Almost as nightmarish as the Michael Jackson music video, writes Scott Watson.
On Sunday 19th March, 2 hardy Harriers headed for Thrunton woods in Northumberland for the 2nd annual Thrunton Thriller Trail races, organised by highfelllevents.com, which consisted of a 10k (ish) and a half marathon (ish). Leaving at 6.30am, Derek Scott and Scott Watson made the 90 minute trip to make sure of a space in limited parking.
After getting signed in, it was time to get suited and booted for the 9.30am start. After a wee warm up, a 15 minute delay and a pre race briefing it was time to hit the muddy, slippy, rocky and generally gnarly trails.
The 345 runners headed off up the trail, the field split early on, those doing the 10k up a hill and those doing the half marathon taking a right fork down another trail. Both Scott and Derek got into their running pretty quickly and were both in a small leading group over the 1st mile or so, a few tough hills split this group quite quickly. Scott was in 2nd place at checkpoint 1 just before the bottom of the ‘Hill of Doom’, Derek also moving along nicely in the top 10. The Hill of Doom was just like it said! Steep, muddy and rocky, almost as tough as the eildons! After reaching the top, still in 2nd place, Scott made a great descent, turning a 200m deficit into a 200m lead in less than a mile, Derek was also popping along nicely. Then came the last 3 or so miles which consisted of a long uphill drag through almost knee high heather and almost half a mile of knee deep bog.
Scott was still leading at checkpoint 2 just after the bog section with only about a mile and a half to go. Getting a 2nd wind he pushed on to the short steep downhill followed by a more gradual downhill, managing to increase the lead. With 100 to go there was still another climb up into the woods for a short sharp loop before eventually being able to take the tape and a well earned rest. Scott was 1st in a time of 1.22:20 but the 10k ish measured in at 8.65 miles, almost 14k!
Derek, among others, had a slight issue with a wrong turn due to a missing sign and no marshall at a critical turn, just 800m from the finish. Derek ran 9.5 miles in 1.48:22 but before the mishap was looking good for a top 10 finish.
Scott was delighted with his race but Derek was left a bit miffed with the marshalling issue. Overall it was an enjoyable day, well organised (mostly!!). I would highly recommend it to those who like the trails and a tough challenge. I’ll hopefully be back next year to have a got at defending my title. Derek wasn’t so keen!