The G3 is a series of runs, one each in January, February & March. They are based in the same part of the Surrey Hills – Newlands Corner – just south of Guildford, but each run takes a slightly different route. The race is organised by all about triathlons, and sponsored (obviously) by runners need. The runs are advertised as 10km races, but sadly Eduardo tracked this (pretty accurately looking at the maps) as 6.9miles, which is a shame, because it would have been easily rectified by starting and finishing the race a couple of hundred yards down the track.
With outside temperatures hitting -5 degrees at home, it was with a little hesitation that I dragged myself out of bed earlier on a Saturday than I normally do on a weekday. But I set off into the cold February morning, the car laden with various shoe choices and plenty of layers of clothing to choose from, and I arrived at Newlands Corner to be greated by a phalanx of marshalls in high-vis directing cars around the limited car park. Registration is nice and easy at AAT events, and I quickly got my transponder and race number and retired back to the relative warmth of the car to finish getting sorted and pin #33 to my chest.
I saw a large majority of fellow runners in road type shoes, and despite having my trail runners with me I decided to follow suit and go with the road shoes, my decision based on the fact that there hasn’t been a great deal of rain recently, and the ground would probably be fairly solid in the icy conditions, and I wanted to follow the crowd like a sheep.
At the race briefing, director Toby announced that as many people have complained over the last few years about the mud, sand, and hills that he would actually be running the race this time round :-) 3…2…1…GO
And we’re off. I set off at a nice comfortable pace, feeling pretty good as Eduardo fed me information about my pace of about 8:00min/mile. The issue with a lot of the race, but also a nice part about it (I know, the duplicity of it all) is the single track that the route follows doesn’t make passing easy in a number of places if caught behind the crowd.
The first mile wound nicely downhill, and my shoe choice was validated as the ground was frozen solid – although this did make the ruts caused by walkers, cyclists, and horseys a little awkward on the ankles. In the second mile though, the tough stuff started with a short, sharp uphill to get the calves working. I decided about halfway up to walk, and on the whole I was keeping pace with those wasting energy trying to run up it.
The next couple of miles were um… undulating, single track. The crisp clear sky kept everyone cool on the run – I was in hat and gloves until about 5 miles, and the sweat even froze on my eyebrows, which was quite amusing.
However, the real sting in the legs of this “10km” race was the route to St. Martha’s church.
Not long before this I had thought to myself that it felt I had covered more downhill than up, and rounding the corner it became apparent why. Jogging to the bottom of the hill to St. Martha’s church, the runners bunched up as the track thinned, but I could see up the steep rise, and not one of maybe 50 runners infront of me were able to actually run any part of the hill. It was a struggle just to walk, and my calves were on fire. I think Kilian Jornet would have had to slow down up the hill, and that’s saying something.
You can see the hill to which I am refering just past the halfway mark on that route profile.
The sand trails from the church were a little softer than on the rest of the route, sapping the last remaining juice from quads and calves. The final mile of the run was generally all up hills of a variety of gradients, but eventually the big blue inflatable start/finish line loomed into view and I managed to put on a spurt of energy, overtake a couple of other competitors for those important few spaces.
At the end of the race, cakes, bananas, and water are on offer to all finishers, and even a free injury assessment tent on offer from local sports therapists. Sadly I decided to take them up on this offer in order to look at calf pain, and was diagnosed with shin splints :-( mega-boo!!!!!
As with the Loseley 10km race, I now get free race entry for life on All About Triathlon events having volunteered for them, but not wanting to take total advantage of that offer I have signed up to help out at the final G3 event in March – evidently I also get breakfast too!! If you are on the look out for a 10km(ish) run in the beautiful Surrey countryside, working lungs and legs equally then you can’t go far wrong with the G3 series. Results are issued pretty darn quick, and generally they offer free photo downloads too as an added bonus. I’ll add some of mine to this post once they are published online.