Whatever do I get myself into …
Last week I was talking to Lucy at Severn Hospice (@Severnhospice) who was keen to have me run the London Marathon next year. As tempting as it was to say yes I thought might be pushing things a little bit too much. She mentioned about their “Rock to Rock” Duathlon that they’re organising in September to raise funds. They’re a great bunch of people at the Hospice, who do a very hard job so it’s a cause that i’m very keen to support in whatever way I can and next year plan to run their Lake Vyrnwy Half Marathon and then hopefully the London Marathon in 2012.
The Rock to Rock Duathlon takes place on Sunday 26 September. The event starts from the top of Rodney’s Pillar, Criggion, Powys. Participants run for four miles down Rodney’s Pillar and across the plain before cycling for 12 miles to finish at Llanymynech Golf Course, Pant, near Oswestry.
Sounds great doesn’t it ?? I think by September I’ll be ready to run 4 miles but have the slight disadvantage that I don’t have a bike anymore as it was pinched from outside my old flat a few years ago. Luckily Lucy mentioned that her husband Ben (- the fantastic @likeaword) worked at the Bicycle Hub (@thebicyclehub) in Jackfield where they have a Recycling scheme called Re-bike where it’s possible to get an affordable 2nd hand bike in “as new” condition with no profit being made by the scheme.
Its an admirable scheme and aims to get more people cycling and excercising and sounded just like the kind of thing I was after. Naturally I had to pop down as soon as I could and figured I’d kill two birds with one stone by going down to see what bikes they had and to go for a run around the gorge which is a naturally stunning location …. but more of that in a bit 😉
Upon arrival, the bicycle hub is quite a sight and is stocked to the rafters with some rather impressive looking bikes. I explained to Ben that although this would be a road event, that I’d probably be looking to ride offroad more after the event so would make sense in getting a Mountain Bike rather than a racing bike. To his credit he came up with a cracking bike which will be just the job. Thanks Ben !!
I used to go mountain biking fairly regularly and used to have no fear when it came to clinging on for dear life as I rocketed down the side of the hill trying to get to the bottom as I quick as I could without falling off.
I took the bike for a test drive around the carpark and was shocked how odd it felt. I thought it would simply be a case of getting back on after about 9 years when you consider how often I used to go. This felt very alien to me both trying to steer the bike and trying to stay on it … maybe I was a little naive with that but this was flat terrain and far cry from what I used to do. There’s a lot of work to go in training for the event it would seem but it will do me good to do something other than running.
And with some careful rearranging of my car I was on my way down further into Jackfield. The run was to see me cross the river Severn twice on my journey. It’s very beautiful part of the county with lots to take in …. almost too much infact, it’s easy to get distracted and found myself stopping to take photos which is something I really need to be careful of in future. The run was a little under what i’d estimated at just over 2 miles but when the sun was out it certainly made it feel much more than the short 20 minute journey that it was.
I’d planned to start at a rather charming little pub called the Boat Inn which we’ve had the odd pint in from time to time crossing over a footbridge towards coalport and following the roads towards a rather funky looking suspension bridge. Then I would run back along the opposite side of the river back to where I’d parked my car at the pub, my reward would be a nice pint in the beer garden whilst I typed up my blog post.
In parts theres little or no footpath and often found it was necessary to run in the road which is a little unnerving giving the amount of traffic that the road sees – this was the first time I’d ever been on this section of the road but will forgive the lack of footpath for such a stunning location. In the background the vast chimneys at Buildwas tower above the Gorge. Further round you run along the covered up railway tracks showing signs of Ironbridges Indusrtrial age. These days the Gorge is much more relaxed with little industrial activity based there. This stunning location is visited by millions of people each year taking in the beautiful sights and tourist attractions .
Eventually I made it back to the Boat Inn and was more than happy to sit down with a cold pint and let time pass by for a bit. It’s such an inspiring location and it’s easy to lose track of time.
Unfortunately I was unable to get started on this blog as quickly as I had originally planned. As soon as I had finished my pint and the heavens opened and it poured down. I really enjoyed today’s run despite finding it hard going. It was nice to go somewhere different and I’m keen to try and find somewhere new to explore each week. Next week I’ll be visiting a friend’s photography exhibition in Ellesmere which gives me even more new terrain to cover and should hopefully give you guys some interesting pictures to take a look at.