
The race has a mass jog down to the start line, because everyone has to cross the very busy A4 to get there. After shuffling myself towards the back, with very little ceremony we were off. The early part of the race is practically on home turf for me, so I knew exactly where to walk and where to push on. I looked longingly up the footpath which leads to home, and resolutely followed the racing line.
I don’t want to describe every muddy, sticky, squelchy step of this race, take it as read it was hard. Instead I’ll let the pictures speak a thousand words:-
I finished. I surprised myself, I had genuinely been dreading it. It was my slowest time, but in fairness it was the worst conditions I’ve seen on the course and I was in the worst condition to run it as well.
The best bit (slight exaggeration ) was getting ready for bed and realising I didn’t still have to perform a random exercise whilst cleaning my teeth for Janathon.