Monday, July 28, 2008


Sunday 27th July – the hottest day of the year and the Westgates were on the Exmoor coastal path. One running and one supporting/heckling. I was the one running and Richard was there with his boys. But first I had to get there. This was a bit daunting having never driven myself to a race before, but arrived, parked, met Lin and Martin and various other runners, got the coach and set of for Countisbury with no problems. It was already hot before we set off, and the shade in the woods was very welcome. However all sorts of nasty things lurk in the woods, and before I’d done 5 miles I’d been attacked by the wasp. Unfortunately it was a narrow bit of the path with a precipice to the left and cliff face to the right, so had to struggle on to a wider bit before I could stop and dispose of it (humanely of course!!!). The next water station had nothing to offer except water and sympathy, but for some strange reason it didn’t get any worse, and took my mind off various other pains in my legs, stomach etc. Reached Porlock Weir but didn’t stop, across the pebbles and marshes to the next water station, and on to the infamous hill. Had some company on the way up and while we stopped “to admire the view”!!! a voice came booming down from the top of the hill. Richard was there taking photos and offering encouragement. (Some will appear on the gallery soon I hope). The next bit along the top of the cliff was even hotter, no sea breezes and no shade. Was really glad to reach the sign to start the descent towards Minehead, and followed the correct route this year thanks to the excellent signposting. Richard appeared again shortly before the finish, but with his expertise with the camera he only got some footage of his leg and the sky – but it’s the thought that counts. Did an excellent sprint finish (OK a fast hobble) due to a hallucination of a runner in a green T shirt behind me. Really enjoyed the free food and drinks afterwards, and had a surprise invitation to a barbecue in the evening.

Update on the wasp sting – it’s now large, red, painful and has melted the first ice-pack.

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

Quantock Beast

Lesley running her way to the top of the Club Championship table!

Last Sunday the Westgates were at Fyne Court for the Quantock Beast, but only one of them was running! Richard had pulled out with a hamstring injury sustained at Forde Abbey, which proved to be a race too far after the Discovery and the Welsh Castles weekend. The previous day’s weather had been torrential rain all day so I was expecting a plentiful supply of mud. However it wasn’t too bad, as the excess water had made it sloppy rather than sticky. Set off at the usual conversation pace until I realised that several people who are usually slower than me were actually up ahead, so had to leg it across the fields. The hills were as steep as I remembered them, but I managed to run the long uphill section in the middle where there is usually some tree clearing going on (info for those who know the course). There was a brief shower, but not enough to make me put my coat on, and before too long I reached the road and the 5-mile marker, which meant the finish wasn’t far away. An enjoyable gallop down the hill, overtaking a few more runners including a lady in a grey T shirt (behind me in the photo). She did her best to get past me again on the final sprint, but I really hate that happening and threw myself at the finish line and held her off. Lucky I was familiar with the course. In case all this sounds like I am a real runner, my tortoise like plod got me around in about 55 minutes. Forgot to stop the watch so can’t give a more accurate time, but possibly a minute quicker than last year, so a PB for the course.