So as some of you might know we decided to take part in this years Purbeck Beast…..and it did exactly what the name implies. We had heard lots of stories about the hills, steps and treacherous terrain, but we thought to ourselves “How bad can it be?”…………
So a couple of Sundays ago on the 1st of September we made our way to Corfe and parked up in a field. It was pretty nice weather for running, still cool and no sight of wind or rain, but the ominous feeling set it when we saw who we would be racing against. Everyone else was is team colours for their running clubs, and then there was us….stood in Barefoot shoes and old cotton t-shirts…..we definitely didn’t look the part. This was made even more obvious as runners studied the map intently, making comparisons from the year before and the slight changes to the course. We on the other hand looked at the map, looked at each other, looked back at the map, shrugged and headed to the start line……true professionals!
We took the 5 minute walk to the start line, and it was packed, 425 runners bouncing on the stop, talking strategy and comparing anti-chaffing creams. Quick briefing from the marshals then BANG, the race began, months of training now had to pay off! The first priority was to get away from the congested pack at the start, so we shot hell for leather down the outside avoiding the ditches. After a very short and quick section of downhill on road, we then turned off and began the first uphill. This helped spread the pack out, and took us back around to the first bunch of spectators……this would be that last time they saw us looking fresh and happy.
The course then undulated for the next few miles, then we hit the first long uphill. A rocky broken path that continued up for about 15 minutes, it then flatten off and on to grass, then back to another 10 minutes of climbing……Brilliant! We then had a pretty technical and very rocky long section of downhill, this was the one downside of the barefoot shoes. Our feet took a battering for the next couple of miles until it leveled. The general pattern of climbing followed by descent continued until we hit the coast. There were some short steep climbs on the coast followed by some long windy flats, this was a relief on the legs, and the views were incredible. After hammering along the coastal paths for a few miles we reached Chapman’s Pool, a few hundred steps down, followed by a few hundred steps up…..This was brutal! Negotiating the steps down was treacherous enough and pretty draining, the way up was hideous. All ready very tired legs walking up a few hundred very steep steps, and to make life worse, at the top of the steps there was still a couple of steep climbs…..We will never moan about a flight of stairs ever again!
We then started heading away from the coast, the paths seemed to flatten out a bit more and the climbs became less sharp. We began a gentle climb into Kingston, sadly this gentle climb seemed to last for about 30 minutes, and really finished off the legs. We then made it into Kingston, and awaiting us with some encouragement was Bex, Michelle and Charlie. We pulled our shorts up to look like “proper runners” and shot past until we were out of sight…then we got back to breathing out of our arses again! We then had our last drinks station, necked a gel and saw Corfe Castle on the horizon, a huge relief! The last couple of miles stayed fairly flat, couple of steepish climbs and loads of stiles to climb over. We started recognizing things from the start of the race so knew it wasn’t too far. We turned a blind corner, around an old wall and there it was…the finish line!
We crossed the finish line in an official time 1:50:41, putting us 108th out of 425 runners. We had beaten our target of going in under 2 hours and surviving! The Garmin at the end read 12.47 miles with 2017 feet of climbing in total. We then made out way to the nearest pub for some well deserved lunch…..the journey was slightly interrupted by a spot of cramp in the car which required some road side massage, but we don’t really wanna talk about that! The rest of the day was a blur, and naps were both had on the sofa in front of the tele. The legs remained trashed for the next couple of days, but as they recovered we slowly began to forget about the pain of all those hills and started talking about what we would do differently next year…………………….
So that’s next year sorted then!
Luke and Si