Raby Castle 10 Miler, 18th April 2021

Richard and Marie Slack have been out racing again around Raby Castle in County Durham. It is a beautiful venue and sounds like a really nice course, where I am sure the local deer population will have added to the splendour of the views.

“Another Sunday in freer times, and the first of many held-over races! This run was organised by Wild Deer Events, and really well thought out organisation, marshalling on the route and a return of the post run T shirt. Never before have I welcomed the sight so much of runners from other clubs and their associated colours to make it fell like racing again! Saltwell (red and white), Wallsend (Green and Yellow), NS Poly (Red with a blue and white hoop)  to name a few. Joyous!

The run, commencing in front of the Castle, was two 5 mile loops of the beautifully scenic Raby Castle grounds starting in groups of six (still Covid times after all) every two minutes. Although billed as a trail race, given the dry conditions of the last few weeks, the ground underfoot was firm so normal road runner shoes were the order of the day. Gently undulating – a phrase that sometimes means climbing mountains – was today accurate. After a small amount of tarmac, the route mainly followed the tracks around the grounds passing through mature woodland, meadows and farmed land, and over a little Billy Goat Gruff bridge (sort of thing that amuses me on longer runs). Although starting in small groups, you were aware of plenty of runners on the course, passing some and being overtaken by a few as well.

After around 4 miles through the grounds, the route emerged with a spectacular sight of Raby Castle, Sadly a mile away and across a grassy track. I’d forgotten the horrors of cross country running on rutted grass, with some uphills (however small), the legs were struggling! Brain trick – just enjoy it man, it’s better than being in the house or endless runs on your own, so soon the mile passed and back to the start. Guess what – all to do again for the second loop, and the final mile across the grass was just as hard.

Overall a lovely run at a fantastic venue. Delighted with respective times of 1 hour 20 for Richard and 1 hour 38 for Marie. Then tea and sandwiches in the outdoor café – all provided by Wild Deer Events. And to celebrate, this afternoon off for a couple of outdoor beers (hopefully in the sun, but Nina, with suncream on – I remember well, Allendale Fair race!).”

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