Thank you to Paul Bergin for the following write up of Coombe 8. Final results will be provided in the next post
As ever the race at Coombe Country Park starts with the course set-up on Saturday.
The volunteers are split into two teams to lay out the two main areas of the race – this year the team leaders where the ever-dependable Wayne Broadbent and Jackie Stuart. In addition we had another old faithful in the shape of Kev Naughton and two of our new members, Graham Mulvaney and Sam Ward and joined later by Sally-Ann and her daughter Phoebe.
Jackie and I worked on the area involving the woods and the large grassed area known as Wrautum’s Field. Although the day had started off with temperatures at freezing point the ground underfoot soon became extremely muddy and slippery with the conditions in the field with Carey’s Craters actually waterlogged and proving extremely difficult and one of the craters totally full of water which meant we couldn’t use it on the day. We also had the new GoApe installation to contend with but we managed to work our way around that – or so we thought!
Wayne and I got there on the Sunday at 7.00 am – mainly to check that none of the signs and tape had been changed/removed – which has has happened in the past! By 8.30 most things are in place until I’m told that the GoApe Manager has had to move some our directions and taped areas!!! Mitch and I sped over to the area and, to be fair to the Manager, the changes were not as bad as I feared but it’s now wonder the hair on my head is in retreat!
Before the start of the race we make a presentation to Stewart Harris who, at the age of 80 is stepping down. Stewart has been the referee at all of our Coombe 8 races and is a good friend of Sphinx AC. In fact, he ws able to extend the period of his licence so that his last race as referee would be the Coombe 8! Thank you Stewart – enjoy your retirement.
After all this, the actual race proceeded without incident. The weather conditions were perfect – bracing but sunny although the underfoot conditions, especially over the last 3 miles, were as challenging as we thought they would be with the winner’s time about 5 minutes down at 50 minutes against the last few year’s average of 45 minutes. Having said that there were no incidents, we understand that one lady did take a fall and two runners stopped and escorted back to the Visitor Centre although no-one reported to the Medical Team and we are in the process of trying to trace who the two heroes are so we can thank them for their actions.
From what I could judge everyone seemed to enjoy the challenge and the day – even the ones who EVERY year say “Never again” – EVERY year!
I do say this after all our races but Sphinx AC do put on good, well organised, well-supported events and that’s why people DO come back every year to take part.