So with the cancellation of the Winter Tanners I was desperate to get a run in so the Not The Winter Tanners was born with my new found trail running friends Allan and David, the plan was to start at 8.00am from the Shed at the Leatherhead Football Club in Leatherhead, Surrey. Arriving at about 7.55am bedecked in thermal under layer, two tops, a windproof top and my new running jacket... I was not planning to get cold today as we would be on the trail for about 7 hours and there was promise of more snow on top of the thick layer on the ground and -2 C temperatures. Within minutes I had spotted David and Allan in the car park so after final kit checks, instructions in hand we were off.
|Up or down?|
As most of my regular Dear Readers will know or will have heard from my blog that Long Distance Walker Association (LDWA) instructions are all in code L (Left) or BW (Bridle Way) etc. but after a while you get your eye in and it becomes easy.......but not the course! The Winter Tanners is always known to be a tough one as it will take you up and over Box Hill and the surrounds on various routes which change on an annual basis.
I have not run with David and Allan before although I have met Allan as we passed in the Winter 100 last year but after a few miles we were laughing and telling stories about our various adventures on the trail. I was a little perturbed at first when I found out the number of miles Allan runs on a weekly basis but I was like a sponge taking in all his tips and experiences.
The miles flew by and I was amazed how well we worked as a team, no egos, David was really good on the details, Allan quietly checking, me getting confused (as usual) but I am pleased to report that we never went wrong as we used the "Measure Twice, Cut Once" approach that always saves time and unnecessary miles.
The snow was about 4-5 inches (20 cm) and lay untouched by human feet as we trudged through it, hopped slushy puddles, stomped over hardened mud paths and leaped over stiles.The uphills punishing and the down hills enjoyable as moved through the instructions. Later, the snow started to fall again and visibility began to fall in but the good humour was still obvious with Allan telling some ridiculous shaggy dog stories that kept us going for a few miles .
|Looking good after 30 miles|
Instructions were stating "join gravel path" or "at the end of the concreted road turn left" but we couldn't see this so had to rely on experience and good judgement.
As we ran along we passed and met other runners and walkers who were doing the same as us and doing "Not the Winter Tanners" but we were the only 30 milers. I laughed out loud when these two guys ran past dressed in a long top and leggings doing the 20 miler then called us nutters.
So many hills, paths and stiles but in all a brilliant run out seeing us run to the finish in a line passing it as equal winners to Not The Winter Tanners