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Kymin Dash - 28 April 2014

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The race was described as “a challenging and very scenic 7.1 mile race, straight up to the top of the Kymin above Monmouth, and back down on a long scenic loop of the Wye Valley”. So what could be better than setting out early from CLC early on a Sunday morning to enjoy a picturesque run through the Western edges of the Forest of Dean across the border in Wales? After all we had taken part in almost all of the cross country races and Forest of Dean Night Race series so this should been fine and we were looking forward to a fun morning’s run. When we arrived at the start we knew the race ahead was going to be challenging as the hill rose up in front, and clouds were starting to shroud the highest point, which was a continuous climb of 200m over about 2km to Kymin Roundhouse. Regular signs along this climb had inspirational messages like “No-one drowned from sweating too much”. On reaching the top, the race then got hard, and the sign saying “What goes up must come down.”, seemed to spur all of the runners into pushing as hard as they could even though legs and lungs were burning after the climb. Over the next 5.5km we traded places, over a section signposted “Enjoy the roller coaster!”, I am sure at this point I could hear the sign writer laughing, and km splits close to our regular 10k PB times, our normal race banter was absent, as we were using every precious breath to get as much oxygen into our muscles, but as we gradually moved past other runners we knew the effort was worth it. We didn’t have much time to enjoy the sights like the Suck Stone, the largest free-standing boulder in the UK. Although the bluebell woods were very tranquil before we came out on the Peregrin Path along the River Wye, and the course finally levelled off. By this point we were again together on the course, so decided to run in together, kicked on, and the pace then really picked up, and we finished in sub 7min mile pace over this last leg of the race. Finishing in a time of 54:36, and 66 and 67 out of 218, we just felt glad that the race was over and even needed to do some stretching to appease our legs from going on strike. On the drive back we agreed that the route would be great to take your dog for a walk. Would we race it again? It’s just too soon to answer that one!