Better late than never. Last Wednesday saw me take on my first imperial distance race (we only do metric distances in South Africa): The Forest Five (mile) at The Look Out in Bracknell and what a fantastic evening and offroad race it was.
Following the test run I did on the Monday, I had intended on running in my huaraches, but then common sense prevailed and I opted to run in my Vibrams instead. I decided not to run in the huaraches as I've not done much running in them yet and the last thing I wanted were blisters from the different style of footwear, especially likely as I'm not too sure I've got them properly adjusted yet.
My wife very generously offered to drive me to the race and we arrived with about half an hour to spare. As I pre-registered online I already had my number so had plenty time to locate the race start - it's a little walk into the forest - and warm up. It was a very pleasant evening, so getting warm wasn't a problem.
At just after 19:30 we were sent on our way by the most feeble sounding airhorn I've ever heard, or didn't. The air part was there, just the horn part made no sound at all: should have used a vuvuzela 🙂 . As usual, I set off a little quick, but I managed to ensure it wasn't too quick and soon settled into a pace of about 4:20/km. The route was slightly different from the one I found online and ran on the Monday, but only in the last half of the race in which they brought us back in a large arc which included a lot more little ups and downs than the original route. This added a nice challenge and I suspect caught a few of those who've run the old route a little by surprise. They did however warn us at the beginning that it was a slightly different route, though I couldn't hear why. My watch also reported the route to be slightly shorter than 5 miles, but I think we can attribute this to the tree coverage over large parts of the route - the race organisers assured us the route is accurately measured.
As can be expected, my Vibrams lived up to expectations and protected my feet enough for me to maintain a nice fast pace without blocking too much feedback. They also draw a lot of funny looks and even a couple of comments with one chap commenting on having read Born to Run, but not being brave enough to try barefoot or Vibrams. I encouraged him to give barefoot a go and he then bid farewell and left me in hist dust 🙂 .
All in all, this was a very pleasant race. It was a relatively small field, on a fabulous evening in a beautiful settings. This is definitely a race I'll be doing again. This part of Bracknell forest will also be getting a lot more visits from me too: it's a fantastic area to run.
Oh yes, and my official results:
Overall Position: 56 / 327
Age Category Position: 28