A car full of excited men travelled to the outskirts of Ludlow to take part in the Mortimer Forest Trail race. After a day of relentless rain, the sky cleared and set-up fine running conditions. Ludlow Running club organize the established event and the Moor Park boarding school is where the record field of 405 runners started.
The course is difficult to describe without screaming – none of the Tewkesbury runners knew what was ahead – Jon Mansfield mentioned it was mainly flat, over leafy trails with one infamous climb. This was, of course, dud information. Shortly before the second mile, there was a 200 meter bank to climb, it was the level of ascent where you would expect a Double Gloucester cheese to come rolling down, it was a real hands & knees challenge. Once at the top, the runners were sent along some winding trails through Mortimer Forest. Ed Hardy was the first TRC runner to reach the first summit, Jon Mansfield followed a dozen places further back before in-form Vlad Venglar. Michael Jackson and Kevin Emmerson were deep in the masses as the long chain of runners snaked through the perilous course.
The highlight of the race was a series of 100 feet valleys; possibly man-made many years ago and put to good use as part of the course. These, we understand, are the reason the race was held under the Welsh Fell running rules! There’s sure to be tougher fell racing in Wales but for the five from Tewkesbury they hadn’t experience anything like it before. The final mile was mainly descending the forest trail with a few twists and streams. Tewkesbury did have hopes of a team prize before the start but the caliber of competition dashed any hopes of anything other than a complimentary bottle of water at the finish line. Jon worked hard over the last mile to catch and over-take, what he thought was the leading woman only to find two others waiting at the finish line (it later transpired, they were both British Fell Running champions). Ed came in after Jon. Vlad continued his fine form with his best performance to date. Michael Jackson finished strongly shortly after Vlad.
There was concern that Kevin had unknowingly taken on too much however, despite centering his training on easy 10km runs, Kev came bouncing into the finish shoot in great shape. All five have promised to return in 2017.
Jon Mansfield 1:12 hr
Ed Hardy 1:14
Vlad Venglar 1:19
Michael Jackson 1:26
Kevin Emmerson 1:52