Report from Richard Smith:
What could make more sense than a 350 mile round trip to take part in an off-road race in South Worcestershire? Primarily it was the infamous prospect of pie & mash at my former watering hole and local cider come evening time with old friends. Saturday afternoon races have their perks!
The Beacon Race is organised by my former running club, Worcester AC and takes place on the picturesque Malvern Hills which overlook the
counties of Worcestershire, Herefordshire and a small area of Gloucestershire. It’s a race I’d not gotten around to running before, and, with my focus turning off-road with a view to run the Three Peaks next year, it seemed to fit the bill. Conditions were mild, but very windy. Alas, at the start line we were warned of ‘gale force winds’ at the summit and at 3pm, we were off. I started off at a steady pace which was an immediate error as the course followed a narrow, congested path before turning up into the woods to St. Ann’s Well. More climbing, before a bit of a loop, back down again past St. Ann’s Well followed by a long, relentless climb. Some of this was on woodland covered with leaves and also on track. Bar a slight walk, I made it to the top and climbed up to the ridge. Eventually I made it over the tops before plummeting down a steep grassy downhill decline like an ungraceful deer with only an unwelcome stitch for company, thus losing me ground. As we circled round onto the north face of the hill we were hit by a relentless, battering headwind before a lovely, downhill, rocky, zig zag descent onto a bridle-path and mini cameo to the finish line. I clocked 6.6 miles
with 1 445ft elevation gain finishing in 11th place with a time of 50.34.