Burnham Beeches is one of my favourite areas – but it was a shame the weather wasn’t great, a gloomy overcast day, with rain for the second half. The map had a new section at the top, which most courses started in – I didn’t think too much of it, as it wasn’t technical. The real “meat” of the course was later on, down in Burnham Beeches itself.
Leg 12 to 13 must be the longest leg I’ve ever done – almost 2km, I think. I managed to accidently visit Control 23 on the way to 13… But I had a clean run up until No. 16, at which I misread the map rather badly. 17 was also bad, as it was very technical, and I just ran in to the area, hoping to hit it – never a good idea in retrospect. About 6 or 7 other people were milling around trying to find it too, so once one person did, there was a pack punching and moving off. I wasted time at 18 trying to lose the pack, and then 18-19 was another super-long leg – again well over 1km.
Another silly mistake near 21, a parallel error – but at least the 3 people following me therefore made the same mistake. From there on it was pretty straightforward, although there were still a few long legs left.
The course overall certainly felt like 12+km! Despite my good time (<8mins/km) I still finished well down the pack. That’s the annoying thing with M21L – being the hardest course, all the really good people run on it. If I had done M21S at the same speed I would have been well up the leaderboard. Still, as the phrase goes, better to be near the bottom of the top class, than near the top of the bottom class!
Oxford were out in force, including Kat and distracted, the latter who (again) beat me by about 5-10%. One day I’ll beat him, one day…!