I was first attracted to the Titsey Trail Race by it’s name! The course is run over Limpsfield Common, near Oxted, and the High Chart of Surrey and Kent, on land mostly owned by the National Trust and the Titsey Estate, hence it’s name. This all off road race is challenging. I helped Binkie with the clock and gantry erection for which I earnt a complimentary entry. All that I saved was spent on coffee and home made cakes, before and after the race, but I figured the pre and after run sugar would assist my recovery . The sold out entry of 350 looked to consist of a number of elite club runners and plenty of mums, many in brand new trainers and Ipods. Oxted is full of terribly nice and posh people. Putting up the clock, I felt like a servant at Downton abbey . We were told that the course would be muddy and they were right!
The start and first 1.5K was a wide reasonably dry track and a path next to one hole of the golf course . Then it changed, becoming single file, with pace determined by those in front and the depth of the mud and puddles, all impossible to avoid as they spread across the course with brambles or a fence on either side. Further on, the course widened providing opportunitys to overtake, that’s if you like maintaing pace up quite steep hills, of which there were at least 4. I went through the well marked half way point in about 25mins. and with the last 4k either flat or downhill, a slim chance of breaking 50. But it wasn’t to be. Another deep mud obstacle sucked my trainer off, so I lost a couple of minutes re- tying my laces . The weather during the race was quite warm and sunny . The previous weeks rain and the week before that, and the week before that one, had ensured the course would resemble an army exercise route . The only thing missing was camouflage kit and a full back pack. It was nice to finish and start to get cleaned up before some more chocolate cake and having to stay at the finish for the last few runners, before taking down the clock and gantry, One of the ladies running in, what were, new trainers, just managed to break 75 minutes. Hot and sweaty, and covered in mud, she told one of the organisers how much fun she had had. That’s good, the true spirit of running It’s just you and the challenge of the course, never quit, just finish later than you expected!
In 9th place was Declan Flynn, 3rd last year. Phylis Flynn was first lady in a new record W45 time of 43:36. Our Banstead Wood parkrun friends Mel and Ria Trundley, finished in 62:09 and 79:09 which are good times for age and the conditions. In the absence of any other Club takers, son Tony took the second complimentary entry and finished in 44:06. Binkie just stood and watched (cheeky bugger, I did 2.5K out and back, and got muddy! Binks) but I think he still managed to get a goody bag which included a bottle of locally brewed beer, Westerham, I believe. I’m sure that was drunk in the evening , perhaps even earnt?. Putting up, then taking down again, the gantry for the clock, is quite a task, more difficult for me as I was never that keen on meccano as a child, always preferred Lego.
All in all, a thoroughly enjoyable event. If you enjoy the Claygate Country 5, you’ll enjoy this one.